Persuasion (Photo: HarperCollins)Of all the Dragons on the Canadian version of Dragon’s Den, Arlene is my favourite. So when I saw a copy of her book Persuasion: A New Approach to Changing Minds in paperback and on sale, I snapped it up.

I’m quite fond of business books, even though I don’t really have business-y designs (or even management designs right now – after more than six years as a writer and just under five in management roles, I’m quite happy to take a sharp career shift into something that’s a bit more me. Never say never though. I’m learning not to rule anything out). I think they have important lessons to teach us about leadership, human interaction, smart decisionmaking and the ability to critically evaluate our successes and setbacks.

I find Arlene really inspiring. At 31, as a divorced single mom without a high school diploma, her prospects didn’t look good. But flash-forward a decade and she’s a major marketing CEO. How can you not get inspired by that? Arlene made me feel – at a time where I was scared and doubting my decision to career change and head back to school – like all the risks might just be worth the reward after all.

In particular, I liked her chapters on avoiding the trap of talking ourselves out of success (who hasn’t had that ‘I’m not good enough’ voice pop into their head from time to time? I know I have) and on the qualities of honesty, authenticity and listening.

There’s not a lot of newness in this book – and to be perfectly fair, a lot of Arlene’s concepts involve a relatively common-sense approach to thinking and problem-solving – but it’s delivered in a frank, accessible and inspiring way with plenty of personal anecdotes. I found that this was a case of reading the right book at the right time. I’m so glad I picked it up.


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