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Dealing with People You Can't Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst Paperback – February 27, 2002

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The Next Happy: Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward
When the best option is to let go of the life you planned for yourself and find a new path, a world of possibilities can surprisingly open up.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 2 edition (February 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071379444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071379441
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst!...Now Totally Revised for a New Generation of Bothersome Behaviors

Since this best-selling book first appeared, the world has changed dramatically.

Technology has spawned a whole new breed of annoyances. From cell-phone chatters to E-mail spammers to voice-mail hogs, life today is filled with even more people you can't stand!

It's the guy in the supermarket line who is talking on his cell phone instead of unloading his cart...

It's the E-mail "buddy" who jams your in-box with annoying jokes, petitions, and other junk mail...

It's the boss who behaves like a bully and a petty tyrant, and has the power to get away with it...

It's the co-worker who promises results, but never delivers when the chips are down...

At best, such people can make life stressful and unpleasant. At worst, they can keep you from achieving important goals. The good news is that you don't have to let them do either! It's fully within your power to bring out the best behavior in people who are at their worst.

Sound impossible? It's not. Just ask the millions who have benefited from Brinkman and Kirschner's proven, innovative approach to dealing with difficult people. From this one-of-a-kind guide, you'll learn:

  • How to identify 10 bothersome behaviors, and deal successfully with each of them!
  • How difficult people think, what they fear, and why they act the way they do.
  • How to use advanced, sophisticated "listening techniques" to unlock the doors to people's minds, hearts, and deepest needs.
  • How to cultivate nine "take-charge" skills that turn conflict into cooperation by reducing the differences between people.
  • How to change the destructive behavior of the tank...the know-it-all...the grenade...the whiner...and many more!

About the Author

Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner are naturopathic physicians, professional speakers, and trainers, and the coauthors of the bestselling audio and video tapes How to Deal with Difficult People, which have sold more than 300,000 copies. Since 1980, they have shared their insights with audiences across the nation and around the world through their company, R&R Productions.

Customer Reviews

It will help you understand people and why and what makes them tick.
This book does an outstanding job explaining different types of difficult behavior, and outlining strategies for dealing with them.
Easy to read, great examples and real scenarios that make what could be dull and tedious more informative enjoyable.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on October 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
You know these people from the office: the dominating Tank, the undermining Sniper, the explosive Grenade and the smarmy Know-It-All. For your sake, here's hoping you only have one or two of them running around your cubicle farm. Unfortunately, the work world is fraught with complainers, cheats, toadies and downers. To avoid becoming a downer yourself, you need coping strategies. Authors Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner describe 10 difficult, if slightly contrived, personalities and provide communications techniques for dealing with them. This is not a textbook, being slim on attributions and facts. It is, rather, a feel-good handbook of simple suggestions for using tactics and popular psychology to deal with someone you'd actually rather strangle. Given that choice, conversation is a better strategy. We hope it works for you, and suggests this light but well-intentioned book to human resources professionals, managers with problem employees and you, if you're feeling particularly homicidal about that knuckle-cracking, gum-popping slacker in the next cubby.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Carol J. Hoffman on September 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
If there are, and there always are, people that you can't stand, they are going to leap out of the pages of this book. There is always that ONE boss that really got under your skin, the is always ONE family member that sends you running for your room when they arrive, there is always that ONE friend that really shouldn't be called that, there is always that ONE sales check out clerk that makes a purchase nearly unbearable. This book goes a long way to make you recognize and name these people, but, just a little too short on how to deal with these people. It is more comic reading, than heavy psychological reading. Don't expect to suddenly love the people you can't stand, or even develop adequate skills in dealing with them, but you will realize that it is OK to feel the way you do about them. Anybody would.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Patrick D. Goonan on November 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent, well-written, humorous and very practical book on dealing with difficult personalities. It is a quick read, but it is packed with useful information for dealing with different personality types at their worst.

In this book, the authors identify ten basic personalities that fall at different points between two dimensions: aggression-passivity and whether they are primarily task-oriented or people-oriented. It is a very simple model, but it is powerful and works well in a business environment.

There are many good stories, cartoons and boxes with summaries of how to handle various types of people in difficult situations. I have field-tested the ideas and they are sound and work well in practice.

Having insight into your own style is also worth being aware of. You will no doubt see yourself in these pages and more than likely will laugh out loud. More importantly, you will also raise your awareness so that you will have more choice in difficult situations.

This book should be on all managers shelves. It is a useful tool for deciphering the behavior of people much different from yourself.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By design student on May 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
There are so many nut cases out there that we have to deal with;

This book describes EXACTLY what kind of person he or she is,

and their motives (equally important), and explains how to get them to listen to you. Although it pictures office situations, they

work for ANYONE (mothers-in-law, children,family members, etc.)

This book is treasure!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Manufacturing Whiz on November 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book uses a model of human behaviour to understand difficult people. I find it falls down because this model is lacking.

The authors describe 10 archetypes (Tank, Sniper, Grenade, Yes Person, No person, Maybe Person, Nothing Person, Whiner, Know-It-All, and Think They Know-It-All). They go on to describe how to identify these archetypes, why they are the way they are, and what you can do to change this behaviour. There is also advice on what to do when somebody perceives you as one of these archetypes. The last sections of the book (haven't read this yet) focus on improving communication skills.

The model characterizes these archetypes in terms of two parameters - weather the person is passive or agressive, and if they are task or people oriented. This creates 4 quadrants where people have a desire to be productive(passive & task oriented), acheive perfection (agressive & task oriented), get along with others (passive & people oriented), and gets attention from others (agressive & people oreiented).

Problems with this model and associated archetypes are:
1) It makes the assumption that bad behaviour stems from good (albeit extreme) intentions. I have had plenty of experience with bad behaviour from people with less altruistic goals (possible additions: the Politician & the Rattlesnake).
2) Many difficult people don't fit nicely into any of these 10 categories. I find that there are some people with extrememly agressive or passive personalities that don't fit well in a quadrant, that should have their own category (possible additions: the Sloth, and the Policeman)
3) Some people are so far gone that they may exhibit many of these negative behaviours simultaneously. I knew someone that satisfied 4 different categories at the same time - some in diametrically opposed quadrants.

In short, the advice may work as written 65% of the time.
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More About the Author

Dr. Rick Kirschner has delivered motivational speeches and training programs on The Art of Change to some of the best known organizations in the world, including NASA, Progressive Insurance, Starbucks, Texas Instruments and Toys R'Us. And he's delivered his ideas and advice on communication, persuasion and conflict resolution through radio and television appearances, newspaper and magazine articles and interviews, from CNBC to CBC to FOX to the Wall Street Journal, in USA Today,the London Times, Executive Excellence, Selling Power, and Readers Digest.

He is the author of the comprehensive audio communication training program, 'Insider's Guide To The Art of Persuasion,' and the Hyperion book, 'How To Click With People: The Secret to Better Relationships in Business And In Life." He is coauthor of the international bestseller, Dealing With People You Can't Stand: How To Bring Out The Best In People At Their Worst,' now in a third revised edition with more problem people (meddlers, martyrs and hypercritical judges) and strategic solutions!

The Art of Change Skills for Life™ presentations blend people-friendly humor and savvy expertise with practical skills and compelling content on connection, communication and positive change. Audiences have fun, get to know themselves, and gain a palette of attitudes and behaviors that help them to change their lives, relationships and businesses for the better.