If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?

My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating

Large Print - 2017
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * Award-winning actor Alan Alda tells the fascinating story of his quest to learn how to communicate better, and to teach others to do the same. With his trademark humor and candor, he explores how to develop empathy as the key factor.

"Invaluable."--Deborah Tannen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of You're the Only One I Can Tell and You Just Don't Understand

Alan Alda has been on a decades-long journey to discover new ways to help people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? is the warm, witty, and informative chronicle of how Alda found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods. His search began when he was host of PBS's Scientific American Frontiers, where he interviewed thousands of scientists and developed a knack for helping them communicate complex ideas in ways a wide audience could understand--and Alda wondered if those techniques held a clue to better communication for the rest of us.

In his wry and wise voice, Alda reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, when an absence of understanding resulted in problems both big and small. He guides us through his discoveries, showing how communication can be improved through learning to relate to the other person: listening with our eyes, looking for clues in another's face, using the power of a compelling story, avoiding jargon, and reading another person so well that you become "in sync" with them, and know what they are thinking and feeling--especially when you're talking about the hard stuff.

Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. Exploring empathy-boosting games and exercises, If I Understood You is a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives--with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond.

"Alda uses his trademark humor and a well-honed ability to get to the point, to help us all learn how to leverage the better communicator inside each of us."-- Forbes

"Alda, with his laudable curiosity, has learned something you and I can use right now."--Charlie Rose
Publisher: New York :, Random House Large Print,, [2017]
Edition: First large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781524781927
Branch Call Number: LP 153.6 Ald
Characteristics: xx, 314 pages : illustrations


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Oct 09, 2018

Brilliant book! Funny, smart and practical. Who knew Alan Alda was such a great writer. Highly recommend it. 5 stars!

Apr 25, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. It is an easy read that offers some fascinating perspectives on relating to others. Highly recommend.

Apr 03, 2018

Read half the book, couldn't get into it.

Sep 21, 2017

A very enjoyable way to brush up on why you, and people you are talking to, may have "that look". Alda's communication center uses many of the techniques that he teaches in this book. They help the reader learn how to communicate ideas to audiences, co-workers, friends, or family members. There are stories to illustrate concepts, exercises you can do on your own, and scientific proof that doing the exercises will improve your communication.

Aug 07, 2017

A readable, funny and insightful book outlining how doctors, lecturers, managers can improve communication skills by strengthening empathy through improvisation exercises. Alda is a good writer and his intelligence as well as his modesty come through as he explains the scientific studies of empathy, how it is measured, enhanced and re-measured in lab settings. The book also describes people's feelings about how their personal and professional interactions became more effective after taking part in improvisation exercise sessions.


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May 27, 2020

Isn’t communication really essential to science? Can you really do science without communication? Will science be funded if the funders can’t understand what they’re supposed to be funding? Will young people choose to study science if they don’t hear from scientists themselves how exciting it is?

May 27, 2020

TAs, as they’re called, are graduate students who are assigned the task of teaching a course to undergraduates. Typically, they know their material extremely well, but they have little or no experience in communicating what they know. This can defeat one of the reasons for having them teach undergraduates in the first place: the hope that they’ll give their students such a fascinating view of biology or physics that undergraduates will be inspired to study those subjects themselves. Too often, though, the undergraduates are scared away by boredom and the frustrating sense that they just don’t get it and never will.

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