Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: The Underdog Edge by Amy Showalter

ISBN #: 978-1600379987
Page Count: 300
Copyright: 2011

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

In The Underdog Edge, you'll learn why being the underdog is an advantage when influencing up, and how to engage the edge for influence success.

There will come a time when you will be the underdog, and you'll have to change the mind of someone more powerful than yourself. The typical influence tactics for general influence situations don't often work with powerful people. These situations call for extreme influence tactics.

Amy Showalter has drawn on over twenty years of experience teaching organizations how to get powerful people on their side. Her research with thousands of underdog influencers and the high-powered people whose minds they changed reveal the behaviors that work.

Find out:
  • Why powerful people have an inherent need to help underdogs
  • The five characteristics of underdog "street cred" (and how to obtain it)
  • Why showing passion for your cause can actually doom your request
  • The one underdog influence move that distinguishes the achievers from the "yaktivists"
  • The three qualities your pack members must have to maximum influence
  • Why giving the "gift of heroics" is incredibly persuasive

Kathy's Review:

The Underdog Edge shows you the psychology behind why certain underdogs are successful in championing their cause, whether it be a business person, sports figure or politician. Showalter, who has very impressive credentials in coaching organizations on the principles of persuasion, breaks down the traits and approaches that are necessary in order to get through to the "top dogs" as she calls them - in other words, the people who hold the keys to making the decisions. Many success stories, citing specific examples, are used in each chapter to illustrate how the various techniques worked.

I thought this book was well thought-out, well executed and chock-full of helpful information, with a flourish of humor and very candid quotes from her interview subjects. Though the people Showalter features in her book are typically fighting for larger issues than, say, asking your boss for a raise, I think the same principles can be applied. There are certainly things I could draw upon for use in my work life in how to better deal with management when trying to advocate for an idea.

There are SO many case studies and examples, particularly from the political world, that I have to admit I skipped a few of them. I was much more interested in the psychology of the different principles.

I think this is a book you specifically seek out when you have a cause to champion, but that being said, I took away some food for thought on how to approach certain people. And I'll try to look past the fact that the author is an ardent Ohio State fan.

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