Books: Three of a kind - Add value to your conversation

THE FINE ART OF SMALL TALK

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

A book with a laudable aim - to transform those 'Good weekend?' conversations into something more meaningful. Fine's message is clear: listen, take an interest in people, have something to say. One warning about the text, though: it's a little simplistic. Any readers who need to be told that 'fondling body parts' during a conversation is a bad idea may require more help than this book can provide.***

Debra Fine Piatkus £7.99

HOW TO BE MORE INTERESTING

The master of lateral thinking gives us a collection of brain exercises that if worked through properly will have you coming out in a sweat. De Bono alludes to the 'playground' of the mind, but this is more of a workhouse. Nevertheless, hard work never harmed anyone, and if you have the staying power, this could be a winner.**

Edward de Bono Penguin £8.99

HOW TO TALK TO ANYONE

Lowndes' 'little tricks for big success' range from the commonplace to the deeply Machiavellian. She's big on body language and advises brushing up your 'flooding' smiles and 'epoxy' eyes. More independent-minded readers will baulk at her conversational techniques: 'echoing' the speaker; agreeing with everything they utter. If you're not careful, you might end up more doormat than listener.*

Leil Lowndes Thorsons £7.99 *** best of its kind ** could be useful * of minor interest none: avoid

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