A few very clever people can turn a simple truth into a career. Sam Horn is one of them. Walking the well-worn path trod by Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People), Horn — who is a she, by the way — has crafted a useful little handbook for anyone in the business of communication. Got Your Attention? is a user-friendly, latter-day updating of Carnegie’s 1936 classic. It’s more in tune with today’s impatient strivers. And the world would be a whole lot better place if everyone read this book and heeded Horn’s call to listen more and talk less.

In the field of fundraising — my specialty for three decades — it’s often said, “If you want advice, ask for money. If you want money, ask for advice.” Although she never touches on this particular point, Horn makes this lesson clear enough in her clever little handbook.

Got Your Attention? How to Create Intrigue and Connect with Anyone by Sam Horn @@@@ (4 out of 5)

Sam Horn loves mnemonic devices. The word “intrigue” in the subtitle is an acronym that sums up the contents of the book:

  • I: “Craft an INTRO that has people at hello.”
  • N: “Create the next NEW thing.”
  • T: “Win trust by being TIME-EFFICIENT.”
  • R: “If they can’t REPEAT it, they didn’t get it.”
  • I: “Don’t just inform, INTERACT.”
  • G: “GIVE attention first.”
  • U: “If it isn’t actionable, it isn’t USEFUL.”
  • E: “Don’t tell stories, share real-life EXAMPLES.”

There’s a great deal of wisdom in all this advice, and it’s all presented in snappy, conversational style. Several other acronyms appear in the book — perhaps a few too many. However, as the author states at the outset, “there are ways to overcome people’s impatience, alienation, and chronic distraction, and this book teaches them.” Amen.

Sam Horn, who bills herself as “the Intrigue Expert,” has written nine other books on the art of effective communication (although I don’t recall coming across that word in this book!). Got Your Attention? is a worthy addition to the narrow shelf of personal development books that are actually worth the paper they’re printed on.

For additional reading

Like to read books about business? Check out My 10 favorite books about business history.

If you enjoy reading nonfiction in general, you might also enjoy:

And you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, plus a guide to this whole site, on the Home Page.