Like many of you, I grew up never learning the social skills that help people make friends, get along with others, network, and lead happy, productive lives. As a child, I had few friends and was lonely and depressed much of the time.The social skills I lacked were like tools. Imagine trying to fix dinner with just a soup spoon. It would be very difficult to cut a steak or prepare noodles or do any one of a hundred things it takes to cook with just a soup spoon. But when you have the right tools- in this case a steak knife and a fork, it becomes vastly easier to prepare and eat a meal. I discovered there were several hundred studies that had been conducted for years at universities throughout the country., working with groups like men who never date, women who have few friends, and couples who just talk a few minutes a day. They were teaching skills for doing better, but these skills were seldom taught off campus. They had made such a difference in my life, I decided to dedicate my life to teaching them. I went to UCLA to get a BA in Speech and then to the University of Oregon to take a special Master's Degree course in teaching these skills. I became a college speech teacher, and on the side teaching workshops I called "Conversationally Speaking." After a while I added a shyness component, because I found that many of my students had become very adept at using the skills I taught them, but were too shy to use them. Over some 30 years, I taught hundreds of "Conversationally Speaking" workshops all over the world and trained other people to teach them as well. Sometimes my audience was just two people (my parents) and sometimes hundreds.. And I wrote "Conversationally Speaking," which has sold over 1 million copies. It started small, with the marketing manager of McGraw-Hill having no plans for the book beyond recalling it and adding $1 to the price if it proved popular. I was so excited, I decided to spend 4 months on the road promoting it. When he heard that, he became excited too, and he asked his PR people to set up interviews for me everywhere I went. Bless you, Herb Kavet. Soon, "Conversationally Speaking" also became popular as an Audible Audiobook and then in the Kindle format. Chapter 12 summarizes the life's work of Dr. Albert Ellis, 44 books such as "How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable about Anything- Yes, Anything." Some taught people how to be less shy and more confident. I summarized them all in 25 pages, and I'm proud to say Dr. Ellis gave me a quote for the cover. Soon, hundreds of cognitive and behavioral therapists started recommending the book. The much respected Aaron Beck, MD, University Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote "Conversationally Speaking is of great value for people who want to sharpen their skills in interpersonal relations. I routinely recommend it." All this brings a tear to my eye as it was always my dream to be able to help exactly the sort of people I was reaching now. "Conversationally Speaking" has been published all over the world and has just come out with a newly updated 3rd edition for the 2020's with the help of my new co-author, Amanda Goodwin Caporaletti, an Associate Teaching Professor of Speech at Penn State. She teaches these skills to hundreds of students a year and is well versed on the latest advances in the field. My hope is that, with her now taking over the lead authorship, it will remain the most popular and up-to-date book in the field. Incidentally, if you happen to be the child of an alcoholic and were neglected or abused and "Conversationally Speaking" seems too difficult for you, I joined Janet Woititz, the author of the NY Times bestseller, "Adult Children of Alcoholics," in writing "Lifeskills for Adult Children." That would be a good book for you to begin learning the skills you never learned as a child. As for me, I have retired and have moved with my wife half-time to Thailand, I've written a book about this adventure that's available at Amazon for all of $2.99 in a Kindle edition and $5.95 as a paperback. It's title: "How I Moved to Thailand: Retired Early, Found Love, Built a Mansion, Live Like a King on a Dime- and How You Can Too!" My pen name for this book is Scott Curtis. I have always felt it was my privilege to teach these skills that made such a difference in my life to so many other people. It is my privilege now to teach you.Read more Read less
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