Book Review – Worth a sniff – but hardly the dog’s gonads

Cover-of-Top-Dog-book

Top Dog – Impress and Influence Everyone You Meet

By Richard Ruttle and Andy Bounds

This is an odd one. A brisk read (I knocked it off in an evening and a bit) it combines sales basics (the old “have a firm but not too firm handshake” routine) through to the genuinely useful (a proposal template that I might be using over the weekend) with some concepts that left me feeling very uncomfortable.

Oh yes. And some stories about one of the authors’ dogs.

It has the feel of a few blogs strung together with a canine theme.

This use of the dogs as a loose motif that runs through the book is a bit tedious. You know when someone starts telling you about their kids and you’re actually pretty interested for the first two minutes, but 20 minutes later you want to shoot yourself? Well this book is the equivalent of that at times. But I guess they needed a ‘hook’.

The basic premise (beyond the dogs) is that to impress and influence people you have to demonstrate you are their equal. So there’s a degree of basic assertiveness in here too.

Some of the ideas don’t sit well with me – I believe thanking someone for their time is basic good manners. The authors think its a sign of subservience. Make your own choice on that one.

Other suggestions make more sense , such as insisting on a clear brief before offering to submit a proposal. And the proposal template probably justifies the cover price for this slim volume.

You certainly don’t need to be a salesperson to get something out of this book. Indeed freelancers and small business owners who are forced to do the occasional bit of selling might be the best target audience. Which makes it strange that the authors suggest sending in one of your subordinates to subsequent meetings if your contact delegates ongoing negotiations to her subordinates. This, we are told, will maintain your parity of power with the original contact.

I’m wavering between two or three stars out of five on this one. It’s not terrible but nor is it groundbreaking and it certainly isn’t going to change anyone’s life. But you might get one or two useful tips and you won’t waste too much time finding them.

So that’s a three out of five for brevity.