I want to buy Samuel Culbert a drink, if it'll just keep him talking. Culbert offers a fun, fast tour of the minefield of workplace communication, particularly that of the bullsh*t variety. Dead-on examples support good discussions of distinctions, such as truth-telling vs. straight talk and bullsh*t vs. lying, and phenomena such as the rare "burst of honesty."
What is bullsh*t, exactly? Well, it can take obvious forms, such as name-dropping and credential flaunting, but it also can move onto harder-to-detect, hit-and-run agenda obscuring. Bottom line, and really no surprise: As often as not, the decision drivers in the workplace are self-interests, not organization interests. So what exactly is straight talk? It's power sharing, acknowledging, and offering the truth-as-I-see-it perspective. It recognizes context and the fact that perception is reality. Culbert offers suggestions for cultivating straight-talk relationships with others, especially the boss, and for structuring straight-talk messages in effective ways. He also, wisely, offers some guidance on when straight talk is not advised. (I especially love the refreshing, no bullsh*t comments on the travesty—er, tragedy?—that is "performance appraisal.") I don't know that there's all that much new here, but as a thought-provoker and validator, or to satisfy a straight-talk craving, this book is worth your time. And maybe, oh, please, he'll take on teams next. I'll drink to that.