The Turn On: How the Powerful Make Us Like Them—from Washington to Wall Street to Hollywood

Harper Business. Oct. 2019. 368p. ISBN 9780062911698. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062911711. PSYCH
Goldstein’s background as a congressional lawyer, television producer, activist, and communications adviser has provided him ample opportunity to study the construct of likability. Here he shares his understanding of how public figures in the fields of politics, entertainment, or business become admired, focusing on personalities that exercise influence over society. The author distills likability into eight characteristics, each accompanied by three subtraits, all which interact to raise or lower one’s appeal quotient, all while demonstrating how each characteristic relates to the next. For instance, captivation along with its subtraits of passion, presence, and erudition form the foundation of appreciation. Drawing on historical and current events, Goldstein explains how public figures improve their ratings, how scandal tarnishes one’s reputation, and why some people bounce back while others never recover. He further describes how personalities can be surprisingly likable in spite of their irritating qualities. The final chapter details how readers can improve their own likability. Hundreds of endnotes strengthen the author’s statements.
VERDICT References to present-day events improve readers’ understanding of the author’s thesis and the work’s timely relevance. Highly recommended.
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