Author: Alan Alda,

Publisher: Random House,

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8914-4


Alan Alda, author of If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on my Face? is a huge Hollywood actor. Alan has won Emmy’s, an Academy Award, written and directed numerous films (The Aviator) and PBS series, as well as, starred on Broadway. (2017) He is one of my favorite television and movie personalities and I am honored to read and review his book. He loves science and has helped scientists, engineers, and other professionals learn how to communicate with the everyday people through his groundbreaking studies in communication and lessons on what does and does not work. For years he was the darling doctor, Hawkeye Pierce, on the television series M.A.S.H.. He has been on numerous other televisions series as guest actor and was in 2014 named fellow of the American Physical Society. Alan is a visiting professor at Stony Brook University in their communications department.

Alan Alda talks about how he felt he knew how to communicate pretty well from his acting experience and his comedy improve training. However, as he embarked on his PBS television series Scientific American Frontiers, The Human Spark, and Trial he learned what little he knew on the topic of communication. This sparked his thirst to learn all he could about the dynamics of human interaction and communication which is the basis for this book.

Alan considers his first television interview on Scientific America with a man who developed solar panels with a tinge of guilt for not doing his homework beforehand and for not understanding completely what this show might entail. However, he learned a lot from that experience and moved on to become an incredible interviewer and custodian for the world of science and how best to communicate those sometimes difficult to understand terms and concepts to the regular viewer so they can find as much delight and inspiration as the scientist and engineer do.

This book is filled with time tested communication games and examples to help move groups of unconnected people toward active listening and true understanding of what is being said. The spoken word is filled with subtle and sometimes not so subtle cues that can teach us what we hope to learn or befuddle us beyond our wildest dreams. IT should be the express desire of all of us to become the best communicators we can be.

This book goes past simply paying attention and being alert to the people we come into contact with. It teaches us how we can see and read emotions with great accuracy via practice, how to be more empathetic and understanding, how to pick up on non-verbal cues regardless of gender, deciphering the real messages between one another, and more. All of these techniques can get us better results as communicators and listeners.

I taught Business Communication to junior and senior level students at the University of Memphis in Memphis, TN and would have enjoyed using some of these games to help my students become more adept at the art of and science behind communication. I enjoyed this book and believe you will too!