Plain talk with a dollop of crassness
Business leaders are not known to be shrinking violets, at least if they aspire to greatness.
For those in need of assistance, some may be found in 7 Secrets of Confidence, by Steve Miller.
While full of practical advice, the book is decidedly at the bargain-basement end of the self-help genre.
It is full of practical advice and includes a three-week plan to build your confidence.
Mr Miller writes in a blokey, plainspoken manner, with a dollop of crassness.
The soaring exaltations of Dale Carnegie it is not.
With such a gutsy title, at once evoking forbidden knowledge and the seven deadly sins, the book requires a serious test.
If the book can make you feel confident there, it can work anywhere, one imagines.
Unfortunately, the book is a chore to read. It quickly falls into a predictable pattern. First, some well-meaning advice.
Then, a series of hypnotic scripts to help you to put that advice into practice. And finally, a slew of case studies showing just how easy it is to become confident. The advice itself is not bad.
The seven secrets in question include various forms of relaxation, mind games, and mirroring the confident habits of others.
They also range to the more esoteric, such as urging men to wear makeup and self-hypnosis.
One can hardly help cringing at exhortations to "become a confidence coach" or "find a confidence captain".
Persevering, by the end of the trip to Lebanon, this mild-mannered Brit was feeling sufficiently confident to wear his shirt with as many as four buttons undone.
But then again, everyone in Beirut is doing that nowadays.
In the meantime, the book does a tolerable job in self-reflection and letting go of fears and worries.
But the reader must have a strong tolerance for the kitsch.
Updated: September 4, 2013 04:00 AM