The Confidence Course

Walter Anderson, Author
Walter Anderson, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22 (237p) ISBN 978-0-06-018729-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-694-51782-4
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-06-109453-8
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In 1994, Anderson (Read with Me), the longtime editor of Parade magazine, created a seven-week course for Manhattan's New School for Social Research that taught communication skills for public speaking and for one-on-one interaction. Here, he expertly adapts the course to book form, offering a reference manual for dealing with emotional issues from overcoming shyness to using fear, worry and anger to one's advantage. He encourages readers to work through the material in orderly fashion, performing assigned exercises as if in a classroom. Readers learn to apply many simple techniques as Anderson guides them through activities ranging from storytelling to comforting the bereaved. A listing of ""Seven Steps to Self-Fulfillment"" presents Anderson's overview for a living a happy, self-confident life. Specific ways of realizing the steps are found in 21 ""Challenges,"" which are met through such lessons as ""Two Steps to Worrying Well,"" ""Six Ways to Have a Conversation"" and ""Seven Steps to Taking Risks."" The inspiration for the course and this book comes from Anderson's military days, when a drill instructor renamed an obstacle course a ""confidence course"" in order to teach young recruits that ""obstacles are an opportunity to gain confidence."" Anderson provides his own carefully constructed obstacle course here, one designed to build self-confidence through well-prepared and rehearsed--and therefore effective--communication. (Feb.)
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