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Monday, July 4, 2005 - 6:21amSanction this postReply
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There are at least two ways to look at these "success" books. 

Obviously, we live in a society of social individuals.  Whatever else each of us is, few are so totally isolated and internalized that we only respond to logical arguments.  Planet Earth is not planet Vulcan.  If you want to be successful -- by whatever standard -- you have work with other people, appeal to their self-interests, get them to agree with your goals, make them like you (at least temporarily), and so on. 

Whether or not you think you are in sales, you are. Every time you ask someone else for anything, you are selling, from "You got a light?" to "I want a divorce."  One common experience for people in our culture is the job interview.  Handle it like someone looking for a job and you are a pawn.  Sell them on hiring you and you are the person pushing pawns toward a gambit. 

The top classics in this sphere of knowledge are:
1.  How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (far and away the Bible of this religion)
2.  Secrets of Closing Sales Alexander Roy and Charles B. Roth
3.  The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
4.  Zig Ziglar's Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar

Even titles that seem tangential deliver these lessons.  The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard is the one I had on my desk for the twelve weeks when I really was a manager in a government office.  Then there are the "contrarian" titles such as  Winning Through Intimidation by Roger J. Ringer.

These books meet a continuing need.  Secrets of Closing Sales by Roy and Roth is in at least its 6th edition and is published by Prentice Hall Business Classics.  According to Amazon, the people who bought that book also bought these.

How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
Zig Ziglar's Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar
How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins
How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing With People by Les Giblin
The How of WOW: A Guide to Giving a Speech That Will Positively Blow 'Em Away by Tony Carlson
Getting the Second Appointment: How to CLOSE Any Sale in Two Calls! by Anthony Parinello

It is telling that there are so many titles in this sphere of knowledge, whereas on the other hand, no one has written, Objectivist Epistemology to follow the Introduction to written 35 years ago.

By comparison, I fly.  So, I have a lot of books about flying.  Some are classics.  Most offer some kind of good advice.  The same is true of my other hobby, numismatics.  Basically, in any endeavor, those who seek to do it well train themselves.  You learn karate by doing it.  Reading about it is one of the ways to continue your training when you are not in the do jo

So, too, with getting along with people.  If you are good at it and you like it and you want to do it better, you practice.  You read books, you go to seminars.  During the day, in every encounter, you practice, practice, practice.

You ask open ended questions.  You repeat what you have heard.  You never give away your position or your ultimate price.  You never get rushed for a reply. 

On the other hand, most of this is bullshit.
(to be continued.)

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 7/04, 7:13am)




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Post 1

Monday, July 4, 2005 - 7:11amSanction this postReply
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The Peter Keatings of the world smell good to each other.  I know no other way to say it.  There is a human chemistry, a psychic awareness that tells each of us so much about each other that books could be written about what we know that we do not -- perhaps cannot -- put in words.  Body language is much of it.  (And there are books on how to read and use body language to your social benefit.)  When I worked as a security guard, one of the basic lessons we taught was conflict management.  The key to that is dealing with someone in conflict with himself: drunk, stoned, mad at his wife.  Our guideline was that communication is 5% verbal and 95% non-verbal. 
 
Practicing clever techniques for successful social interaction will never change a Howard Roark into a Peter Keating, or a Dominique Francon into a Kiki Holcombe.

I think it is telling that Luke Setzer recommends books on how to get along with people and how to manage your time.  Luke Setzer works for NASA.  (I lasted about four weeks at NASA.)  Setzer does not recommend books on excellent engineering, insights into electronics, creative mechanical design, or outside the box systems development.  He also dated a long string of vivacious yet intellectual pussycats until he found the woman of his dreams.  Luke Setzer is a charmer.  He "smells good" to other people.  He even organizes meet-ups for Objectivists. I enjoy the humor in there being Peter Keatings among Objectivists -- and, inevitably, there are many, as there must be in any society.

One of the nice things about life here and now, in America 2005, is that almost any concerted, intelligent effort pays off.  By strict Objectivist interpretation, Christians should starve to death because their irrational metaphysics is unworkable.  Life is not like that.  There are many paths to success.  Succcess is statistical.  If you strike out six times out of ten trips to the plate, you lead the league as a .400 hitter.

Personally, I have found whatever success I have enjoyed by being true to myself. 

Over the years, I started out being obnoxiously oppositional (no, really, I was), but I got past that (honest, I did) and learned to be myself, independent of who was around me.  I learned to like myself so that I did not need other people to like me or hate me for me to be me.  In confess that I have benefited from "getting along with others" books and seminars.  I learned how not to piss people off when I disagree with them.  I never burn my bridges.

Over the years, I found that most people respond well to me.  What they respond to is my honesty, deep, abiding, metaphysical honesty with myself, the world, and the people around me. I am not rude by any stretch of the imagination, but I am my own man.  People perceive that and they respond well to that.  In America -- and much of the West -- we are taught to honor the outsider... as long as he is not too outside.  Being lucky enough to be not too outside, I have been happy and successful being me.

  Also, people tend to take each other on their own terms. If you feel that you are a power negotiator, people will give you your way.  If you are on fire for a cause, you will attract followers. If you like yourself, people will like you. 

If you like being you and you want to do it better, there are a lot of books you can read... and tapes to listen to ... and music to enjoy... and movies ... even a website called SOLO.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 7/04, 7:35am)




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Post 2

Monday, July 4, 2005 - 8:41amSanction this postReply
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Michael Marotta attempted flattery when he wrote:
He also dated a long string of vivacious yet intellectual pussycats until he found the woman of his dreams.  Luke Setzer is a charmer.  He "smells good" to other people.
Hahahahaha!  You know me so little.  I "met" a variety of women, some attractive, others not so attractive, of various intellectual levels before I met Leslie, my first and only serious romantic relationship ever.  To say I "dated" any of them in any meaningful way amounts to a gross overstatement.

As for my lack of posts regarding excellent engineering texts, consider the audience.  I aim at general interest books to review here rather than specialized technical books.  I do have an outline regarding the earning of a license as a Professional Engineer on my personal Web site, available via my SOLO Profile.

I will tell you that I would have found these various books on human relations more helpful to the business of living a fuller life than my engineering texts have.  I need the engineering texts to be a good engineer.  I need Objectivism to be a good self.  I need the human relations texts to be a good friend and spouse and sibling.

I will continue to work for NASA whether anyone here likes it or not.  Perhaps when Rutan and his associates manage to make private human space flight commercially viable, and when Ed Hudgins convinces Congress that NASA needs to go private, I will reconsider.  I will not hold my breath awaiting that day.

Before you accuse me of "smelling" like Peter Keating, you had better check your premises -- and your armpits.  I do not exactly have a reputation as a charmer, a social butterfly or a Don Juan with anyone who knows me.  I even earned the nickname of "3M" as a senior in college because of my abrasive editorials in the campus newspaper.  Meanwhile, here at SOLO, my skepticism of excessive indulgence in the passions has earned me the nickname "Lord Buzzkiller."

Before making such sweeping assessments of me, I suggest you get to know me better.  I do not mind constructive criticism when it has merit.  Yours does not.
I am not rude by any stretch of the imagination ...
Are you sure about that?

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 7/04, 9:27am)




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Post 3

Monday, July 4, 2005 - 11:30amSanction this postReply
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Michael M.:

Here is a synopsis of Peter Keating.  Are you suggesting this is true of Luke:

"  Keating is born mediocre and weak and never had a chance at greatness. Instead, Keating suffers for denying his own mediocrity and for thinking himself too good for a modest but happy life. "  ??

And Luke will come to this:

" By the novelís end, however, Keating is a weak and alcoholic nobody ..."   ??

I don't think you intended to insult Luke as much as it appears that you did.

You said:  " Over the years, I started out being obnoxiously oppositional (no, really, I was) "

I believe it.

" I learned how not to piss people off when I disagree with them. "

Ahem.  Perhaps you don't disagree with Luke at all and you haven't learned how to not piss off people you agree with?




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Monday, July 4, 2005 - 5:59pmSanction this postReply
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Anyone looking to cravenly stroke and soothe the SOLO egos would never have written this piece of apostasy.

As much as some of us poke fun at Luke for his charts and diagrams and tri-quations, the fact is that a lot of Objectivists (me included) need some work on their people skills, not only to spread our philosophy, but to enjoy and enrich our lives. And I've never seen anyone with as much useful knowledge to impart on that subject as Luke.

Your comparison of Luke to Peter Keating is a gratuitous and unfair insult to his character.




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Post 5

Monday, July 4, 2005 - 6:32pmSanction this postReply
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Andrew wrote:

"As much as some of us poke fun at Luke for his charts and diagrams and tri-quations ..."

And none has poked more fun at him for those things than I. Especially on the occasion at a Newport Beach supermarket when, in spite of having his Franklin Covey shopping list with him, he forgot something. The vibrations from my derisive laughter swelled the waves so much the surfies made a point of asking Luke to forget things more often. But he knows my ribbing is good-humoured, & takes it in the same spirit. Beyond that, NEM Luke is right up there among the SOLOists I personally esteem most highly, for what that may be worth. The idea that he's a Peter Keating is so preposterous I'm wondering if Michael was just trying to be funny. In fact, were it not for his teetotallism, I would unhesitatingly pronounce Luke a Roark.

Linz



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Post 6

Monday, July 4, 2005 - 6:43pmSanction this postReply
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LOLOLOLOL  Where did all that venom come from, Michael?  Did the Lord Buzzkiller steal your pennies?  Luke is actually a nice guy once you get to know him.... or so I've heard from a very good source.




Post 7

Monday, July 4, 2005 - 8:05pmSanction this postReply
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Linz reminisced:
Especially on the occasion at a Newport Beach supermarket when, in spite of having his Franklin Covey shopping list with him, he forgot something.
Ah, yes, the great toilet paper chase!  Who would have thought that such a precious commodity could have escaped notice of the conference planners, especially with the merry mirth of gorging on food and drink serving as a unifying theme for the event?  Thankfully, the SOLO power team came to the rescue with a discount pack of twelve rolls to assure that no private places remained unclean!

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 7/05, 6:16am)




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Post 8

Tuesday, July 5, 2005 - 1:00amSanction this postReply
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Dayaamm Michael!!!

LOLOLOL... Luke as a Keating? A brown-noser? Asskisser? Untalented? Second-Hander? LOLOLOLOLOLOL...

The Luke I know? The one who just wrote Benefactors versus Malefactors and Limits to the Effectiveness of Moral Judgment? The one who always says, "I don't need you"? Even the one who made a multi-article Don Quixote charge with experiencing Objectivism through the works of Franklin Covey (charts and all) and Microsoft Outlook?

I could think of a lot of names, but how about just a plain nice guy who has a wonderful sense of life, oodles of talent and integrity and some rather curious interests?

I think I know what you were trying to say, though. But you missed the essence of Peter Keating here. There are a lot of mediocre suck-ups in life who are simply obnoxious. And there are a lot of geniuses who are really nice people and genuinely concerned about whom they deal with.

Ayn Rand used a cold rude Roark and a nice warm Keating as a dramatic device to contrast essential virtues and sellouts (despite an attempt to justify Roark's rudeness as psychologically necessary in The Romantic Manifesto).

I know you enough to know you would never deem Luke to be a second-hand soul and mere social climber. That's another thing that makes your remark as funny as all get out!

Michael




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Post 9

Tuesday, July 5, 2005 - 11:36amSanction this postReply
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With great aplomb, Luke Setzer wrote: Meanwhile, here at SOLO, my skepticism of excessive indulgence in the passions has earned me the nickname "Lord Buzzkiller."

Actually, I confess to not following your career on SOLO.  I just saw all the "people skills" books and the SOLO socializing.  I am sure that this seemed like a bolt out of the blue, but inside my head, it was simmering since November 2004.  I hesitated to say anything at first and that is the reason why I waited for it for appear to me as a pattern.
 
I congratulate you on speaking up on the excessive indulgence of passions.  That path leads to Dionsysianism and I mark you as being, like me, an Apollonian.  I would not even now attempt to enter a contrarian post on that topic. 
 
Setzer:  I need the human relations texts to be a good friend and spouse and sibling.

Well, that is almost good to know.  I thought it was natural that you liked getting along with people and you want to do it better.  It does raise the other question, of course.  I mean, how can anyone trust you when you are not really being nice, but just practicing stuff you learned in a book?  That is one reason why I gave it up.  It only works so well.  They see through it, you know.  You cannot fool them.  They know you are not like that.  The rights words at the right time can avoid a conflict even establish a positive relationship.  Longterm relationships require longterm commitments.  All I ever got from those books was the ability to act sincere when I have to.  But maybe that's just me...
 
MM: I am not rude ...
LS: Are you sure about that?
 
Well, obviously, there is the current situation.  If we were in the flesh, it would never come up.  SOLO, however, is a forum for polemics, self-aggrandizement, enlightening the benighted, crushing evil and lifting the spirit of man to the stars.  If we were at a symposium, Luke, my objection would be stated as, "So, Luke, you like those books, eh?" and my tone of voice might carry doubt and even challenge and I might say them while reaching for a grape.  Here, however, the total lack of non-verbal communication makes all of that impossible.

Mike Erickson wrote: " By the novelís end, however, Keating is a weak and alcoholic nobody ..."   ??
I don't think you intended to insult Luke as much as it appears that you did.


I was thinking more of the clothes-horse Peter Keating, the successful socializer who told Roark that if a client asked him if he played tennis, instead of saying, No, he would swear he did and then learn how -- and do it well. I was thinking of the fact that Luke went from being a fundamentalist Christian to being a fundamentalist Objectivist.

Lindsay Perigo wrote: The idea that he's a Peter Keating is so preposterous I'm wondering if Michael was just trying to be funny. In fact, were it not for his teetotallism, I would unhesitatingly pronounce Luke a Roark.

You just cannot help liking him, can you?  Admittedly, he does not agree with you on everything, yet, you like him.  You would pronounce him Howard Roark.  Ummm.... but Roark was expelled and fired and stole a client, and raped a woman and, well, you know the story.  We know the missing "Vera Dunning" chapters.  I do not expect that we will ever see the missing "Dale Carnegie" chapters where Roark acquires the salesmanship to effectively convince people to meet him halfway on his agenda. Howard Roark laughed pleasantly and said, "Ellsworth, I agree with you that the statue of Dominque looks like it belongs in a whorehouse rather than a church and that is the reason why it would be good for your career as a community leader to look at this from a win-win perspective."
 
Just for the record, Post 1 in this thread was sanctioned with one "5 Atlas Points," meaning -- if I understand this -- that someone with four Atlases clicked the check.  I was very proud of my first Atlas.  The second floored me.  The third took some work.  To have four Atlases, you must one of the True Elite.
 
There is lot more to SOLO than meets the eye -- and a lot of SOLO never meets the eye.  I don't know anything about Luke's trigrams.  I never read the Teetotaling essay before now.  (I agree with it.  One drink makes one drunk.)  I have inferential evidence that there are many individuals of sanctioned status on SOLO who assert and suggest a wide range of discrete truths, not all of which can be integrated into an officially sanctioned SOLO canon, even as most of those truths do, indeed, derive from the fundamentals of Objectivism and affirm a positive sense of life.




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Post 10

Tuesday, July 5, 2005 - 2:47pmSanction this postReply
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Michael, your 5 bonk was not me, although I did get a good belly-laugh out of that post. I even thought about bonking it, but decided not to because of the polemic (also, I can still imagine the look on Luke's face when he read the Keating remark - LOLOLOL...). Anyway, you were already bonked when I showed up, so you are now condemned to speculating on who your 5 bonker is.

Michael




Post 11

Wednesday, July 6, 2005 - 11:16amSanction this postReply
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Wasn't me either.  I tried out my bonker on the colonel and its only worth 4 points.  Guess I'm a weenie too.   ;-)



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