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The Hard Truth About Soft Skills: Workplace Lessons Smart People Wish They'd Learned Sooner

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  200 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
What's the hard truth? Soft skills get little respect but will make or break your career. Master your soft skills and really get ahead at work!

Fortune 500 coach Peggy Klaus encounters individuals every day who excel at their jobs but aren't getting where they want to go. It's rarely a shortfall in technical expertise that limits their careers, but rather a shortcoming in t
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 22nd 2008 by HarperBusiness (first published 2008)
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Apr 04, 2013 Tinea rated it liked it
Shelves: various-skills
What a ridiculous book. But do you know what's also ridiculous? CORPORATE NONPROFIT CULTURE IN LATE CAPITALISM IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD. Hooooboy, it is embarrassing to be the exact audience for this sexist doozy, but I will come clean to Goodreads: I found this generally informative and helpful! Things like "small talk is a crucial part of making connections with others," "be careful how you say no," "your boss wants you to figure it out," and how to turn resume bullet points into ...more
Mar 16, 2013 Amanda rated it it was ok
This book was...average. Run of the mill business literature. Don't be a jerk. Listen to people. Treat everyone nicely. Yada, yada, yada. If you have read any books of this sort, you've heard it before. I had to grit my teeth through a couple of awkwardly worded sections (hey, guess what, the section on crying is addressed to women! And the section on being an insensitive bully is addressed to men! And women should be more like men! And men should remember to be nice to those fragile women!). ...more
Nov 28, 2012 Desiree rated it liked it
A bit too short, I thought, so I suppose that's a good endorsement of sorts; I could have read more. I enjoyed this and it gave me quite a bit to think about. Many of us might wish we could force our bosses to read it as well (along with the classic "the No Asshole Rule").

It makes me a little sad that I am probably going to take down my 'passive aggressive notes' calendar page with little kid's writing that says "Dear Owen, I"m guna punch you n your face. Love, Emma," but I've already taken out
Sep 10, 2013 Julia rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Good, if obvious, advice delivered through overly general cheerleading. The author is a motivational speaker, and it shows (and not in a good way). I think that for most people, the challenge is not that they don't realize things like communication and leadership skills are important, but that they have trouble building those skills and exercising them in the context of their own jobs. Some real-life examples with a little complexity (not the ones here, which are either invented or just really ...more
Coral Rose
Sep 16, 2009 Coral Rose rated it it was ok
Shelves: work, 2009, own
Meh. It had some good things to say about self-branding and remembering to be your own cheerleading squad, but it was mostly just fluffy feel good about these concepts stories and not a lot of real meat. Every point could have been broadened, given more examples and some practical application. Not bad, just not stunning either. A lot of common sense. (Think before you date your boss. The way your peers see you will trickle up to your boss. Self-presentation isn't just for the day of your ...more
Muhammad Ali
Nov 17, 2016 Muhammad Ali rated it it was amazing
Easy to read / comprehend. Really practial stuff with some key learnings:
• Always consider yourself a work-in-progress.
• Office politics is inevitable
• Don't over do Branding and bragging. Do it with a soft touch to the soft skill of self-promotion.
• Avoid bad bragging: talking nonstop, interrupting, exaggerating, lying, stealing credit, name-dropping, etc.
• As a leader, control your temper, know how to rally the troops and be careful of what you say.

Can you "really like" a business book? I guess... I did enjoy it and read it kind of compulsively. I will recommend it to people.

The highlights: The subject matter! Peggy Klause talked a lot about mindfulness and taking control of your own destiny and branding and marketing yourself. She made a lot of common sense and I believe I should do pretty much everything she talked about in this book. Also, the book was very readable.

The lowlights: It was a little cheesy at times - like this weird radio
Val Williams
Sep 24, 2008 Val Williams rated it really liked it
I was surprised that I liked this book as much as I did. The author provides some really good tips on dealing with office politics as well as managing your job versus managing your career. What makes this book earn its 4th star is that it addresses concerns of gender, age, and cultural differences. While it touches on each tip for only about one to three (small paperback) pages, it provides some good tips. Some tips like "your boss wants YOU to figure it out" are more useful for those new to the ...more
Ayesha Tariq
Dec 07, 2014 Ayesha Tariq rated it liked it
One the few self-help/ advice books that I managed to get through. Although the advice is mostly obvious, it is presented in a way that makes sense. Examples are concise and the author gets to the point quickly. The book is structured well and doesn't get too tiring to read. It's true this is not for people who need the extra help with problematic situations at work. It doesn't even offer a lot of career advice. But what it does offer is a broad perspective on general behaviour / actions at ...more
Mar 11, 2013 Agoes rated it it was ok
Buku ini berisi kumpulan nasehat yang berkaitan dengan apa yang sebaiknya kita lakukan di tempat kerja. Beberapa nasehat yang ada memang bagus, tapi menimbulkan "ya ini sih semua orang juga tau kali". Ditambah lagi gaya penulisannya yang selalu berupa anekdot ("Pada suatu ketika, ada manajer bernama Joe, dia... [bla3x]") sehingga kesannya terlalu seperti dongeng dan kisah motivasi belaka. Meskipun demikian, kadang-kadang penulisnya memberikan contoh yang lebih konkrit sehingga buku ini masih ada ...more
Sadie Newell
Nov 19, 2014 Sadie Newell rated it did not like it
Shelves: life-development
I read this book after reading "Nice Girls Still Don't Get The Corner Office" which skewed my opinion of this book. Nice Girls... is a more updated, concise document that tells women the same thing: don't play with your hair, make sure you don't flirt with your boss and be a woman that doesn't take no for an answer. I found that this book didn't leave me inspired, and was a more difficult read. Soft skills or no, I don't recommend this book to anyone looking for advice in their professional ...more
Jeremy Carman
Mar 14, 2015 Jeremy Carman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
Good book. A lot of useful advice.

Something she had to say really bothered me. She apearntly has heard this enough to have to put it into her book. It went something like this "Don't even think just because they work under you you don't have to apologize!"

To me that form of statement speks load about a managment persons character. Specifically they probably think they are better than their underlings. :-(
Aug 27, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
This was a quick and worthwhile read for me on my journey to be a better listener and better developer and supporter of people around me, whether at work or home or with friends. It was also interesting to learn about impostor syndrome, though it was mentioned quite briefly. I'm going to look into that a bit more. (One book down, likely two or three more to add to the list. A reader's dilemma.)
Jul 24, 2014 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
This book is offers a lot of insight in how to propel yourself in your current workplace and how to move forward of you're looking for a new job or a promotion in your current workplace. I have put some of these practices into use since reading the book a week ago and you really see the difference in how others respond to you. It is a great read for people who are becoming complacent in their current job and who are looking for a way to enhance themselves in their career field.
May 05, 2014 BegumIrdawati rated it liked it
Yayyy! My first book in 2014, after such a turbulent start of the year I manage to finish this book *big grin*

Even though the title sounds intimidating, but overall it is an easy read since the author used anecdotes and other people's stories to convey her message. The biggest takeaway? Always treat the waiter with respect, ha ha ha!
If you are a manager, skim chapters 1-7, and read chapter 8. Some good reminders are hidden throughout the book. Chapter 8 has some good examples that drive home some points - know when to lead, treat everyone equally, be aware of what you say - they hang on your every word, and never be afraid to eat some humble pie. This book is short and readable in an afternoon or a couple of week nights.
Shana Kneib
Mar 01, 2008 Shana Kneib rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone wanting to advance their career
Recommended to Shana by: Delta Sky magazine
I think staying atop current literature in the career section is important. This book was great in that it reminded me of some of the things you need to master outside of your technical knowledge in order to get ahead in the workplace. If you're trying to get ahead and want to know what it takes or how to improve your soft skills, I'd read this book.
Feb 26, 2013 Susan rated it did not like it
The ideas were good, but it reads like a corny motivational speech. There are reference that not everyone will understand and the explainations are too generalized. There are vauge references to studies but doesn't get any deeper. It is also clearly written for one personality type, which won't help about half of the working force out there
James Williams
Jun 27, 2016 James Williams rated it really liked it
This is a good book to provide one with the basic understanding of soft skills and how to make soft skills practical within any work environment. A great deal of common sense tactics were applied in this book, but we all comprehend the fact that common sense is not that common in most work milieus.

Dr. James Arthur Williams,
Author of From Thug to Scholar
Sep 26, 2009 Michelle rated it it was ok
A super quick read. I probably would have appreciated this more when I was just starting out in business (grad gift alert!). As it is I feel like I've already learned most of this stuff--some of it, sadly, the Hard Way.
Amy Barclay
This writer seemed very biased to me. Her views were very conservative and I didn't really care for some of her snarky comments she made. Some material in here was useful, but I don't recommend this book.
Sep 16, 2012 Unwisely rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012, career
Another of the business book series. A pretty good one, although not as specific to my issues as I might have liked. There was a good bit about pulling together your 30 second brief, which has led me to request her other book specifically on that topic to read soon.
Oct 24, 2009 Treasure rated it really liked it
Shelves: grown-up-books
A short, amusing book about how to succeed in the workplace. Usually, short and amusing aren't words you would find in a review regarding something as typcially boring as workplace skills, but this one is truly helpful while being entertaining without being stupid-- impressive!
Jan 22, 2014 Ellen rated it really liked it
Very helpful for understanding and navigating office communication and politics, but a bit more idealistic than realistic.
Alisha Pulsipher
Aug 27, 2016 Alisha Pulsipher rated it really liked it
This book was an easy read and had some good pointers. It gave me some good ideas on how I can improve my soft skills. It was very focused on career/workplace advice.
Cheryl Mclaws
Feb 01, 2013 Cheryl Mclaws rated it really liked it
I learned a lot and it really opened my eyes on things I'm doing (good and bad) and how to get where I want to go in my career. Thanks, Peggy!
Feb 15, 2011 Ann added it
Nothing really new but put together in a coherent and easily grasped format. Reminded one of all that goes into being a successful employess.
Dec 13, 2009 Alan rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Mentioned in lifehacker blog. Good book for anybody just graduated from college. Explains how to get along in this world.
Feb 11, 2015 L rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Simple and straight to the point. Using anecdotal stories, Peggy shares some of the common pitfalls and how to address them. May be a bit general for some but good introduction for most.
Sep 09, 2013 Marwan rated it it was amazing
I like the book because of the simple ideas and language they use to write the book ... It's actually a short book but I bit you would benefit reading it
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