Connecting with clients or other people in general is more than just giving them what they want. It calls upon us to relate to the individual’s hopes, fears, biases, and loves. It requires us to understand not just where they are, but where they have been and would like to go. It demands tact and truthfulness alike, a sympathetic frankness that brokers no deceptions, but yet realizes the imperfections we all share. Paul Cowan’s book Connecting with Clients: For Stronger, More Rewarding and Longer-Lasting Client Relationships condenses these lessons for readers in a relatively long written work that should prove an invaluable resource for anyone with business-minded concerns, for sure, but it goes a step beyond with its subtle commentaries on human nature itself and has practical application in our everyday lives.

The book is voluminous. It should be. Over seventy different sections are included in the text examining a wide variety of issues someone can encounter during a client/customer relationship, but don’t let the numbers intimidate you. Connecting with Clients may run well over three hundred pages in all, but each of those over seventy sections are short and to the point. Cowan does not belabor individual points anymore than what he must to communicate with the reader. Moreover, he writes with breezy yet punchy style that manages to impart valuable information while keeping things as informal, never staid, as possible.


Do not mistake the informality for a lack of substance. Much of the information Cowan shares with readers comes from his years of experience as both a consultant and psychotherapist. Working from these two pedigrees gives him an unique perspective few share. Cowan doesn’t just understand the nuts and bolts that enable businesses and organizations to flourish, particularly in the area of customer service, but likewise grasps the underlying motivations driving clients and those who work on their behalf.

Each of the sections includes a “Top Tips” at their conclusion. This is where Cowan can summarize the material covered in that section, but it likewise affords him the opportunity to underline key takeaways readers should pay closer attention to. There is some visual accompaniment included with the book, but the bulk of Connecting with Clients relies on Cowan’s prose to make an impact on the reader. He has obviously done ample research to further fortify his philosophy, but the book can be powered by his experiences alone and still make a deep impression on readers.


Some readers may be turned off by his vernacular at certain points in the book, but it is a small flaw unlikely to turn readers away. Cowan avoids repeating himself much and, though the book is not structured in any recognizable linear fashion, it nonetheless progresses in a coherent and sensible manner.

Lucidity is a strong suit of Cowan’s thinking. The personal aspects he shares along the way further humanize him for readers; the book would undoubtedly sputter and read very dry if he hadn’t made this decision. Connecting with Clients: For Stronger, More Rewarding and Longer-Lasting Client Relationships is a book you can read from cover to cover or dip into and possesses timeless attributes that will make it a go-to text on this subject for years to come.

Kendall Townsend