People skills are arguably among the most important competencies a person can possess. No other talent or acquired knowledge can fully make up for a deficiency. After all, people do business with people whom they like, they socialize with people whom they like, they vote for people whom they like, and they date, marry, and build families with people whom they like.

This thought is the underlying theme behind The Art of People, a new book by New York Times bestselling author and Inc. columnist Dave Kerpen. Kerpen firmly argues that in today's world, the folks with the best people skills are best equipped to achieve success, and, in fact, succeed more often than others. More importantly, he provides readers with numerous pieces of practical advice as to how to enhance their own people skills in order to improve their rate of success in whatever they decide to pursue. Divided into eleven sections, each of which contains Kerpen's personal anecdotes that illustrate the rationale behind the various advice that he gives, The Art of People provides a wealth of immediately actionable tips that can start delivering benefits from the first time they are put to use.

I have known Kerpen for years, since initially meeting him through the Entrepreneurs' Organization nearly a decade ago. While he is obviously a star both in business and in his domain of social media and marketing, one of his personal strengths that has consistently stood out to me since the day I first met him has been his extraordinary people skills - an observation that that I have heard other CEOs make as well. As you can imagine, therefore, I was excited to hear that he was writing a book in which he planned to essentially share his "secret formula" for achieving this outstanding quality, and The Art of People does not disappoint.

From how to form initial connections, to how to influence people, and even how to change their minds, the book covers situations that every person encounters; many people will even find some pointers that they can apply every day. The book avoids lengthy discussions on theory, instead explaining in layman's terms the basic psychological reasons for various phenomenon, and then delivering practical advice; in some ways the work feels like an updated, more immediately applicable version of Dale Carnegie's magnum opus, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

The skills discussed in The Art of People seem as universal as people skills can get - they apply in some form to people of all ages and backgrounds; in fact, the earlier in life that one masters and applies the skills discussed in the book the more dividends those skills will likely pay him or her. Clear lists at the end of each chapter summarize immediately applicable steps for readers to take - simplifying the process of translating knowledge into action.

Of course, not all of the advice in the book will apply to all people or in all situations, and applying it is not normally as simple as following a formula; there is a reason that the book is entitled "The Art of People," and not "The Science of People." But, clearly, arming oneself in an area of paramount importancewith the knowledge and shared experiences of an expert is a wise idea.

If you believe, as I do, that achieving success, influence, comradery, and love requires understanding people, then you should definitely check out The Art of People by Dave Kerpen.