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Book Review: How to be People Smart – Les Giblin (People Smart 1)

Book Review: How to be People Smart – Les Giblin (People Smart 1)

This book, How to be People Smart by Les Giblin was recommended by the Eagle Team as part of our personal development as NeoLife International Independent Distributors. The following are my most important take-aways and reflection from each chapter. “People Smart 1” includes reading pages 15 to 20, and then completing “Ready, Set, Action!” on page 21. This is My book review on People Smart – Les Giblin. I take it chapter by chapter, and give commentry on each stage of my experience, looking at what I learned, and how I applied it.

Chapter 1:

The crux of this chapter is this: Knowledge isn’t power, applied knowledge is power.

When I reflected on this chapter, I came up with the following thought process:

Knowledge is Power

Other words for knowledge: information and wisdom. Information because knowledge is basically the collection of information and being able to understand that information. That is where wisdom comes in I guess. In this context I also feel that knowledge must be usable, valuable and useful. If the knowledge you acquire isn’t usable, it isn’t valuable or useful.

Other words for power: I felt that energy and currency came to mind. Energy because the power you acquire with knowledge is a sort of potential energy, until you actually apply it. Currency because you can trade knowledge with other people, and you can trade knowledge for results if you apply it and put it into action.

In the end, I think the main thing we want to achieve with knowledge is to be able to get results.


Chapter 2: Introduction; What, Why, How

My recent studies and reading focused on consistency, and basics, but now it really hit home that I need to start focusing on doing the basics well. I recently also read in another source that the approach during the follow-up in the closing of a sale is the most important, and I knew that my process is very lazy and uninterested. Now, it is like plugging a small hole in a bicycle tyre tube that was letting air out slowly and causing me to have to stop and pump the tyre up every now and again.

When working on your weaknesses:

  1. – Pick one and work on eliminating that one bad habit
  2. – Then get to the next one.


Page 14: The Ladder of self-improvement

                    100% - I did it!
                  90% - I will -----
                80% - I can --------
              70% - I think I can --
            60% - I might ----------
          50% - I think I might ----
        40% - What is it? ----------
      30% - I wish I could ---------
    20% - I don't know how? --------
  10% - I can't --------------------
0% - I won't -----------------------       

This ladder is such a powerful tool. If I think back to any time I wanted a specific result, but didn’t feel like doing the work, I can basically put myself on the 50% step, and that is generally equal to the chance that I think I might actually do it.


The thing I find most interesting about this ladder, is that the space where something actually gets done is between the 90% and 100% mark. Between the point where you decide to do it, and the point where it gets done.

Another interesting thing is the Pareto principle (AKA the 80/20 Rule). So if whether you think you can or not, you are usually right, in order to be part of the 20% who achieves the 80%, you really do have to start working on your belief that you can.


People Smart #1

Love, Food, Status, Travel, Family, Themselves, Religion, Pleasure, Comfort, Security, Leisure, Relatives, Peace, Business, Sports, Money, Clothes, Education, Home, Friends, Freedom, Politics. 

Out of all of these, the thing that people are primarily interested in is: Themselves.

One of the ways it is now suggested to take advantage of this in conversation and interaction with people, is to use the words referring to yourself (I, me, my, mine) less, and to use the words referring to the other (You, Your) more.


"This is for you."..."You will benefit."..."Your family will, too."..."Doing this will help you."


Idea: I’ll now make it a part of my proofreading process to go over my articles and change the “I-focused” wording to “You-focused” wording.


"Just as important as using language centered around the other person, it's also important to talk to people about themselves."

We get people talking about themselves by either:

  1. Asking their opinions
  2. Asking them questions about them


Page 21:

Attaining Excellence:

  1. Analyze yourself on the techniques listed below
  2. Check all the techniques you need to improve
  3. Then for one week, or longer, practice these winning techniques until they are habits



  • I will remind myself daily that people are primarily interested in themselves.
  • I will decrease using I, me, my and mine, and increase my use of you and your.
  • I will talk to people about themselves.
  • I will ask questions about people and ask for their opinions.
  • I will get people talking about themselves.

My thoughts on these points:


If people are primarily interested in themselves, then selfishness really such a bad thing? Selfishness on its own is basically normal. Everyone looks after their own interest, yet some people would tell you that you are selfish in certain situations for looking out for yourself. It is sort of like a clichè where people use the word selfish to make you feel bad, or they may even just imply selfishness. I think the point here is trying to understand what it is the other person wants, and then try to find a way to give that to them in a way that benefits you as well


Using the words “You”, and “Your” more often needs to be put into the right context. For example, if you find yourself deep inside a heated argument, try to avoid those words. This is more for general conversation, and conversation where you are trying to build rapport with someone.


It is really hard sometimes when talking to people about their children, to not stand there anxiously awaiting my turn to reply about my daughter. She is super-cute after all. This is probably the part of People Smart 1 that I am really going to have to focus on in order to get it right. I should probably start off practicing with people who structure their thoughts and what they are going to say very well. Then move on to people who kind of jump from topic to topic. Now that I think about it, it becomes very much about control. Trying to control the conversation by focusing on whose story is being used, rather than trying to be a part of a conversation by focusing on understanding the other persons emotion behind what they are saying.


Asking questions about people and getting their opinions is an easy one. But I think I do need to come up with a few pre-planned questions to make it easier to focus on what they are saying, instead of just standing there with a smile saying something like: “nice…” and letting the conversation fizzle out. Using the FORM acronym was a skill that was focused on in 2018, but to actually work on building rapport by asking the right questions while on one topic is the next step I guess. At the end of the day, the main thing to remember is that I need to get people talking about themselves.


Update: 1 Day later


One day later and I haven’t had much opportunity to practice this skill yet. I have now updated my thoughts on People Smart 1 though.

Update: 2 Days later

I managed to use the concept of talking to other people about themselves today. In one instance it prevented me from getting lost in wanting to be right about something, and instead lead me towards a path of understanding someone so that I may better help them with their marketing. In other instances, I actually remembered to get the other people talking about themselves.

I think I just need a few more days like this before I move onto the next people smart.

Update: Wednesday, 28 November

I think I’m ready to start adding to the People Smart list. I’ve reflected enough on People Smart 1 and practiced a bit as well. Here’s my final thoughts on it from my first week or so

I’ve heard about the process before, on how to connect with people. They say you need to connect by creating rapport, talk about their family, their occupation, their recreational activities, things that motivate them.

The problem I’ve always had is that it has always felt a bit false or pretentious, and I couldn’t understand how people who had seemingly mastered the skill, kept advising to follow this process, create what felt like artificial rapport, and then ended off with: “but you must mean it”.

How can you mean it if you are following a logical process, learnt in training or research while trying to grow your business or push a product? Regardless of the fact that you may or may not genuinely want to help the person, I had a problem connecting the logical process with being sincere.

Reading this book, just the first chapter so far, “People Smart 1” and I think I’m starting to understand how it works after trying it out a bit during random conversation where nothing is “at stake” so to speak. The way I see it now is, you ask a question about someone, and the next step is to listen to understand and relate. By doing so, you actually become intrigued and anxiously await the answer to the question. It is as if the more you ask the right questions, the more you are interested in hearing the answers. To put it another way, the more you ask questions that provoke passionate and personal answers, the more you take note of those answers and make an emotional connection with that person. In one of his talks about his book, The 7 habits of highly effective people, Steven Covey called these “bonding experiences”.

It’s actually interesting that by focusing on asking more questions, you tend to focus on the other person, and what matters to them. This as opposed to listening to reply, where you have no real intention of understanding the other person (except enough to answer in case they ask you a question).

I’ve learned a long time ago that focus is crucial to success in anything. The amount of focus you give something is closely linked to how fast (and whether or not) you actually achieve something.

Have you read the book yet? Comment below.

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