Treating People Well : The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life
Overview - A guide to personal and professional empowerment through civility and social skills, written by two White House Social Secretaries who offer an important fundamental message--everyone is important and everyone deserves to be treated well. Read more...
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More About Treating People Well by Lea Berman; Jeremy Berman
A guide to personal and professional empowerment through civility and social skills, written by two White House Social Secretaries who offer an important fundamental message--everyone is important and everyone deserves to be treated well.
Former White House social secretaries Lea Berman, who worked for George and Laura Bush, and Jeremy Bernard, who worked for Michelle and Barack Obama, have written an entertaining and uniquely practical guide to personal and professional success in modern life. Their daily experiences at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue taught them valuable lessons about how to work productively with people from different walks of life and points of view. These Washington insiders share what they've learned through first person examples of their own glamorous (and sometimes harrowing) moments with celebrities, foreign leaders and that most unpredictable of animals--the American politician.
This book is for you if you feel unsure of yourself in social settings, if you'd like to get along more easily with others, or if you want to break through to a new level of cooperation with your boss and coworkers. They give specific advice for how to exude confidence even when you don't feel it, ways to establish your reputation as an individual whom people like, trust, and want to help, and lay out the specific social skills still essential to success - despite our increasingly digitized world. Jeremy and Lea prove that social skills are learned behavior that anyone can acquire, and tell the stories of their own unlikely paths to becoming the social arbiters of the White House, while providing tantalizing insights into the character of the first ladies and presidents they served.
This is not a book about old school etiquette; they explain the things we all want to know, like how to walk into a roomful of strangers and make friends, what to do about a difficult colleague who makes you dread coming to work each day, and how to navigate the sometimes-treacherous waters of social media in a special chapter on "Virtual Manners." For lovers of White House history, this is a treasure of never-before-published anecdotes from the authors and their fellow former social secretaries as they describe pearl-clutching moments with presidents and first ladies dating back to the Johnson administration.
The authors make a case for the importance of a return to treating people well in American political life, maintaining that democracy cannot be sustained without public civility. Foreword by Laura Bush
Do unto others
Think your job is difficult? Imagine being the White House social secretary—and no, it’s not all flowers and teacups. You play host to thousands every year, risk insulting world leaders with a small misstep, and your bosses are the president and first lady of the United States. In Treating People Well, former social secretaries Lea Berman, who served the George W. Bush White House, and Jeremy Bernard, who served the Obama White House, share their stories. Berman and Bernard are good friends, and they are often asked, “How could two people from such disparate political viewpoints find anything to agree on?” Their answer: “We stay connected out of a fundamental belief that we both want what’s best for our country and that we can . . . get there by working together.”
Part memoir, part career guide, Treating People Well sorts Berman’s and Bernard’s experiences into social principles such as “listen first, talk later” and “own your mistakes,” then details their own failures and successes. Bernard almost crossed the line when joking too familiarly in front of staffers and the Obamas, and Berman recounts calamities early in her tenure, such as mistakenly combining the enormous White House Congressional picnic with a PBS concert one summer evening. Each chapter offers common-sense guidance for finding success in both personal and professional relationships and navigating social settings with grace.
Berman and Bernard also sprinkle in anecdotes about other presidents, first ladies and their staffs, including the Reagan, Carter, Eisenhower, Roosevelt and even Washington administrations. Occasionally these anecdotes feel shoehorned to fit the book’s principles, but the book’s theme—treat others well, and you’ll do well, too—is more needed than ever.
This article was originally published in the January 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.