Date: August 6, 2011

Author: JT

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What I’ve Read Lately: You Can’t Not Communicate 2

“YOU CAN’T NOT COMMUNICATE ^2”
By: David Grossman
ISBN: 978-0-615-45175-6

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The title is a mouthful.  Incredibly true.  But a mouthful. So I will refer to “You Can’t Not Communicate ^2” as ‘the book’ or YCNC2.  Beyond the clear message conveyed by the title, communication, let me say this is the most beautifully produced book I have seen in years.

By eyeball estimate, perhaps 40% of the book’s pages contain a picture or other graphic illustration. Most of the rest have a picture on the opposing page. Page by page, the reader is regaled with splendid artwork.  It truly is a masterpiece of graphic artistry.

Great.  The challenge is, with more artwork than I’ve seen since one of my children’s 1st grade reading books, I found it very distracting from the core message.  The typical page has 4 different fonts (not counting page #), frequently 5 or 6, and it’s not hard to find pages with as many as 7 different fonts.  All laid across pages full of underlying imagery.

It pains me to be critical of such a beautifully crafted piece of art.  The team that created it has a right to be proud of their artistry.  But this isn’t a coffee table book.  Someone should have said, Enough! Those interested in learning more about effective corporate communication; old enough to appreciate its importance; are also able to ‘get the picture’ without (literally) so many pictures, fonts, break-out boxes, sidebars… I’m done.  You get the idea.

Communication is about balance, after all.

The person I might suggest read this book, is an up-and-coming manager interested in improving their internal corporate communications.  Across it’s 199 pages, David Grossman does an excellent job calling out an incredibly broad range of things to think about.

The range of topics includes:

  • Return you can expect from effective communication
  • Meeting employees’ needs
  • Common myths leaders believe
  • Deadly sins of leadership
  • Two-Way communication strategies
  • Communicating with millennials
  • Body language

Grossman’s simply introducing the aspiring manager or leader to these topics has significant value in and of itself.  One of life’s battles is simply knowing what opportunities are even available to you.  If you aren’t aware an opportunity exists you cannot decide whether or not to take advantage of it.

One of life’s battles is simply knowing what opportunities are even available to you.

It took me a bit of thinking, to figure out why it took me weeks to finish this book; reading 3 others along the way.  Then, it occurred to me.

None of the topics introduced delve into (what I considered) significant depth.  Combined with the layout issues discussed previously, the book had a feeling of being ‘chunked.’  It felt as though I had gone to an event with 100 different hors d’oeuvres.  A lavish arrangement of food samplings, perhaps organized by chapter, yet not giving you the satisfaction of a formal meal.

The conclusion I came to, is that this book best serves as a marketing tool for The Grossman Group.  It certainly gives you the impression that Grossman knows his stuff.  But you’re not going to get any red meat on your plate unless you hire him.

(disclaimer: Book provided for review without remuneration)

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