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Verbal Judo, Second Edition: The Gentle Art of Persuasion [Paperback]

by George J., PhD Thompson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 17, 2013 0062107704 978-0062107701 Updated

"When you react, the event controls you. When you respond, you're in control."

Verbal Judo is the classic guide to the martial art of the mind and mouth that can help you defuse confrontations and generate cooperation, whether you're talking to a boss, a spouse, or even a teenager. For more than a generation, Dr. George J. Thompson's essential handbook has taught people how to communicate more confidently and persuasively in any situation. Verbal Judo shows you how to listen and speak more effectively, engage others through empathy (the most powerful word in the English language), avoid the most common conversational disasters, and use proven strategies to successfully express your point of view—and take the lead in most disputes.

This updated edition includes a new foreword and a chapter featuring Dr. Thompson's five universal truths of "human interaction":

  1. People feel the need to be respected
  2. People would rather be asked than be told
  3. People have a desire to know why
  4. People prefer to have options over threats
  5. People want to have a second chance

Stop being frustrated and misunderstood. Stop finding yourself on the losing end of an argument. With Verbal Judo you’ll be able to have your say—and say what you mean.


Frequently Bought Together

Verbal Judo, Second Edition: The Gentle Art of Persuasion + Verbal Judo: Redirecting Behavior with Words + Games Criminals Play: How You Can Profit by Knowing Them
Price for all three: $36.48

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

George J. Thompson, PH.D., was the president and founder of the Verbal Judo Institute before his death in 2011. A former English professor and a black-belt master of karate, he created and crash-tested verbal judo when he was a police officer on an urban beat.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Updated edition (December 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062107704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062107701
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George J. Thompson, Ph.D., is a former English professor and a black bet master of karate. He created and crash-tested verbal judo when he was a police officer on an urban beat. He is now a popular lecturer and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Formulaic and oversimplified, but... it works!! January 10, 2005
Format:Paperback
I first read this book about ten years ago. I then took a course by the same title at the police academy. Essentially, Dr. Thompson tries to take a few simple concepts and by simplifying them further, give police officers a way to de-escalate conflict. My first thought as a negotiator was that these concepts had been dumbed down too much, but I decided to give it a chance in the real world. For the most part, it works. Every time I used his techniques on a police scene, the situation was settled without force.

I believe that this book is a good starting point into the arena of active listening. The area that should be expanded on is the response... i.e. situational response based on more factors than a book can cover (personal experience, perception, urgency, etc...) vs. the patterned responses suggested in the book.

I recommend the book, but I would consider twice before taking the expensive follow-up seminars (unless of course - your department is paying for them :))
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Correction Sgt. Review December 18, 2005
Format:Paperback
I am a Sgt. with A State Corrections Agency and have used the technique(before I even finished the book) in the steps so clearly stated: 1)Act,2)Set it in Context,3)Present Options,4)Confirm,5)Act(last resort force). Staff even were suprised how I diffused a few intense situations. You do have to work at it and I would suggest making a list of situations or conversations you have been in, then follow the book. Eventually I think it will become second nature. I attended a 2 hour free seminar, posed a question and received a 100% clear answer to the situation. After the session the book was much clearer. I have since read the book and ordering copies for some of my staff. A must read for any law enforcement. The way the information is organized in the book I rate about a 4, but content (The 5 steps) gets a 5. Overall rating is closest to a 5. You must apply the information. The book is one of my top 10 keepers.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
By T. Loo
Format:Paperback
Dr. Thompson's now widely taught system of conflict resolution, called Verbal Judo, does have some merit. It is taught at many police academies, law enforcement agencies, and civilan companies as a way of deescalating anger through empathetic speech. His book is a collection of techniques mixed in with some entertaining police stories.

The first problem I had with Dr. Thompson's book was that the techniques on Verbal Judo were hidden among all the police stories and it became unclear what the actual steps to Verbal Judo was. Granted, the book was entertaining to read, but if you wanted to cut right down to the step-by-step guide on how to resolve conflict with verbal judo, then good luck finding it because it is hard to find.

The second problem I had with the material in the book was that the principles Dr. Thompson teaches to resolve conflict are a bit oversimplified. Essentially, Dr. Thompson is preaching active listening skills to address the concerns of the other party, but this is only one small portion of the bigger picture--and that is reaching an agreement through negotiation. Dr. Thompson touches on a few aspects of negotiation, but not enough for any rookie police officer to gain a firm understanding in. I would have liked to have read more about how to deal with verbal attacks, which was not very clear in the book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful principles for dealing with difficult people December 16, 2005
By Sun Tzu
Format:Paperback
I couldn't describe this book as a complete system of communication, but it definitely does have some useful things to say about dealing with difficult people.

It puts the subject in good perspective and gives the reader some tools to deal with the inevitable aggression that everyone has to deal with in day-to-day transactions.

What I like about this book is that gives guidelines so that the reader can create a convincing illusion of, or even a genuine episode of empathy with the person they are dealing with.

But what I really like is the author's emphasis on the fact that he doesn't really have to care about the difficult people he deals with, he just has to pretend he does.

In that way, we put on a suit of professionalism when we go to work and we leave our personal selves at home.

The professional self never loses their cool, never lets insults get to them and does what they need to do in order to successfully complete their daily transactions.

The verbal judo ideas are not exactly a scientifically-proven system. They are what the author has picked up from his and other police personnel's experience.

This minor point aside, this is a book worth reading by anyone who has to deal with difficult people and wants to know how to keep their cool and not feel they are giving in to the enemy.

If you are one of these people, I'd recommend you check it out.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Verbal Judo On the Job June 1, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It works! A little awkward at first but it really, really works! I work security in one of the worst areas of my city, plagued with high crime, gangs, and poverty. Using the techniques of Verbal Judo I have been able to defuse situations that could have turned very ugly without resorting to violence or dangerious confrontations.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Down-to-earth practical and interesting to read February 6, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author compares effective communication with martial arts, particularly judo, and illustrates his points through police stories, which makes the book both useful and interesting to read.

Throughout the book are interspersed quotes from Sun-tzu, like "To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill."

He distinguishes between 3 kinds of people: the nice, the difficult and the wimp. The nice people will do what you ask them the first time you ask them. They like to cooperate. Difficult people will not do what you tell them the first time you ask. It is their nature that makes them say "Why? What for?"

He adds that the 4 most popular questions Americans would ask are "Why?", "Who do you think you are to tell me what to do?", "Where do you get your authority?", and "What's in it for me?"

And wimps are the ones who sound like nice people, but are closet difficult people. To your face they say "Oh yes," "I agree," "You're right", but later they get you in the back. Wimps hate authority, but they don't have the guts to challenge you. They want revenge because they feel the need to even the score.

The first principle of physical judo is to not resist your opponent. Instead, move with him and redirect his energy - and the communication skills presented in the book follow the same pattern.

The author mentions 11 things never to say to anyone (some of these statements may be more applicable to policemen on duty): "Come here!", "You wouldn't understand", "Because those are the rules", "It's none of your business", "What do you want me to do about it?", "Calm down!", "What's your problem?" "You never ..." or "You always ...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent book! I have used these techniques and it is amazing how they work!!!!!!! Recommend this book to all Law Enforcement.
Published 13 days ago by Kevin M. Dutrieux
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book but not up to the hype
The book is a good read, but not up the the hype of being a new method of interaction that can lead to better communication. Read more
Published 16 days ago by David M. Mecham
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed reading
I have really enjoyed reading this book. I am still trying to finish it but almost to the end. I have really enjoyed it
Published 16 days ago by Gladys R. Moak
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put the Book Down...
Couldn't put the book down, I received this book on a Friday afternoon and finished reading this book
on Monday afternoon. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Melanie Reyes
5.0 out of 5 stars very good book
I use the techniques i learned from this book all the time as a corrections officer. I pass this book on to nuggets just starting out
Published 1 month ago by Hugo Stiglitz
5.0 out of 5 stars best book ever
I suggest all people read this book. it so helps you with communication with other people, especially in stressful times. this book is on My reading list.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising insights
This book plainly explains what a lot of us know, but refuse to understand. Concepts like why it's never a good idea to tell someone to calm down or why to not speak in absolutes... Read more
Published 1 month ago by rfphill
4.0 out of 5 stars is ok but nothing new
This book is good for review but needs to be revamped. They put a new cover on it but the content is the same and seems very 90s. Read more
Published 2 months ago by suzanna
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book- a must
While going through a course in one of my CJ classes, the instructor had mentioned verbal judo. I was curious to find out more about it because he said it was an excellent program,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jasmine
4.0 out of 5 stars Verbal Judo 101
Everything you want to know on how to speak better
Everything you want to know to handle tough situations
Just a couple things you will learn from this man who wrote this... Read more
Published 2 months ago by les howard
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