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Book Review: The Power of Respect by Deborah Norville

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Few of us need to be convinced of the value of respect – at least insofar as we want others to show it to us. In The Power of Respect, Deborah Norville explores how respect impacts all of life's relationships from how we view ourselves, to how we interact with family members and friends, to how we treat employees and colleagues as the company's CEO.  Whether you have yet to be convinced of respect's relevance to you or are someone who thinks you have it all figured out, this book will expand your horizons.

Norville divides her discussion into seven chapters. In them she first tackles what respect is, then goes on to unpack what respect looks like at home, in relationships, in school, in business, and in leadership. She devotes the final chapter to self-respect.

Norville’s job as an anchor of the daily syndicated newsmagazine Inside Edition has given her a variety of relationships, experiences and stories from which to draw as she illustrates her points. She also cites academic journals and market studies to reinforce her message.  But this is not a dry school-paper kind of book. Norville’s writing style is vivid and efficient, and the abundance of anecdotes woven throughout ramp up interest. It all adds up to an effortless and inspirational read.

Each chapter also contains text boxes with respect-related quotes of others and “The Power of Respect” tidbits from inside the chapter that underline Norville’s main points.  Chapters end with lists summarizing key ideas.

My biggest takeaway from this book was a new realization of the many ways respect shows itself. For a student who didn’t know how to read it was a teacher who set him up with talking books, tailored his assignments to his ability, and so helped him succeed while saving face in front of the rest of the kids. In marriage showing respect may begin with the discovery of what your partner defines as respect. From the family to the workplace, listening is a huge component of showing respect. So is taking employees into your confidence and refraining from micro-managing them.

Whatever your vocation, The Power of Respect is full of inspiration and great examples of respectful living in action. It’s a motivational read that has the potential to change your relationships and positively impact your life.

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