Let me just say at the start that I have a strong positive bias when in comes Mr. Alan Alda and the reasons are: 1) Like myself, he comes from the Bronx. 2)He graduated from Fordham University and I applied there and was rejected. I imagine the admissions’ people at the university are still laughing at my application some forty years later. 3)Mr. Alda’s first name is actually ‘Alphonso,’ which is the first name of a very special uncle of mine who we referred to as Uncle Al. 4) Like myself, from an early age he read the magazine “Scientific American,” and until this day it is the only magazine I subscribed to for over a ten year period; even though I doubt I understood more than one or two articles from each issue. 5) he started the ‘Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University and is a Visiting professor at the university. Stony Brook University is where I graduated from. 6) He was on one of my favorite T.V. shows of all time M*A*S*H.
Putting all that aside, Mr. Alda’s ‘If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating,’ is a humorous, educational, enlighten book on the importance of communication and the ability to possess EMPATHY not only in the field of acting but more importantly in the fields of medicine, science, and relationships. In short, it is a guide that helps people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. It teaches people, through improvisation training, how to read people in just a few seconds, and with that understanding how to relate to that person in a way that both of you are on the same wavelength.
If you tell a friend that you are looking for a new doctor and if he would recommend his doctor and he says, “Oh he’s great, but he has terrible bed side manners.” Right there a red sign should flash before your eyes. Having good bed side manners and being able to describe a problem to a patient in a simple, empathetic, easy to understand manner can clear up any miscommunications the patient might have and alleviate stress and avoid a disaster.
The book is full with stories like the above one, and Mr. Alda describes in an easy to understand ways how we can avoid these situations, and avoid making the same mistakes.
I loved this book.