Don’t by Bob Selden


ebq4stDon’t offers readers a fascinating look at the way words impact our behavior, as well as the behavior of those around us.

Utilizing numerous studies and research findings, Bob Selden delves deeply into the reasons why the words we choose matter, and how simply re-shaping statements from negatives to positives can make a world of difference in communication and leadership abilities.

Full of real-life examples and practical exercises to help hone your skills, Don’t explains which words to use, which to avoid, and the correct way to use words to diffuse conflict in difficult situations -all the while helping readers develop a more positive outlook through using more positive language.

Don’t is a fascinating book that will inspire you to take a deeper look at how you communicate -revealing just how impactful words can be, and how changing our words can actually change how we think and interact with others.

Wow- as an avid student of animal learning theory and behavior, I was struck by the parallels between positive-reinforcement training and the information presented in this book regarding human behavior and motivation. Many of the basic concepts are the same, especially when it comes to the notion of “don’t” (or “no”) -words positive dog trainers drop in favor of teaching incompatible replacement behaviors (“do this instead”). In a similar fashion, Selden teaches readers how to re-frame “don’t” statements into positive instructions, changing difficult conversations and situations from negative to positive for the best possible outcome. I enjoyed reading the real-life success stories as well as the intriguing, if not sometimes humorous, studies, and appreciated the summaries at the end of each of the book’s three parts. In addition to discussing which words to use and avoid, Selden also covers topics such as the importance of tense and inflection, and how certain words impact specific regions of the brain. Includes a 21-day plan to help you get started in using more positive language.

This is a fantastic book not only for those in a management or a leadership position, but also for anyone who would like to improve their communication skills and develop a more positive perspective in general. An intriguing and insightful read, highly recommended!

Rating: 4 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

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To purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, buy HERE


About the author

Bob Selden

“I’m unashamedly a student of behaviour. I believe that the words and language we use not only impact our relationships with others, but also the way in which we behave. Recent research tends to support this belief. For example, studies at the Universities of Heidelberg, Neuchatel and Zurich (2007) show that when young male drivers hear male type words (such as “tough” and “rough”) they automatically increase their speed, whilst hearing female type words (such as “pink” and “gentle”) leads to a reduction in their speed. My question; “Can the words a manager uses also impact both his or her people relationships and behaviour?”

“I survived my first new manager’s role in banking to eventually develop into a senior manager responsible for the career development of hundreds of other managers. During this growing process, and later as an organizational development consultant, trainer and coach, I learnt (often the hard way) what works and what doesn’t work when managing others. I’ve recently published “What To Do When You Become The Boss” which is a result of some of this learning. I’m now determined to help other new managers during their initial growth spurt.

“I’m an Australian currently living in Liestal, Switzerland. As well as being fortunate enough to consult to various organizations on 5 continents, I coach on the Mobilizing People program at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. I also facilitate on programs such as the Middle Manager Development program at the Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney, Australia.

“I’d like to challenge those of you who are interested, on some of your thinking on leadership and management development and would very much appreciate your feedback.”

You can learn more about Bob Selden and his work by visiting

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