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Comebacks at Work: Using Conversation to Master Confrontation Hardcover – October 12, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“A lively, encouraging book, bound to banish l’esprit d’escalier forever.” (—Publishers Weekly)
More About the Author
Author of 10 books, she is a professor at USC's Marshall School of Business, a featured political blogger at The Huffington Post since 2005, and the recipient of the 2013 Humanitarian Award from the UConn Alumni Association.
Her first book, PERSUASION IN PRACTICE, (revised edition retitled), was called by Public Opinion Quarterly "a landmark contribution to the field" of research and theory in persuasion.
Her first trade book, THEY DON'T GET IT, DO THEY?, was based on her Harvard Business Review article "The Memo Every Woman Keeps in Her Desk," which became an HBR reprint best seller. Her latest HBR article is "Courage as a Skill."
THE SECRET HANDSHAKE (2000), an Amazon business and nonfiction bestseller, provides a rare and perceptive inside look at the politics of business. IT'S ALL POLITICS (2005) provides a deeper analysis of workplace politics. Other Kathleen Kelley Reardon books for professional people include THE SKILLED NEGOTIATOR (2004) and COMEBACKS AT WORK: USING CONVERSATION TO MASTER CONFRONTATION (2010).
Professor Reardon also wrote CHILDHOOD DENIED: ENDING THE NIGHTMARE OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT (2008) an investigation into the legal, political and societal treatment of foster children in the U.S. The concept she introduced in that book of creating university-based academies to prepare foster children for college (of whom only approximately 3% graduate) has already resulted in the creation of four such academies at major universities, with more on the way. At First Star, the nonprofit with which initiates and develops those academies, she was a co-founding board member is the its Distinguished Research Fellow
Her breakthrough INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS GIFT-GIVING: A GUIDE FOR AMERICAN EXECUTIVES was used by the White House Office of Protocol as a primary reference for many years as well as by chiefs of protocol for nations and businesses around the world.
At USC, Dr. Reardon also served on the Preventive Medicine Faculty for over 15 years and was earlier a professor of Communication Sciences at UCONN. She earned her Ph.D., at UMass Amherst, where she graduated with distinction and won the NCA national dissertation of the year award. She is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Mortar Board. She has consulted for many individuals, and companies large and small around the world on topics related to communication, persuasion, negotiation and politics at work.
She has appeared on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News and Good Morning America. Her research and writings have been covered in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and broadcast news segments.
In SHADOW CAMPUS, she has taken her knowledge of politics in the workplace to fiction and shows us how even at universities often all is not what it seems.
Top Customer Reviews
"Comebacks at Work" gives you tools to deal with types like the Critic, the Blamer, the Complainer, and more. There is advice on dealing with comeback "brain freeze" and on recognizing dysfunctional patterns so that you can avoid getting sucked into them. There are assessments to help you figure out which comebacks work for you, which is very useful for non-confrontational types who might be reluctant to dish out comebacks.
While "Comebacks at Work" has a lot of substance and information, it's also an enjoyable read. Realistic (and often real-life) examples illustrate different ways to put the principles into practice. You get the tools to keep your cool, minimize your workplace stress, stay on the high road (in most cases), and work effectively.
We've all experienced that helpless feeling of "brain freeze" when a co-worker says something degrading or inappropriate, especially in front of others. It doesn't matter if the offender is malevolent or merely clueless; simply absorbing their abuse (or groundless accusations) not only increases your stress level, it can hurt you professionally by making you appear to be weak and ineffectual, the office doormat. And office doormats never get ahead; they get stepped on.
Reardon and Noblet's book offers numerous examples of the most common types of insulting or demeaning remarks uttered by colleagues (and bosses), along with the most effective ways to disarm them. It helps readers assess situations of conflict in order to choose the appropriate comeback, from non-confrontational "rephrasing" of an offending comment to stop-them-in-their-tracks rebukes and retaliations.
Perhaps the authors' most valuable insight, however, is that "each of us is at least 75 percent responsible for how people respond to us." That's a powerful, not to mention empowering, concept.
Nobody should have to put up with workplace verbal abuse and the related stress it brings. "Comebacks at Work" provides an practical blueprint and battle plan for fighting back.
Conversations aren't really about letting people know what's on your mind. They're about, among other things:
* Displaying how well you can fight back *proportionately* when provoked,
* Getting messages across in ways that can, if necessary, be denied later on,
* Showing how well you can sync with the other person,
* Gauging whether your co-worker has the courage of his convictions (a good sign that he's well-informed as well as well-intentioned),
* Showing that you don't take yourself too seriously (and hence that you  can see yourself to some extent as others see you and  have confidence in your abilities and track record),
* Seeing how well someone can think on her feet and under stress -- even on someone else's terms.
All well and good for those of us who either had families to train us from childhood, or picked it up by osmosis when we were young. For everyone else, there's Kathleen Kelley Reardon.
Comebacks aren't a cut and dried, paint by numbers exercise...any more than, say, playing chess. And just as every self-respecting chess book teaches not only the various pieces and their moves but also particular openings, gambits, sacrifices and other tactics, Comebacks at Work teaches different kinds of specific comebacks. In fact, it also gives various options for a given situation so you can pick your favorite.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you want a book that doesn't help with enhancing your communication skills at work and also put you to sleep, then this is the book for you.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Some people have a natural ability to respond with "quick thinking" words that are always "right". Read morePublished 4 months ago by JC_N_VA
Very good book and full of good advice. It wasn't the topic I thought it was so I must have bought it in a rush. Read morePublished 14 months ago by ShanaJustin
nice little book full of good ideas for the person not good at generating comebacks at work.Published 15 months ago by Cary
Great book! If you have ever had an employer or co-worker who enjoyed making stupid comments at your expense this is the book to read, and according to the author this happens at... Read morePublished 17 months ago by T R
Great book! Best one I've heard that applies to working and standing up for yourself. I would buy this book over and over again! The audio version is over 7 hours long.Published 23 months ago by skittlecake
I read everything Kathleen Kelly Reardon writes. Her books on business are excellent. Comebacks at Work is filled with many useful ways to handle people and situations at work... Read morePublished on October 3, 2013 by Colleen Mcdonald
Bullies watch out! This book gives concrete examples on how to handle various situations. I've read other books on the subject, but they never told me techniques to use. Read morePublished on March 22, 2013 by Judy
Find the words you have been dying to say when people challenge you and receive the respect you deserve. Kathleen Kelley Reardon (writing with Christopher T. Read morePublished on August 16, 2011 by Rolf Dobelli