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BK Magazine Marginally Unethical Life Hacks
Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
This is probably the easiest hack of all. We are often in social situations where we are not particularly interested in the person we are speaking to but it is important that we impress them sufficiently that they take a liking to us. Whether this is a boss, an in-law, or the parent or guardian of the person you are trying to woo is irrelevant--this approach works with just about anyone.
Just ask questions. Lots of questions--but around a specific topic.
All you have to do is find out ahead of time what that person's particular passion or hobby is (or you can just ask them outright). Then, simply ask question after question about the topic, letting the answer to the previous question generate the next (e.g. "So you use live earthworms? But where do you find the best earthworms?"). Do not veer into any territory that is personal--even if related to the subject (e.g. "Your wife/husband doesn't really share your enthusiasm for the circus?") because that can be misconstrued as evasive or suspect and you may venture into bad/ dark territory (e.g. "No, my wife/husband does not share my passion for clowns because a clown ran over their beloved childhood pet"). People get defensive or protective around friends and family, so avoid that.
Yes, this may be tedious to you, but to the other person it is a magnificent treat: they are able to hold court with someone on a subject dear to them that their friends and families have long grown tired of listening to and now ignore. You are their salvation and possibly their new best friend. They will not see this as a question-and-answer session but will remember it as an excellent and great conversation, because all they will remember is really enjoying their time speaking to you (because you made them feel smart and appreciated).
Problem is, if you try this with people you frequent regularly (i.e.: an in-law or a co-worker), they'll assume you're actually interested in the topic and keep bringing it up to you at every occasion.
You are absolutely right--I should have specified one-time use only!