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Tongue Fu!: How to Deflect, Disarm, and Defuse Any Verbal Conflict Paperback – March 15, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The purpose of Kung Fu, the Chinese art of self-defense, is to fend off physical attacks. According to professional speaker and consultant Horn, the purpose of Tongue Fu, a spoken form of self-defense, is to guard against psychological attacks. Dealing with difficult people is a part of everyday life. However, by focusing on real-life responses to verbal challenges instead of theories and platitudes, the author has delivered a convenient handbook for the mental martial art of verbal self-protection. Divided into four sections, the book offers techniques and skills for responding thoughtfully in conflicts, expressing honest feelings and goals, seeking cooperation in difficult situations, and living a life of value during trying times. Each of the 30 chapters offers examples that demonstrate the expected goals and acquired skills in action. Despite its suggestively prurient title, Horn's book is a lively, positive guide that can be returned to time and again. A popular title for all public library collections.
David R. Johnson, Fayetteville P.L., Ark.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This is a great book! Tongue Fu! puts a new twist on communiction. Everyone should read it.!"--John Gray, author of Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus

"Tongue Fu! is a practical and easy-to-read book on the important topic of interpersonal relationships. Many stories beautifully illustrate the immediate, usable ideas on how to get along better with just about anyone, anytime, anywhere. The world would be a more peaceful and harmonious place if people practiced the enduring principles presented in this book. Tongue Fu! is destined to be a classic."--Jack Canfield, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Soul

"Tongue Fu! is filled with delightful tools for keeping both feet on the ground instead of in the mouth. Both young and old need to learn its lessons for creating connection instead of alienation."--Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and End the Struggle and Dance with Life

"This book is a gold mine for anyone who deals with the public. The great strength lies in two things. First are Horn's unimpeachable ideas. She's added to the legacy of ideas on dealing with people left by Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Dale Carngie, and many others. That takes skill. Second are the examples she uses. This a comprehensive manual for getting ahead--while inviting others to join you."--Executive Book Summaries

"In this delightful book, I found many gems of practical wisdom for everyday life. Among books on effective communication and improved relationships, this is one of the finest ever seen. An important work--fun to read, learn from, and apply."--Dan Millman, author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior and The Laws of Spirit

"Frustrated? Try some verbal kung fu. These verbal techniques for 'fast-forwarding through frustration' help keep inner harmony."--the Chicago Tribune

"This is a terrific book, full of verbal 're-engineering' designed to refocus us toward greater fulfillment in our dialogues with others through better communication."--Anthony Robbins, author of Awaken the Giant Within and Unlimited Power
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (March 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312152272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312152277
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sam Horn, the Intrigue Expert, is a positioning/messaging/branding expert whose work has been featured in the New York Times, Fast Company, the Washington Post and on NPR and MSNCBC. Her speaking clients include KPMG, Cisco, ASAE, Boeing, Inc. 500, Intel, NASA, and Capital One, and she has served as the pitch coach for Springboard Enterprises, which has helped entrepreneurs receive $6.6 billion in funding.

Her most recent book, Got Your Attention, published by Berrett-Koehler in 2015, was #1 in three categories on Amazon (Sales & Marketing, Business Management and Skills). Got Your Attention introduces Sam's "secret sauce" for creating mutually intriguing conversations so you can turn frustrating, waste-of-time, one-way interactions into productive, mutually-rewarding, two-way connections that get results.

www.samhorn.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Harold McFarland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Tongue Fu is an excellent treatise on how to handle verbal situations in life. Complainers, bullies, manipulators, it doesn't matter, all types of situations that are time-bombs and need to be diffused are covered in the book. The book is a working manual on how to recognize, disarm and remove those bombs before they explode and damage your reputation, your business, your relationship or just plain ruin your day. It covers the full gamut of information from how to recognize that you are under attack, to how to recognize the particular attack and what techniques are appropriate to disarm the attack. For some bombs cutting the blue wire disarms and for another one it sets the bomb off. Knowing the right type of situation you are dealing with lets you know what type of action disarms and what type sets the attack into high gear.
Lots of case histories and lots of examples so you will know what you are doing., action plans to help you start putting the information into action, the book has it all.
Another book that augments this title would be "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense", a slightly more dated book but one that deals with many of the items in greater detail. Together they are a complete set of how to deal with verbally aggressive people.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By JRG on September 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
"I wish I'd been introduced to these ideas years ago; they would have saved me so much unnecessary grief. As the author points out, this isn't just about dealing with difficult people. It's about communicating in a way that helps us get along better with just about anyone. I didn't even know there were such things as "Words to Lose," and now I realize I use them constantly with customers and co-workers, even my kids. No wonder people sometimes give me a hard time. I was using language that actually makes matters worse. The book tells you exactly what to say in different types of situations. Best of all, it made me think twice about the way I relate to people. Instead of seeing the other person as the one who is being ornery, I realize now that I could be contributing to it. This book is a real eye-opener and I'm glad I read it.
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184 of 224 people found the following review helpful By GMan on August 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book based upon many of the reader recommendations on this very important subject. However, after I received the book and began reading it, I felt scammed.
Recently at work, I felt I could have handled a situation better than I did. I knew what I wanted to convey, but it came out unsatisfactorly. Being someone who wants to improve themself, I thought I'd get a book relating to this subject matter.
The techniques presented in this book are inapplicable and irrelevant - they don't provide insight, and in my opinion are rediculous - the point where I found myself laughing. Reading this book felt like you were being lectured by your clueless, happy-go-lucky aunt.
Techniques such as "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em", "handle hassles with fun", and saying "you're right" (and meaning it) when people complain, are not realistic techniques to addressing real problem. The one which put me over the edge is her bit "choose to be compassionate" when people fail to meet their most basic responsibilities. According to this technique, if you are in a line at some place of business, and there are 25 people in front of you and one employee, you are supposed to spend the time in line convincing yourself that "it's okay - they are just understaffed". Or, if that employee messes up your order, say an ice cream cone, you are supposed to do the following:
1. "Ask them for their name" - Everyone knows doing this will immediately put the employee on the defensive.
2. "State your Customer Rights and Wishes" - This is going to anger the employee with such a belittling remark.
3. "Ask to see a supervisor" - Oh, really? Gee, I'm glad I'm paying money for such earth shattering advice.
And so on...
Read more ›
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
I first read this book as a requirement when I began working at a doctor's office. Since then I've used it's techniques not only for face-to-face verbal conflict but in evaluation reports, constructive criticism for co workers, and dealing with irate phone calls. Every employer should have a copy available for their employees!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
Sam Horn covers a broad spectrum of verbal situations that can easily turn harmful if not handled well. Her recommendations are creative and practical and lets us take back control of our language. Horn's examples are so real one can hear the conversations! Each chapter ends with an action plan to help us deal with the particular difficulty covered.
The final chapter ties a nice bow around all the techniques by encouraging the reader to develop an action plan to turn "intentions into actions."
An easy read rich with appropriate quotations.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carmen Matthews on August 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Communication. It's what makes us human.

And, "Tongue Fu!" is a book that guides you to put compassion before reaction.

It's a very no nonsense book about standing on your own feet without stepping on anyone's toes. And, it is mainly targetting communication at work, although, if you master what this book has to teach you about disarming angry people, you can certainly apply this outside of your work environment.

There are 4 parts to this book:

1. Respond, Rather Than React:
When you think back on the outcome of times when you blurted your reactions,
before taking time to gather your thoughts, you will agree with Sam Horn that
this always makes things worse.
Ms. Horn's suggestion is, "Have compassion for this person, by asking yourself
how you would feel, if you had the same circumstances as she or he has."
Done skillfully, and with prior practice, can make a big difference in your
outcome.
My favorite quote in this section of this book, is, "Speak when you're angry -
and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret," Henry Ward Beecher.

2. Words to Lose, Words to Use:
In this section, Ms. Horn suggests, and I strongly agree that we need to
replace "but" with "and."
When you've made a statement, especially a compassionate statement, and you
follow it with what you want your attacker to understand, by using "but," you
cancel out all the good you've just shared.
Another example of words to lose, and words to use is, replace "You have to
work with Bob on this project," with "Could you please coordinate with Bob on
this project?"
This is an example of knowing how to play corporate politics, in a good way.
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