My wife Carrie and would like to think that we care about people. I believe relationships and connections are how we get what we want in life. As Carrie said in the end of my last book:

"The secret to getting everything you want at work and in life is treating people well, not trying to get everything you want. Meet the right people, listen well, connect, and inspire them, and they'll want to give you everything that you want. They'll want to do this so badly, you won't even need to ask."

The more people who get this point and live by it, the better for everyone. Relationships aren't zero-sum. We all live better when we relate and help each other.

That's why I share, a lot, in my book The Art of People and through articles online. People skills give you access to the secret that Carrie described.

You can learn these skills. Everyone can. I wrote the book to help people develop them. And it's why the book isn't a bunch of theory. I end every chapter with First Action Steps to Take, so you can put the skills to practice.

The Art of People has been described as How to Win Friends and Influence People for today's world, but even How to Win Friends doesn't have clear, actionable First Action Steps to Take. Almost no book does.

That's why I was so pleasantly surprised by Joshua Spodek's new book, Leadership Step by Step: Become the Person Others Follow. I previously wrote about how he wrote 70 gratitude emails and the positive results he got from it, in "Broaden and Deepen Your Network Using This Simple Hack."

His book also does what few books do: he gives clear, actionable instructions to put into practice each principle he describes. So you don't just learn theory from him, you improve your life.

When Joshua, a fellow columnist, met me at my office, it was clear how he came to write similar to me. He likes people. He's interested and interesting. And he didn't start social, like some people do. He had to learn the skills through practice.

He lives by his principles--as exemplified by writing the gratitude emails. Many people hear about such exercises. Few do them. Fewer still do them thoroughly, reflect afterward, and share their experiences for others to benefit from.

Leadership Step by Step contains 20 chapters, each teaching skills in people and personal skills, in 4 units:

  1. Understand Yourself
  2. Lead Yourself
  3. Understand Others
  4. Lead Others

Each chapter has a stop sign next to the words, "Stop reading. Put the book down and do the exercise," along with a checklist of what to do. Each chapter is based on an exercise to develop a skill. First it tells a story that shows how the skill appears in life, then it tells you the exercise to develop the skill (followed by the stop sign), then it reviews and reflects on the exercise.

Joshua teaches the same material to top students at New York University, as well as independently on his online site, and you can see Joshua's experience in leading hundreds of people through the exercises. I could see how he came to write a book with a similar structure to The Art of People with complementary content. Beyond most authors, you can see Joshua's experience doing the exercises himself. His passion for his material shows in his life and writing.

FAST First Action Steps to Take:

  1. Review Leadership Step by Step's Amazon page. Read the reviews and excerpts to see if the book is right for you.
  2. If it is, get a copy.
  3. Read it.
  4. Do its exercises.