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Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  668 ratings  ·  129 reviews
A guide to personal and professional empowerment through civility and social skills, written by two White House Social Secretaries who offer an important fundamental message—everyone is important and everyone deserves to be treated well.

Former White House social secretaries Lea Berman, who worked for George and Laura Bush, and Jeremy Bernard, who worked for Michelle and Ba
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 9th 2018 by Scribner
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  668 ratings  ·  129 reviews

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Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Treating People Well is bland and not particularly useful, but it isn't unpleasant. That's... about the strongest praise I can give it.

I guess I was unclear about the purpose of the book going in. I thought it would be similar to How to Win Friends and Influence People, but more modern. I thought it would have concise ways to be a better person in the internet age. I thought it would also have advice on being more social and throwing the kinds of events the authors did as White House Social Sec
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The basic of civility. This book should be required reading on how to treat others.
Alison Plum
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this book, and it is one of my favorites of the year - I think it is going to be a true shining star of 2018. Part nonfiction - stories of Berman and Bernard's time at the White House, as well as other morsels of interesting presidential history - part self-help - the book is divided into fluidly written chapters that each instruct delicately on the art of being a kind person - and part must-read for everyone - and, seriously, EVERYONE in this world ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was not what I expected. It was more about how people made 'things' work while they were employed at the White House. It was like "See. Crisis averted because we used common sense." While I found the first few stories okay, it became monotonous real quick. I'm all for celebrating the little things in life that are special, but this covered so much minutia and felt too long. I'm thinking pamphlet....not book.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting "how-to" guide to manners, a collaboration between two former White House Social Secretaries. I found it to be a balanced mix of suggestions and anecdotes.
While the focus is primarily professional, many of the pointers translate well to personal life, too.

Many of the chapter titles would seem to be just good common courtesy and common sense, but sadly those things are often lacking in today's world, even in a professional setting. Topics covered include the importance of
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Social secretaries plan all kinds of events, from state dinners and the Easter egg roll to Congressional picnics and private lunches. The authors speak from their own experience about how it's done while dispensing advice on, as the title suggests, treating people well.

Berman and Bernard talk about their time at the White House under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectively. The tips they give aren't groundbreaking (begin with confidence, be consistent, listen first and talk late
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
I expected much more from this book. Overall, the examples and advice from two social secretaries of the last two administrations did not have significant impact on me nor had in depth analysis of events', actions, etc. The idea behind the book was great, but the execution was average, perhaps because it was written in haste? Some of the examples, especially from Lea Berman, reminded me of the examples one gives during the job interview to support their statements about mistakes and accomplishme ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining and educational! This book should be required reading for all College students. So much great advice on dealing with difficult people, conflict resolution, and modern day etiquette which seems to be a lost art. I highly recommend this book!
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
An easy book to read if you’re in need of a little positive energy. I like that the authors emphasized the points they were trying to make by sharing stories from their time in the White House.
Gary Moreau
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written by former White House Social Secretaries, Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard, who served during the Bush (43) and Obama administrations, respectively. Having absolutely no personal experience in politics or relationship with anyone in Washington, I probably would not have given the book a second look, except for the fact that the title contained the word “civility”, which is in short supply these days, and I was intrigued by what two such partisans might agree on. Or perhaps I wa ...more
Heather Mechler
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In an age where people are so starkly polarized, family gatherings are awkward, and the President publicly says things that can't be spoken in polite company, the last thing we need is more anger, incivility, and downright rudeness. This is where Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard come in. They have seen it all in the People's House, and they give us their time-earned wisdom in the form of an easy-to-read and engaging book.

No matter your political leanings, you learn about how human Presidents can b
Kris Springer
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
How to succeed as an employee, a friend, a parent, a spouse, a citizen? Why, civility, of course. Plus some grace, self confidence and self deprecating humor as your sides. Common sense, for sure, but lately missing in DC, as we know. Written by 2 former White House Social Secretaries, 1 from a Republican Presidency, 1 from a Democratic one, they emphasize that their common success was due to their primary values and really nothing to do with political party.

Well written, with interesting stori
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a Goodreads win review. This is a wonderful book written by two people that worked at the White House. I was raised to treat all people in my path of life well so I loved this book. This is the most important points I loved in the book. Let It Go: When you find the compassion to forgive someone it is very freeing. You do not excuse thier behavior but you forgive them. Also forgive yourself when you are not perfect. Showing loyalty to people in so important. The third thing is to pass you ...more
Jay C
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Some useful stuff, but I was hoping for more. I found there were too many examples used that, while good stories, being specific to White House social functions, etc., made them impractical for a “normal” person like me to apply in my workplace. E.g., I’ve never had the weight of the POTUS behind me in my interactions with business contacts, etc.) Another problem I thought of while reading is that those people who would benefit the most (I.e. those who DON’T treat people well) from reading a boo ...more
Diana Gardner Robinson
Excellent and easy reading! Light-hearted accounts of how the two authors did coped with the stresses of managing the social lives of two different First Ladies, each pointing out how treating people well worked for them and for those around them, enhancing trust and yet improving performance. It's not an essential read for everyone but I do recommend it for those of us who sometimes find it difficult to know just how to work with others to the benefit of all.
Courtney Lupu
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
How you read the book will define what you think of the book. What I mean is if you go in with a negative mindset or think that the title has a hidden meaning, you probably will hate it. If you go in with the mindset that you want to find little steps to make yourself a better person and take the title at face value, it’s an amazing book. One that stuck out to me is to change how we respond to employees that are not performing, and more importantly, how to be professional during hard times. I th ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I was very entertained by the stories from The White House. The advice was not new, but I liked seeing how it played out on such a large scale.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook of this title. It was a great substitution to the political ads we are bombarded with during election season. All politicians should listen to this, over and over again.
Stacey Kimmel
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
I don't know, I've been alive a long time and there is nothing new here. Maybe this book is intended for very young and inexperienced people, but that should be stated up front. The advice was frankly so superficial! Respect for others. Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't gossip. Even "be careful on social media." Really? What is needed is not advice to DO these things, but HOW to do it.

Just NOT ORIGINAL material here, it is warmed over Internet blog posts from no-one-we've-heard-of. About half
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Will be heartily recommending this book to anyone whose ear I can bend. This is common sense, but the type that seems to elude too many people. Who will benefit from reading this?

anyone who deals with a variety of personalities (egos) among coworkers or customers
anyone who wants to get ahead in their business
anyone in a troubled relationship at home or the workplace
anyone juggling a million responsibilities
anyone working with the homeless, narcissists, and others who may provide special challeng
Lori Rees
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Treating People Well. There are tips and wisdom on treating others well interwoven with stories from the authors’ time serving in the White House. This book would be useful for all, young and old. Useful for younger people entering their careers, and a good read for those who are older, navigating a landscape that seems to be increasingly uncivil. I work with the public and find that I'm pretty good with treating others well but I feel inspired to step up my game after this book. Every ...more
Kathy Adams Clark
I liked this book a lot. The stories about the Bush and Obama White Houses were my favorite parts. Yet, the information about treating people well, being kind, and navigating the workplace were fantastic. Done with style and grace while still retaining humor.

This is a great book for young people starting out in the corporate career. Also, a good book if you keep banging up against a wall and seem to be getting nowhere at work.

The tips on courtesy, tact, diplomacy, and grace under pressure are s
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
TREATING PEOPLE WELL, or "How to be a Good Courtier"

Treating People Well is a pleasant, conversational, gracious look at how two individuals used civility in their positions as White House Social Secretary ... and I'm not sure I believed a word of it.

Lea and Jeremy (they use their first names in the book) seem just so darned nice, it's hard to believe they would ever make it into a position of power. Where's their grit? Honestly, though, I'm not sure either author was the primary architect of t
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, memoir
The coauthors of this book both served as White House social secretary, one for the Obama administration and the other for the George W. Bush administration. The book combines common sense advice with anecdotes about White House life.

I found many of the anecdotes in this book to be about almost laughably low-stakes issues. As one of the other reviewers noted, a lot of these read like the types of stories that people make up to illustrate a point in a job interview. In fact, unless they were kee
Brad McKenna
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
September (2018) is Civility Month at my library. It’s a direct response to all the divisiveness, vitriol, and all around poopy-headedness that’s so popular these days. The events at the library include a Kindness Wall, an Empathic Meditation class (taught by yours truly), and of course a reading list. This book is the benchmark title. My feelings about the book are shaken, not stirred.

Two former White House social secretaries collaborated to give advice on how to get through difficult situatio
I didn't learn anything new within this book, having a similar type of work environment in my past. While all of the advice was good and should be in place from childhood--getting people to control their obsession and impulse to turn to their electronics when with real people seems neigh to impossible. It "is" terribly" rude as the authors note. My other quibble is about working with unmanageable, unbearable people. While the advice is sound on paper, it rarely works that way in real life. Often ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a treat to learn a bit about the behind-the-scenes happenings at the White House. It renewed some of my - faith isn't quite the right word - about being civil in all cases. The two authors served different administrations but both exhibit had much respect for each other, their bosses, the institution of the White House as the people's house, and the importance of all the white house events in making people feel special and connected.

The tone is warm and gr
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Pleasant book by two White house social secretaries. Their message is useful and quite timely. Berman and Bernard give lots of useful tips and strategies for succeeding in any social environments, be it work or personal. The subtitle is absolutely true: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life. As one who already buys into the subject matter, I can tell you that you would be surprised how good you feel when treating people well is a part of your being. You get an inner calm and se ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This was not as engaging a read as I'd expected it to be after I heard an interview with the authors on NPR. Like most books of this kind, those who really need the suggestions offered in this book are those least likely to read it. At this stage in my life, most of the suggestions offered here for treating people well are things I already know well and (mostly) put into practice. Reminders about good behavior are always needed, of course, but I kept thinking this would be the perfect read (poss ...more
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