Gossip: Ten Pathways to Eliminate It From Your Life and Transform Your Soul

Gossip: Ten Pathways to Eliminate It From Your Life and Transform Your Soul

By Lori Palatnik and Bob Burg
Reviewed by John David Mann

"The authors, quite sincere and dedicated...tell us how to expunge gossip from our lives in order to live in a 'gossip-free world, or at least a gossip-free environment.' The authors refer to many Biblical laws regarding speech and tell how these laws relate to us today. Reading such, we may be chastened and led down the path to redemption. If not, those who 'speak evil' will develop skin lesions similar to leprosy, according to the Good Book. Yikes! Well, although I have the occasional itch, I hope I'm not en route to leprosy. I try to behave reasonably, in print and out. But maybe I better put in a call to my dermatologist."

There you have it: If this lady says authors Palatnik and Burg are worth the read, you want to sit up and take notice: the above is excerpted from a review in the New York Post, August 4, 2002, by Liz Smith, the First Lady of Gossip.

Networking Times readers are familiar with Burg, master networker and author of the invaluable books, Winning Without Intimidation and Endless Referrals: Robert also pens our "Networking" column every issue.

Burg and co-author Palatnik, a noted author, educator and speaker on Judaism and host of the Toronto television show The Jewish Journal, draw on the rich heritage of Jewish story-telling, combined with modern-day vignettes to illustrate the points, and sprinkled with a liberal seasoning of quotations from famous personalities of all stripes, to create a little something that is both charming and compelling.

So, why are we reviewing a book on gossip in a magazine devoted to networking? Well...the answer is in the question, isn't it?

We are the word-of-mouth marketing business, the person-to-person, friends-telling- friends, power-of-the-tongue industry.

In a word, we talk. Boy, do we talk. And in so doing, we change the world. (At least, we certainly think we are doing so, and who is to say our descendants will not look back in 100 years and agree?) By the power of our personal testimony over the backyard fences of the coffeshop, telephone and Internet, we spread the word, and we do it more effectively than the priciest Super Bowl ad or most bloated direct mail campaign.

And...sad to say, we are also really good at spreading that other word.

"You're with which company...? Really? You know what I heard about their comp plan...product line...president...?"

In my seventeen years in this industry, I have seen more lives positively transformed, more people set free of various types and sorts of shackles and indignities, and more overall ingenuity, productivity and positive esprit de corps than in any other venue - and, to be truthful, also more instances of...yes, gossip.

If there's a Bible within arm's reach, grab it and check out what James has to say about the power of the human tongue (James 3:1 ff.) "Look at ships: although they are huge, driven by fierce winds, they can be turned by this teeny tiny rudder in whatever direction the pilot chooses. That's the power of the tongue...." This man ought to know: he was involved in some pretty powerful networking circles and saw both sides of the word-of-mouth coin. (In fact, he ended up being hurled off the Temple wall and stoned to death because of stuff people said in their first-century version of the telephone game.)

Obi Wan told Luke that the power of The Force could be used for great good, or for great evil. Since we are the Jedi Knights of this particular Force, it's a lesson we urgently need to know. Palatnik and Burg make a great Obi Wan.

Paperback, 149 pages
$9.95, Simcha Press. ISBN 0-7573-0055-3.

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