‘Empowered’ by Anne Mulliner, published by Panoma Press
I should first of all declare an interest; the author is one of MTP’s associates involved in behavioural skills training. In the past however our staff and associates have found out that such a status does not persuade me to be kind in my reviews; on the contrary it makes me expect more. There is also the point that, of all the types of books that I am likely to be hard on, those of the ‘touchy feely’ variety are at the front. And there is no doubt that there is a lot of touch and feel about Anne’s approach in this book.
The first thing to say is that this book is more about personal potential and motivations than it is about business management though clearly the two have strong connections. It will therefore be most suitable for those who need lifestyle guidance and who appreciate the type of personal insight and advice that Anne provides in her coaching work.
The book is extremely easy to read and has quite a lot of white space over its 178 pages; therefore it cannot be positioned as a weighty intellectual contribution to the understanding of human behaviour. But this makes it a much more realistic proposition for the average junior or middle manager than most management books, a large proportion of which are never finished. The personal exercises that are suggested and the summaries at the end of each chapter are also valuable in making the book practical and enjoyable.
There are also a lot of realistic individual case studies that are easy to relate to and provide valuable insights; my usual criticism that the case studies are anonymous clearly doesn’t apply here as confidentiality must prevent the use of real names. The exercises are also well designed to make you think about yourself, your behaviours and the impact you have on others.
The only chapter which did not ring any bells for me and which might have put me off the rest of the book, is the first one. It is perhaps a high risk place to start, asking the reader to look back to the first seven years of life and try to remember incidents of significance. Not only was it not relevant for those who, like me, are so old that we cannot remember that far back, it also seems a little too close to the psychiatrist’s couch.
Overall this is a good book for the individuals who want to analyse themselves and their behaviour more closely. From a personal and MTP point of view, I would have liked to see more of a business orientation. But though we at MTP know though the author is very effective in that context, this is clearly not the main target for this book. But for the individual who needs to rethink their approach to life, it could be effective and potentially life changing.