This book is the result of a lifetime of fascination with human behavior.

“The world would be a wonderful place if it weren't for people,” exhaled my father. He had just dealt with an unhappy customer who, in my father's words, “didn't just chew my ass out; he chewed around it and let it drop out.”

I must have heard my father—who had a flair for both profanity and cliché—utter that first sentence a hundred times growing up. He sold appliances and heating and air-conditioning systems in a sleepy little town in rural Illinois. I learned—first from him, and eventually throughout life—that any job that requires you to make your living satisfying the general public's needs will involve both good days and bad ones.

My dad was a good salesperson and more than competent at building rapport with a wide variety of people. Still, the stress of earning money based on making people happy—people with different expectations and diverse lifestyles—was a constant part of his life. Even as a kid, I was aware of the efforts Dale Mitchell took to build successful relationships. In many ways, long before my education and career choices, the seeds of my interest in human behavior were sewn working in that little store in Greenup, Illinois.

This book is the culmination of years of informal observation, academic research, and career responsibilities both inside the corporate world and as an international speaker, author, and consultant. It also contains my personal opinions, based on practical ...

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