I just finished a very engaging book, Richard Stengel's You're Too Kind: A Brief History of Flattery. I wish I'd had this book as a resource when I was writing my first book, Power Money Fame Sex.
It's a treasure trove of anecdotes and observations about flattery - a topic which comes up with some frequency when you're writing about money, power, fame, and sex.
The book is history and social criticism, but at the end, Stengel includes a list called "How to flatter without getting caught."
To put flattery in a happier context, I adapted his list to focus on giving good praise rather than flattery. Now, what's the difference between flattery and praise? Flattery is strategic; it's praise given for a self-serving reason. But many of the same rules apply:
1. Be specific. Vague praise doesn't make much of an impression.
2. Find a way to praise sincerely. It's a rare situation where you can't identify something that you honestly find praiseworthy.
3. Never offer praiseRead More »from Nine tips for giving memorable praise--and why to bother