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The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,859 ratings  ·  179 reviews
What if charisma could be taught?

For the first time, science and technology have taken charisma apart, figured it out and turned it into an applied science: In controlled laboratory experiments, researchers could raise or lower people's level of charisma as if they were turning a dial.

What you'll find here is practical magic: unique knowledge, drawn from a variety of sci...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published March 29th 2012 by Portfolio Hardcover (first published February 16th 2012)
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Loy Machedo
Loy Machedo’s Book Review: The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane

There are some books which you cannot put down. And then there are certain books that you can read over and over again. Olivia Fox Cabane’s book fuses the ethos of Social Psychology, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Neuropsychology Research with Emotional Intelligence and the Zen Buddhist Philosophies to come up with The Charisma Myth. After reading Robert B. Cialdini’s...more
Austin Burbridge
Reader, pass by! How is this book different from so many other self-help books which promote good deportment? Answer: Not very. For an author who brags throughout the book about her lofty credentials and celebrated clientele, this is pretty thin stuff — and rather stingy with its insights, too.

“Charisma” is a myth in American commercial culture —the world of magazines and TV pundits. “Charisma” is a word deployed as a figure of public relations (or uncritical journalism), to suggest that a pers...more
Note, I listened to the audiobook vs. reading the book.

The book stays the point and delivers in what it promises regarding the science of personal magnetism. It presents the multiple styles of chrisma, details each chrisma, and dwells into how one can use it within their own lives. The book is detailed and gives you a strong understanding of the different actions a charismatic person uses. Unfortunately, the detailed nature of the book is its own demise.

In the book "7 habits of highly successful...more
Kaj Sotala
If we define an introvert as someone who loses energy from social activity and an extrovert as someoe who gains energy from them, then I have usually been an introvert, enjoying social interaction but needing considerable time to recharge afterwards. Since reading this book, however, this seems to have changed: I just came back from a three-day meetup feeling refreshed and energetic, and the very thought of being social has started feeling much more enticing. I stil get momentarily drained of me...more
Ben Nesvig
Add this book to the list of things you should learn in school but don't.
A few things I recall from the book off the top of my head:
- Easiest way to be more persuasive is mirror body language.
- To practice "authority charisma" when in public don't move out of the way for other people when walking.
- The response "No problem" or "No worries" isn't a great response since it makes people think of a negative.
- You become charismatic by giving 100% focus to another person. No fidgeting with hands. No...more
This review is for the Audible version, not the printed version.

There is some pretty good information in here, but it's limited. I didn't benefit from much of it because the narrator sounds like a teenager. I think that it's quite possible this book could be worth 4 or 5 stars if actually read instead of listened to, but I wouldn't know because the narrator was so off-putting that I tuned her out over and over.

There are a lot of stories and impressive anecdotes, but the step-by-steps and...more
Candice Carpenter
So what is charisma? According to Cabane, it is the trifecta of power, presence, and warmth. All three can be cultivated, promoted, and used in both serene and stressful situations.

Olivia Cabane does an exquisite job of breaking down charisma into a manageable and replicable form for anyone. Contrary to the popular myth, technical wizardry and intellectual brilliance are not enough to win the day. Instead, infusing yourself with powerful charisma can transform your personal and professional life...more
Despite the title, the book didn't dispel the myth for me that charisma can be learned. If you've read articles or books on public speaking, you'll find many of the same recommendations in this book -- be authentic, really listen to people, be willing to be vulnerable and reveal something personal about yourself, practice and visualize your presentations, and mirror the person whom you want to build a rapport. There were a few suggestions that were new for me: divide and conquer (convince your d...more
The Charisma Myth offers advice for improving communication skills (especially non-verbal communication) and becoming more charismatic. The book is based on the premise that some research shows charisma is not an elusive quality you are born with, but rather a set of behaviors and communication skills that some people learn early in life by trial-and-error without realizing it. Therefore, charisma is something anyone (in theory) can acquire simply by learning those skills and behaviors. The auth...more
One of the troubles with writing up book notes long after the book has been read is that only a vague impression remains. Having reviewed it now, though, I can say that I actually absorbed some of it (woohoo, this doesn't always happen!) and there's plenty of interesting things in it.

I'm interested in charisma mostly because a) I don't think I have much and think it's useful and b) my ex-boss had it in bags and it was kind of fascinating. Crazy, horrible, self-obsessed, psychotic and still she...more
“To know others is knowledge; to know oneself is wisdom.” ~Lao Tsu

Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey….What do these people have that you and I don’t? Charisma. They seem to have some special power or personality traits that attract people to them effortlessly. They attract all the attentions when they walk into a room, even without speaking. Somehow, we were taught that either we have this trait, or we don’t; so I was immediately drawn to this title once I s...more
Peter Mcloughlin
This book surprised me. I opened it being very skeptical and some nasty comments I made in the early updates showed my early skepticism. The author does start out weak. I thought I was reading yet another inspirational life coach. The author grew more specific and concrete as she went on in the book and gained my respect. She talks about specific steps backed up with a rationale in dealing with social situations such as conversation, public speaking, signals in clothing, making a good impressio...more
Jay Kamaladasa
This is a practical book.

I read this book a week before facing to a stressful interview. So I really had an incentive to learn. I practiced the techniques on total strangers I met the street as well as on people at work. The results were immediate, amazing and they turned out to be some of the most memorable interactions that I've had with anyone, ever. (I apologize for using that over-used american superlative, but it really is true.) A week later, I faced the interview, breezed through it, an...more
This book is more oriented to businessfolk, but I still found it useful as a regular ole person. The part I found particularly valuable was the description of the 4 different types of charisma. I've often wondered why I have trouble with certain aspects of interpersonal relations (read: being a stoic robot at times) while at the same time clearly having a type of charisma. It is because at times I have authority charisma at work, and presence charisma with friends, but lack the ability to exude...more
Great book! It taught me to not always jump to conclusions about other peoples dilemmas and realize it could be something else. Also helped me analyze situations more and get more out of life.
The information in this book falls into two camps for people, either it's a no brainier and maybe a waste of time or it's demystifying. For me it was latter. I never put much stock into social queues because I always thought people would see my genuine side and appreciate me for me. I've never been so wrong. This book taught me very basic techniques on how to interact with people and how to project approachable body language. I have finished the book but I suspect I will read it over and over un...more
Great book! 21st Century How to Win Friends and Influence People. If you want people to be confortable around you read this book and do what it says.

Sure most of the stuff has been said before, but this hits every topic, says it succinctly in an organized and easy to follow fashion. I loved it.
I had to give up on this one. I kept falling asleep. ;)
In the game of randomly putting books on hold because I like the look of the title this was a definite win. :D One of the better self-help books I've read. I found the way she broke down charisma and how it works very understandable and the exercises seem like they'd achieve their intended effect. Possibly I'll come back to this review if I make the effort to implement some of her suggestions. 4 stars
This is a topic I'm passionate about -- which makes me hard to please. The book is great for people new to the field or individuals trying to increase their star power. Olivia has a strong fundamental grasp of the basics and she explains them very clearly. She's obviously a real pro and I recommend this book highly for people who are new to the world of public speaking, charisma, and presence.
Laurie Sanders
I enjoyed The Charisma Myth and I learned a lot from it. The most important being that charisma is comprised of three's power, presence, and warmth...and that one can improve their charisma by working on those three things. There was a great breakdown on how to approach each element as well as lots of stories and examples. I enjoyed the book.
Amy Alkon
Fortune 500 executive coach Olivia Fox Cabane has written the single most helpful how-to book I have every read (and I say that as somebody who reads behavioral science, both academic and popular, for a living).

Cabane shows, based in solid science, why charisma isn't something people are just born with but something we can all acquire and perfect with knowledge and practice. Even people who aren't extraverts.

Some of the tips might seem a little airy-fairy, but I tried them and most worked for m...more
Wil Reynolds
I thought I would read this book to help people at SEER who needed a little help with being a little more bold in meetings. Learning how to own a room at the appropriate time, take a "gorilla stance", etc.

I learned a ton myself this book is great for people who:
Struggle with getting buy in from clients / others
Find themselves being defeatist in their own minds
Struggle with projecting confidence
Also as a manager, I do get buy in from clients, am not self defeating, and don't struggle to project c...more
Bill Lalonde
Despite the subtitle, more art than science. The exercises range from annoyingly amoral to annoyingly lovey dovey, but there are some useful ones in between, at least if you're aiming for some kind of business leader kind of existence. Overall, nothing new.
A worthwhile addition to your personal library if you are interested in improving your skills in leadership, presentation, and personal and business interactions. Loaded with practical examples and 22 well discussed exercises to improve your skills and presence, Ms. Cabane dispels the myth that one is "born with" charisma. It CAN be learned and, in such a way that still honors one's existing personality. I can say from personal experience that adopting some of her techniques has already improved...more
I stumbled onto this book after reading the 3 parties series on artofmanliness inspired by it. I'm glad I found it. Because I study persuasive communication, a lot of this was already familiar to me. However, it never hurts to review some important concepts, like the Ben Franklin Effect (when you compel another person to do a favor for you to let them rationalize you as a friend instead of a foe). This book was pretty damned comprehensive, though, and I did learn a lot of new material, specifica...more
Not quite what I expected and if, after the 50% mark, I had given it a rating it probably would have been maybe 2-stars. Then I had a shift in perspective and came away with a more favorable view on the book.

I went it thinking the book would have a stronger focus on "the science of personal magnetism". There are probably some studies quoted but the science is not the key thing here. This is a book written by a business consultant and she primarily talks about things she has tried with her client...more
learn to delude yourself, so you can be a more convincing liar.
c'mon! all the kids are doin' it.

i had to stop reading it.
Thought the beginning of this book was a bunch of hooey, but I'm glad I stuck with it. About a third of the way through, Cabane started giving concrete tips for making people more at ease, commanding a room, etc. that involved more than just positive affirmations and visualization. Most of these skills are not new ideas, but gathered in one volume they make quite an impact. Like "What Not to Wear", it gives readers the rules for putting their best foot forward - with behavior and body language i...more
John Kennedy
Great quality of content. Her thesis is that charisma is a function of presence in the moment, perceived power, and perceived warmth. She lists specific for increasing all of the elements of charisma, and is I think correct in asserting that charisma is malleable and can be improved with focused practice.

Marginal writing quality; she could say the quite valuable things she has to say in a third of the space she takes up, and the second half of the book felt almost completely repetitive.

Bottom li...more
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An expert in the fields of charisma and leadership, Olivia Fox Cabane has lectured at Stanford, Yale, Harvard, MIT and the United Nations. As a frequent keynote speaker and executive coach to the leadership of Fortune 500 companies, she helps people increase their ability to influence, persuade, and inspire others.

From a base of thorough behavioral science, Olivia extracts the most practical tools...more
More about Olivia Fox Cabane...
The Charisma Myth: Master the Art of Personal Magnetism Das Charisma-Geheimnis: Wie jeder die Kunst erlernen kann, andere Menschen in seinen Bann zu ziehen (German Edition) Il segreto del carisma: Impara l'arte e la scienza del magnetismo personale (Italian Edition)

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“Presence, power and warmth.” 3 likes
“One of the main reasons we’re so affected by our negative thoughts is that we think our mind has an accurate grasp on reality, and that its conclusions are generally valid. This, however, is a fallacy. Our mind’s view of reality can be, and often is, completely distorted.” 1 likes
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