An occasionally-maintained list of links to resources and material related to people skills.  This is a good place to come to if you’ve just heard my “people skills talk” and are looking for more information.

Some of these links point to more detailed posts on my blog, while others point directly to external resources.


Here’s a 30-minute version of the “People Skills” talk I give at user groups and conferences.

6-Point Summary

The 6 most important points that summarize my “People Skills” talk.


Anyone can learn

Blog post: Don’t put yourself in a box based on a personality test (aka Don’t be fooled by Myers-Briggs).

Be yourself – more – with skill. Blog post introducing a great book from Goffee and Jones.

You’ll do best in life if you see yourself as growing, not fixed.  Research-based material by Carol Dweck.

Personality is not fixed, but rather is shaped by the course of your life. Scholarly research by Roberts and Mroczek. The link is to a paid version of their paper.  I can’t remember whether there is a free one elsewhere, or if I paid for mine.

Learned Optimism (the opposite of Learned Helplessness). Classic, ground-breaking, influential and readable book by Martin Seligman. Is a good example of how things that, until recently, were thought to in in-born, are actually changeable.


Blog post: introduction to the book Getting to Yes, including a software industry example.

How to get your ideas said, and help others do likewise

Blog post: Introduction to the book Crucial Conversations. I super-highly recommend this book. If you read only one thing to improve your people skills, this should be it.

Blog posts: introducing the Ladder of inference. And extremely importantly, the mindsets of Unilateral Control versus Mutual Learning from the great work of Chris Argyris, via the book Discussing the Undiscussable.  Note: if you buy Discussing the Undiscussable, get the hard copy not the e-book, because only the hard-copy has the accompanying DVD of filmed examples.

The importance of Argyris’ work is reinforced by this excellent video from Roger Schwartz.  Skip the first 8 minutes if you like, since its just introductions to Dr Schwartz from other people.

Blog post: introducing the book In Good Company, which has a lot to say about stories. (More from the perspective of culture-building than persuasion tho).

Learning skills through practice

Blog post: What is learning?

More on “My People Skills Talk”

I’ve done various versions of “my people skills talk”.  The full version takes about 40 minutes.  Here’s a medium-length one, at about 30 minutes.  (This is the same link as that at the top of this page). It contains most material except the “operating system of the mind” section.


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