If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • Award-winning actor Alan Alda tells the fascinating story of his quest to learn how to communicate better, and to teach others to do the same. With his trademark humor and candor, he explores how to develop empathy as the key factor. Alan Alda has been on a decades-long journey to discover new ways to help people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? is the warm, witty, and informative chronicle of how Alda found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods. His search began when he was host of PBS's Scientific American Frontiers, where he interviewed thousands of scientists and developed a knack for helping them communicate complex ideas in ways a wide audience could understand—and Alda wondered if those techniques held a clue to better communication for the rest of us. In his wry and wise voice, Alda reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, when an absence of understanding resulted in problems both big and small. He guides us through his discoveries, showing how communication can be improved through learning to relate to the other person: listening with our eyes, looking for clues in another's face, using the power of a compelling story, avoiding jargon, and reading another person so well that you become "in sync" with them, and know what they are thinking and feeling—especially when you're talking about the hard stuff. Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. Exploring empathy-boosting games and exercises, If I Understood You is a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives—with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond."Alda uses his trademark humor and a well-honed ability to get to the point, to help us all learn how to leverage the better communicator inside each of us."—Forbes"Communicating is at the heart of connectedness. Alda, with his laudable curiosity, has learned something you and I can use right now."—Charlie Rose "Sit back and enjoy Alan Alda's scientific journey of communication."—Barbara Walters
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    Street Date:
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        • value: Assertiveness
        • value: Humor
        • value: Business
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        • value: empathy
        • value: Public Speaking
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        • value: confidence
        • value: Social Skills
        • value: self-help
        • value: improv
        • value: communication skills
        • value: self help
        • value: communication
        • value: interpersonal communication
        • value: self help books
        • value: nonverbal communication
        • value: Leadership
        • value: Improvisation
        • value: Sociology
        • value: Conversation
        • value: how to communicate
        • value: Communicating at Work
        • value: people skills
        • value: business books
        • value: acting methods
        • value: in sync
        • value: relating to others
        • value: self improvement books
        • value: books about business
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        • bioText: Alan Alda has earned international recognition as an actor, writer, and director. He has won seven Emmy Awards, received three Tony nominations, is an inductee of the Television Hall of Fame, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator. Alda played Hawkeye Pierce on the classic television series M*A*S*H, and his films include Crimes and Misdemeanors, Everyone Says I Love You, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Bridge of Spies, and many more. Alda is an active member of the science community, having hosted the award-winning series Scientific American Frontiers for eleven years and founded the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. Alda is the author of two bestselling books, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned and Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself.
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    If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?
    fullDescription
    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • Award-winning actor Alan Alda tells the fascinating story of his quest to learn how to communicate better, and to teach others to do the same. With his trademark humor and candor, he explores how to develop empathy as the key factor.
    Alan Alda has been on a decades-long journey to discover new ways to help people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? is the warm, witty, and informative chronicle of how Alda found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods. His search began when he was host of PBS's Scientific American Frontiers, where he interviewed thousands of scientists and developed a knack for helping them communicate complex ideas in ways a wide audience could understand—and Alda wondered if those techniques held a clue to better communication for the rest of us.
    In his wry and wise voice, Alda reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, when an absence of understanding resulted in problems both big and small. He guides us through his discoveries, showing how communication can be improved through learning to relate to the other person: listening with our eyes, looking for clues in another's face, using the power of a compelling story, avoiding jargon, and reading another person so well that you become "in sync" with them, and know what they are thinking and feeling—especially when you're talking about the hard stuff.
    Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. Exploring empathy-boosting games and exercises, If I Understood You is a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives—with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond.
    "Alda uses his trademark humor and a well-honed ability to get to the point, to help us all learn how to leverage the better communicator inside each of us."—Forbes
    "Communicating is at the heart of connectedness. Alda, with his laudable curiosity, has learned something you and I can use right now."—Charlie Rose
    "Sit back and enjoy Alan Alda's scientific journey of communication."—Barbara Walters
  • reviews
        • premium: True
        • source: Publisher's Weekly
        • content:

          April 3, 2017
          Veteran actor and director Alda (Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself) turns his attention to the world of social science in this breezy overview of work conducted at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York. Citing the center’s research, he explains how improvisational games, empathy exercises, and storytelling tools can help anyone get better at communicating, listening, and relating everywhere “from the boardroom to the bedroom.” Though widely associated with his role on the TV show MASH, Alda also hosted Scientific American Frontiers on PBS for 11 years, and he writes as enthusiastically about his experience with educational programming as he does about the scientists who teach the art of empathy to autistic children and medical doctors, among other subjects. Readers expecting healthy doses of Alda’s signature dry wit, however, might be disappointed. Other than a riff about his dentist and the occasional throwaway joke, he’s all business here. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM.

        • premium: True
        • source: Kirkus
        • content:

          April 1, 2017
          A distinguished actor and communication expert shows how to avoid "the snags of misunderstanding" that plague verbal interactions between human beings.When Alda (Things I Overhead While Talking to Myself, 2007, etc.) first began hosting the PBS series Scientific American Frontiers in 1993, he had no idea how much the job would change his life. In the 20 years that followed, he developed an enduring fascination with "trying to figure out what makes communication work." As a TV show host who interviewed scientists and engineers, Alda became painfully aware of his own shortcomings as a communicator and how his background as an actor could help him improve. In the first section of the book, he discusses how effective communication requires listening with ears, eyes, and feelings wide open. Drawing from research, interactions with science professionals, and his work as an actor, Alda reveals how individuals who aren't "naturally good" communicators can learn to become more adept by practicing their overall relating skills. He describes activities like the "mirror exercise," in which partners observe and mimic each other's actions and speech. Not only do people learn how to focus on each other, but they also "strengthen cohesion and promote cooperation" in groups. In the second section, Alda, who founded the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, points out the importance of empathy in communication. He discusses, among others, an exercise that forced him to name the feelings he saw others express. Raising awareness of emotion increases empathy levels, which can trigger the release of oxytocin, the feel-good "love hormone." By adding emotion to communication, using storytelling, avoiding jargon, and eliminating the assumption that others share the same knowledge base, message senders can forge closer bonds with recipients. The book's major strength comes from Alda's choice to take an interprofessional approach and avoid offering prescriptive methods to enhance interpersonal understanding. As he writes, communication "is a dance we learn by trusting ourselves to take the leap, not by mechanically following a set of rules." A sharp and informative guide to communication.

          COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

        • premium: True
        • source: Library Journal
        • content:

          May 1, 2017

          Today, we have more ways to communicate than ever before, but how well are we actually communicating? As founder of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, the beloved actor and author helps researchers learn essential skills that can help them communicate their work to a wider audience. The center also trains health-care professionals, with the aim of improving their relationships with patients. It's not only scientific concepts that need clarification; the content of our daily lives can be better expressed and understood. Alda utilizes methods that he has learned at the center and through his work as an actor to explore how we can become better listeners and communicators. Drawing on a range of scientific and social science research, as well as his work in improvisation and directing, Alda outlines the steps and missteps in relating to other people in productive, meaningful ways. VERDICT Alda brings a distinct perspective with his trademark warmth and humor. As he addresses current popular themes in general nonfiction, readers can imagine his voice and expressions in recounting his experiences, making this book's content even more welcoming.--Meagan Storey, Virginia Beach

          Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Alan Alda, the award-winning actor and bestselling author, tells us the fascinating story of his quest to learn how to communicate better, and to teach others to do the same. With his trademark humor and candor, he explores how to develop empathy as the key factor.
    Alan Alda has been on a decades-long journey to discover new ways to help people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? is the warm, witty, and informative chronicle of how Alda found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods. His search began when he was host of PBS's Scientific American Frontiers, where he interviewed thousands of scientists and developed a knack for helping them communicate complex ideas in ways a wide audience could understand—and Alda wondered if those techniques held a clue to better communication for the rest of us.
    In his wry and wise voice, Alda...
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