The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life


It’s easy to assume that the pressures of our jobs couldn’t get much worse, but imagine this -- what would it be like to oversee social gatherings at The White House? You’re dealing with larger-than-life personalities, visitors from other countries with various expectations and customs, and your boss is… well, the President of the United States. It doesn’t get more intimidating than that. 

The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life

Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life is written by two former White House social secretaries from two different administrations and gives an overarching view of how to use social etiquette in the workplace. As thorny and unpredictable as our lives can be, it will be a relief to know that things aren’t much different concerning high levels of government. Communication is still important. Respecting differences is key. And yes, there is always someone difficult that needs to be handled in a forward-thinking way. 

If you’re looking for advice on how to navigate unruly colleagues or avoid feeling intimidated on the job, Treating People Well deserves a place on your bookshelf.

Here is the summary on Amazon

“A guide to personal and professional empowerment through civility and social skills, written by two White House social secretaries who offer an important fundamental message—everyone is important and everyone deserves to be treated well.

“Former White House social secretaries Lea Berman, who worked for George and Laura Bush, and Jeremy Bernard, who worked for Michelle and Barack Obama, have written an entertaining and uniquely practical guide to personal and professional success in modern life. Their daily experiences at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue taught them valuable lessons about how to work productively with people from different walks of life and points of view. These Washington insiders share what they’ve learned through first person examples of their own glamorous (and sometimes harrowing) moments with celebrities, foreign leaders, and that most unpredictable of animals—the American politician.

“This book is for you if you feel unsure of yourself in social settings, if you’d like to get along more easily with others, or if you want to break through to a new level of cooperation with your boss and coworkers. They give specific advice for how to exude confidence even when you don’t feel it, ways to establish your reputation as an individual whom people like, trust, and want to help, and lay out the specific social skills still essential to success—despite our increasingly digitized world. Jeremy and Lea prove that social skills are learned behaviors that anyone can acquire, and tell the stories of their own unlikely paths to becoming the social arbiters of the White House, while providing tantalizing insights into the character of the first ladies and presidents they served.

“This is not a book about old school etiquette; they explain the things we all want to know, like how to walk into a roomful of strangers and make friends, what to do about a difficult colleague who makes you dread coming to work each day, and how to navigate the sometimes-treacherous waters of social media in a special chapter on ‘Virtual Manners.’ For lovers of White House history, this is a treasure of never-before-published anecdotes from the authors and their fellow former social secretaries as they describe pearl-clutching moments with presidents and first ladies dating back to the Johnson administration.

“The authors make a case for the importance of a return to treating people well in American political life, maintaining that democracy cannot be sustained without public civility.”

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Posted by Mark Jewell