Reviews – Little green book of getting your own way

Book: Little Green Book of Getting Your Way: How to Speak, Write, Present, Persuade, Influence, and Sell Your Point of View to Others by Jeffrey Gitomer

Although technically this book is both little and green, don’t be lulled into thinking reading it will be a restful experience. Even before you open it, the hard cover – with its embossed gold lettering – conveys a clear message that appearance matters. Inside, glossy pages, colour printing, large and varied fonts demand your attention. This is a book that won’t tolerate being ignored; it wants its own way from the start and makes it clear that those who don’t agree with its basic premise needn’t bother reading it. One of the many big bold headings shouts: ‘Persuasion and getting your own way are selling… get over it’. The author goes on to explain, ‘if you don’t think you employ sales tactics and sales strategies in every facet of your life, you need to change your thinking before you continue reading, or this book will do you no good.’ Got that?

Jeffrey Gitomer is unapologetically egocentric; his name appears regularly as he attributes all the important quotes in the book to himself. The words ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘my’ dominate (although a heading on page 172 does declare ‘Less about me…’). He is the expert, you are the reader. He is proud of the way he writes with authority, of using big red fonts on presentation slides, of using bold and capitals to emphasise each point he considers important, and of not caring about grammar and punctuation. ‘Teachers of grammar would not give me a passing grade. I could [sic] care less. I’ve sold a million books. How many have they sold?’

If you lack self-confidence, this book has an excess, and it may rub off on you. It’s brimming with the stuff, like every good salesman should be. Softer skills don’t get a look in; this is a traditionally masculine piece of work. No waffle, no introspection, no tolerance of imperfection. Questions are regularly fired at the reader, then answered with unwavering certainty; instructions are clear and leave no room for doubt or misinterpretation.

The master plan for getting your own way is divided into 9.5 elements. A lot of things in this book are presented in lists that end in point five, and there are 2.5 reasons for this; reason 2.5 is that ‘it sets me apart from all other list makers (except for the few that copy me)’. These elements are detailed in a table of contents, then broken down further in an expanded table of contents.

This is useful, as it allows you to dip in and out, which is highly recommended. Longer exposure could cause more sensitive readers to require some quiet time in a darkened room.

Irene Krechowiecka is a careers coach and journalist