Reviews of Alan Alda's Books

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?
Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself | Never Have Your Dog Stuffed

Reviews of New York Times Best Selling Book
If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?

My adventures in the art and science of relating and communicating

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“Alda uses his trademark humor and a well-honed ability to get to the point, to help us all learn how to leverage the better communicator inside each of us.”

Kirkus Review:
"A distinguished actor and communication expert shows how to avoid 'the snags of misunderstanding' that plague verbal interactions between human beings...A sharp and informative guide to communication."

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"This book goes past simply paying attention and being alert to the people we come into contact with. It teaches us how we can see and read emotions with great accuracy via practice, how to be more empathetic and understanding, how to pick up on non-verbal cues regardless of gender, deciphering the real messages between one another, and more. All of these techniques can get us better results as communicators and listeners..."

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The Gold Foundation:
"In this marvelous book...Alda co-creates for the willing reader a sense of intimacy, of kitchen table conversation (at the table of an incessantly curious, well-read and down-to-earth host). Like most excellent conversations, Alda’s book is not linear and is packed with stories. Many of the stories come from the extensive interviews he has done with scientists through his work as the host of Scientific American Frontiers and the Founder of the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. But he brings you with him on other adventures as well..."

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"This book is a down-to-Earth look at how we as humans need to do better at communicating, and how exactly we can accomplish this goal. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to do better in the office, at school, or at any relationship..."

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"As one would expect, Alda communicates his topic clearly, with humor, wit and catchy comparisons... I devoured this volume in one sitting and look forward to another..."

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"This is a truly fascinating book...which is brilliantly written and makes even the more tricky concepts easy to understand, is invaluable for anyone, no matter what their walk of life..."

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"...thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives --- with our friends, lovers and families, with our doctors, in business settings and beyond."

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"Like the book, he is funny or deep from one minute to the next...he is in the running for greatest scientist interviewer of all time."

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"The need is undeniable: people habitually experience communication breakdowns, which often involve failures of empathy. Whether they happen in bedrooms or boardrooms, they’re universally isolating..."

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Library Journal:
"Alda brings a distinct perspective with his trademark warmth and humor..."

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Publisher's Weekly:
"...he explains how improvisational games, empathy exercises, and storytelling tools can help anyone get better at communicating, listening, and relating everywhere 'from the boardroom to the bedroom.'..."

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Booklist Reviews:
"This is an enlightening and thoughtful combination of shared experience and advice."

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"Alda takes great care in explaining the concepts he wants to share, and yet his prose never becomes overly ponderous...Alda has an excellent grasp of everything he discusses here. He cites scientists and studies easily to back up his hypotheses."

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"... a rich meal that fulfills and makes us eager for another serving."

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"The title ...reflects an intellectual sensibility conveyed clearly and directly. It underscores the very points he is trying to make in this book. Alda has a gift for speaking about lofty ideas in layman’s terms, and his fervor for his subject matter shines through. This passion is at the heart of what engages us."

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Vital Magazine:
"It is a good feeling, and such an elusive one for many of us lately that Alda’s bestselling meditation on the art of communication, as well as some of the science behind it, might just be the ideal book for our hyper-partisan moment."

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" yourself a favor, and check out... It just might shed some new light on your own way of interacting with your friends and family."

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"I found the book to be incredibly well written and Alda had a way with storytelling that really brought all of his points home and his enthusiasm for science and learning in general is contagious."

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"...he makes the case that a compelling story, and personalizing one’s message, are two keys to better communication...Reflecting Alda’s persona, the book is bright, breezy, and upbeat.

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“In this charming, witty, and thought-provoking book, full of rich anecdotes, Alan Alda describes some of the tools of communication that he teaches in his work with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and shows how everyone—from lovers to politicians to scientists—can benefit from being better communicators. The issues he touches on are more important now than ever. His book is useful and fun, and it is a valuable tonic for these challenging times.”
--Lawrence M. Krauss, author of The Greatest Story Ever Told . . . So Far

“I’ve spent a lifetime trying to understand and use the art of communication. And then comes this fellow Alda—actor, interviewer, academic, and, mostly, student—who teaches me new, useable ideas. Communicating is at the heart of connectedness. Alda, with his laudable curiosity, has learned something you and I can use right now.”
--Charlie Rose

“Sit back and enjoy Alan Alda’s scientific journey of communication.”
--Barbara Walters

“Alda, who has made a distinguished and valuable career out of empathy—in acting, writing, and political thinking—now gives us a book that shows empathy to be the key to understanding, and thus to a much improved life. The exchange of feeling of one person with another makes it possible for each to grasp something different and larger than both: a delightful and useful surprise of knowledge. Alda proves his theory almost casually, with self-effacing good fun, but it is a true revelation. You wonder, How has one done without such a book?”
--Roger Rosenblatt, author of Thomas Murphy


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Hardcover | 240 Pages | Random House | Personal Growth, Science, and Business
Jun 06, 2017 | 978-0812989144 (978-0812989144)
Available in Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook, Audio CD, and Audio Download

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review):
"Alda is chatty, easygoing and humble..."

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Sydney Sun Herald:
“Engagingly thoughtful and thought-provoking . . . [Alan Alda] candidly shares many stories of his life, so easily and wittily you can hear him speak as you read.”

San Antonio Express-News:
“Smart, engaged, funny and observant.”
"Do yourself a favor - read this amazing book and share copies with the people you care about most..."

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"{Alda} comes across in a manner very much in line with his persona as a devoted family man whose spare time is devoted to the pursuit of knowledge. He also cuts the inherent pretension in any life lessons book with a conversational tone..."

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Parade Picks:
"Equal parts humor and heart."
"...Alda’s wisdom is accompanied by humility...stories are honest demonstrations of fallibility and full of passion."

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Parade Picks:
"Equal parts humor and heart."
"Alda has a smooth storytelling style that transports the reader."

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Parade Picks:
"Equal parts humor and heart."
"...bright, well-paced mix of Alda's speeches, mostly to college graduating classes, juxtaposed with events from his long life...proving that the actor and director is also comfortable as an author."

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"...takes such care with his thinking and such time to craft his thoughts into usable insights he shares without defense."

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"interesting and quick read with more than a few passages that will make you stop and think about your own life, values and bonus days."

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Reviews of New York Times Best Selling Book
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed and Other Things I've Learned

Read REVIEWS of Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself
Read an EXCERPT of Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself
Read an EXCERPT of Never Have Your Dog Stuffed
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Entertainment Weekly
[Grade:] A . . . "The actor's superlative memoir is full of surprises . . . (Alda) writes with witty, self-deprecating honesty; our only complaint is that it's just 224 pages."

Los Angeles Times
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is a memoir by of one of the most acclaimed actors of our time, who perhaps is one of the most genuinely humble. Alda seems defined more by his struggles, intellectual pursuits and general sense of wonder than by fame or wealth.

What's striking about this book is not merely the scope of his accomplishments -- personally as well as professionally -- but the sense that the author thinks there's still so much yet to be learned.

People Magazine
"poignant, funny new memoir about growing up and finding fame."

Liz Smith -- New York Post
". . . a cornucopia of delight and informed curiosity . . . this is a wonderful book of fun and philosophy from a genial good-hearted man at the peak of his creativity."

The BBHQ Book Review
We know him as Hawkeye Pierce. We also know he is smart, personable, and irresistible. All that comes out in Alan Alda's wonderful memoir . . .

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is a delightful memoir from a delightful man.

Publishers Weekly
". . . Alda's conversational style keeps the story on track. It's a brief but entertaining autobiography tempered with humility and a depth rarely found in celebrity memoirs."

Classical 103.5, Washington DC
"I hate celeb memoirs. Alan Alda is not a celebrity who desperately wanted to write a memoir. He's a fine writer who happens to be a celebrity."

The Sacramento Bee
"The award-winning actor faces life's demons with honesty and humor in this moving memoir."

The Houston Chronicle
“Alan Alda's 'odd' childhood -- the son of a burlesque-performer dad and mentally ill mom writes entertainingly about his youth . . . it's hard to argue with his advice and easy to admire this revealing memoir.”

Chris Matthews, Hardball
“I want everybody to read this book . . . what a great writer.”

David Mamet
"Most theatrical memoirs are, not surprisingly, structured as dramas -- the climax, fame and accomplishments, is hidden in and formed by the author’s early struggles. Mr. Alda’s book is rather different, the record runs true throughout: a story of wonder at and curious affection for the odd world around him. It seems to be, in fact, a record of what happened to him, rather than a recitation of the various paths which led to his success -- it is honest and touching and very funny -- like Mr. Alda himself."

Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe
"Alan Alda’s life story is as engrossing as it is moving. I couldn’t put it down, and I couldn’t stop laughing. With his characteristic wit and humor, Alda’s gripping memoir tells of journeys through the worlds of film and theater, family and friends, the occult and science. It’s the inspirational story of a man with an insatiable curiosity to understand the inner stirrings of the human soul and the outer workings of the universe."

Reviewer Harriet Klausner calls it a "Deep autobiography" and says:
". . . his superbly written memoir grips readers . . . This autobiography is one of the best out there as Mr. Alda lays out his soul including those demons eating at it, but never points the finger at his peers."

"Alda continues to welcome and even relish new challenges to his preconceived notions, even when those challenges threaten his health and safety."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
This is no by-the-numbers memoir. Alda, 69, doesn't dish the dirt, doesn't kiss and tell . . . Alda does what a writer, even one with five Emmy Awards, plus Tony and Oscar nominations, should. He tells a story, with detail, generous amounts of humor, sometimes painful honesty and insight . . . It's 224 pages long and he does what "M*A*S*H" did: He leaves you wanting more. A nice trick, that. It makes you like the guy even more.

Booklist (the review journal of the American Library Association)
"Alda, Emmy winning star of television’s M*A*S*H as well as a writer and director, candidly details his turbulent childhood and the lessons he learned during his event-filled life in this breezy collection of remembrances and anecdotes . . . Refreshingly, this collection of biographical sketches is written in a good-natured and compassionate way. A large publicity effort is under way for this release, and Alda is a well-liked and well-known celebrity, so librarians should stock up."
-- Kathleen Hughes

Debra Hamel,
"There's simply nothing wrong with this book. In prose that flows so smoothly you'll want to down the whole of it in one sitting Alan Alda, whose TV personae most of us will have admired for years, shows himself to be in real life an affable, intelligent, intellectually curious, normal, nice guy. Who can write well. He begins with one of the best first lines of a book I've ever read . . . Obviously this book comes very highly recommended. Buy it and enjoy it. Like me you may find yourself reading the last page very slowly in a vain attempt to keep it from ending."

“. . . as defining as that [MASH] role was, and as validating as the praise and respect it got him turned out to be, it was hardly the end of Alda's journey and education. . . . Alda continues to welcome and even relish new challenges to his preconceived notions, even when those challenges threaten his health and safety. He is living proof that a mind that keeps questioning keeps growing, and that alone is pretty inspirational."
"...breezy, most enjoyable read...Like Alda's persona, his book is more human and less flash."

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Publishers Weekly Says of the Audio Book:
"While listening to Alda's colorful and often poignant recollections, it becomes clear that, in addition to being a consummate actor, he is an introspective storyteller who isn't constrained by memory.. . With a touch of wonderment in his voice, he tells of weeks spent traveling with his father's burlesque company, of time spent with his dog Rhapsody (before he was stuffed), of a lifetime spent coping with his mother's mental illness and of the highs and lows of his acting career. ...Alda's intimate, dynamic narration makes one feel as if you're sitting across from a wise and entertaining friend, the kind you could listen to for hours."
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  • Listen to Alan Alda’s Podcast Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda here!.

  • You can order Alan Alda’s New York Times Best Selling book If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? from these booksellers.

  • You can buy Alan Alda’s Never Have Your Dog Stuffed and Other Things I've Learned and Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself -- New York Times Best Selling books or Grammy Nominated audio books read by Alan Alda --from these booksellers.

  • Find out where and when Alan Alda will will be speaking about his books.

  • Watch Alan Alda talk about his involvement in advocating for the communication of science and discuss his books in video interviews.

  • Read excerpts from Alan Alda’s best selling books, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed and Other Things I've Learned and Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.

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