Today’s Word: maladroit (adjective) –Someone who is maladroit (mal-uh-DROIT) is unskillful, awkward, bungling, and/or tactless. As used by Alexis de Tocqueville, describing a French cabinet minister: “His mind was narrow, maladroit, provoking, disparaging and ingenious rather than just.”

Did You Know?: The human head weighs, on average, 8 pounds and contains 5 trillion atoms.

Worth Quoting: “The gentleman calls attention to the good points in others; he does not call attention to their defects. The small man does just the reverse.” – Confucius

 Recommended Reading

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

By Amy Cuddy

2015, 352 pages

 When she was a college sophomore, Amy Cuddy suffered a brain injury in a car crash that reduced her IQ by 30 points. She was told she probably would not be able to finish her bachelor’s degree.

She did, of course. Then she went on to graduate school and eventually got a PhD in Social Psychology from Princeton. That was how she introduced herself when she gave her now-famous TED Talk in 2012.

I am always skeptical of overcoming-all-odds stories – especially when the details are hard to verify. So I read Presence skeptically. And that skepticism swelled every time the author referred to herself as a scientist.

Impressive bio and academic credentials aside, Presence is essentially a self-help book. In some circles, that is a bad thing. But when self-help books are based on the writer’s actual experience and those experiences are replicated by others, I want to listen.

Turns out Cuddy has some good advice on how to feel more confident and exhibit more personal power by practicing certain physical behaviors. The habit of smiling frequently, for example, improves one’s disposition – even if the smiling is artificial.  Habitual frowning has the opposite effect. Walking tall – if you make a habit of it – will make you feel more confident and that confidence will be noticed and respected by others.