Don’t Take Yes For An Answer

By Patricia Chadwick

It’s summer in the time of coronavirus. So many things have changed. So many…… but not everything. What has remained very much the same is the urge for a good summer read. Whether you are on a vacation or more likely this year on a (using the neological term) staycation or just aching for some mental relaxation between zoom meetings, a good book is a must-have.

If your favorite reading genre is history, or biography, mystery or fantasy, romance or finance, take a little break and pick up Don’t Take YES For An answer, the best advice book I have ever had the pleasure to read – and I mean pleasure, though that’s not generally the kind of emotion one associates with a self-help book. It is eminently readable – only 167 and 1/7 pages – but chances are you’ll be flipping back to re-read passages because you’ll want bits of counsel to become embedded in your muscle memory.

The author, Steve Herz, knows his subject matter. In his role as president of The Montag Group, he’s advised and coached countless men and women in the world of sports, entertainment, and news – athletes and journalists, as well as TV sportscasters and newscasters. His book is replete with anecdotes that accentuate and personalize his message. Examples are spread across a broad array of humanity – people with vastly different backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, personalities and life stories – from familiar in politics and sports, including Barbara Jordan, George W. Bush and Martin Luther King, Jr, to the unknown (but very real) Gus, Emilio and Maria Phillipopolous, “the proprietor and shoe-fixing doyenne of Dino’s shoe repair in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle.”

Such a diversity of characters and examples gives the reader a range of opportunities for engagement with the message. And there’s a strong element of tough love as well – something parents (of all ages) may find discomfiting because it may hit home. It did to me.

At a time when the word “awesome” has become almost banal, Steve Herz makes AWE come alive. As he writes, “To stand out and excel, to get the attention of whose who will help you move up, protect you during lean times, or compete for your talent, you need to perfect your AWE”, which he identifies as: Authority, Warmth and Energy.

Steve’s message is a powerful one – your potential is far greater than you may believe. Regardless of your temperament, your anxieties, or your eccentricities, if you take his advice, you, too, can catapult your career and enjoy the benefits that accompany success.

What I found encouraging, and thus energizing, about Steve Herz’ three-step AWEsome guide for self-empowerment was that it seemed to me that most readers should be able to relate in a personal way to at least one of those three AWEsome traits as descriptive of their own nature. So, the guidance he shares to achieve that element of AWE is easy to connect with, leaving only two more steps to tackle.

Lest people have the notion that the COVID-19 work-at-home requirement eliminates or even reduces the need for AWE, they should think again. Authority, Warmth and Energy don’t require a physical presence – they can be equally as effective in an email or a memo, in a Zoom meeting, in a telephone call or even behind a mask.

As I read Don’t Take Yes For An Answer, I found myself wishing the book had been available fifty years ago, as I was entering the business world. Truth be told, I am putting some of his advice to work today in my daily life – despite having no more corporate mountains to climb.

The audience for Steve’s book is universal – all that’s needed is a reader with an open mind. Those already in the workforce will benefit by engaging in course correction to enhance their AWEsome traits.

But perhaps the most value can be reaped by college students who are facing the reality of entering the workforce within a year or two. For them, Don’t Take Yes For An Answer should be required reading. Parents will do their children a great service by buying this book, reading it themselves and giving a copy to their children.

I’ve done that with my own twenty-something children who are already in the workforce and I wish I’d been able to give it to them four years ago as a college graduation present.

Patricia Chadwick is a businesswoman and an author. Her recently published memoir, Little Sister, the story of her unusual childhood growing up in a cult, is now available in paperback.