Put Your Best Foot Forward: Make a Great Impression by Taking Control of How Others See You

Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, Author, Mark Mazzarella, Joint Author Scribner Book Company $24 (320p) ISBN 978-0-684-86406-8
Dimitrius, a jury selection consultant in such high profile cases as those of Rodney King and O.J. Simpson, and a familiar guest on the talk show circuit along with her trial lawyer colleague Mazzarella (both coauthors of Reading People), present a self-help book intended to teach readers to ""manage"" the impression they create through attention to appearance, body language, speech and their personal space. Despite the topic's commercial potential and the utility of some of their findings (they interviewed thousands of people and reviewed the scientific and popular literature), the writing is deadly earnest, dull and often dated. Dimitrius and Mazzarella urge readers to display trustworthiness, caring, humility and capability in order to make a good impression, though their advice is undercut by their often preachy tone. In addition, the discussion of how to cultivate these ""compass qualities"" implies a certain degree of calculation. Steps to making a successful impression include studying one's behavior on videotape, thorough preparation for each encounter and eliminating traits the authors deem toxic, such as offensive physical acts, insensitive communication and pettiness. Citing research on the impact of physical attractiveness, they offer guidelines for personal grooming and creating a wardrobe that owe more to old-fashioned ""Dress for Success"" rules than to casual contemporary style (recommendations for professional attire include dark blue suits for men and women). These polished people-readers would do well to add humor and practicality to their portfolio of desirable traits. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-684-86407-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-671-04791-7
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