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Working with Difficult People Paperback – March 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Have you ever agonized over how to handle a bully in the workplace--with pie-in-the-face retribution or a saintly smile? "The 100 people you'll meet on these pages," Muriel Solomon teases in her introduction to this hard-hitting and entertaining guidebook, "should be founding members of E.O.O.--Equal Opportunity Offenders. They show no bias. They are as obnoxious to their bosses as they are to their bookkeepers." But the teasing segues into practical advice for those seeking to do their work in--if not kind circumstances--at least unthreatening ones.

Designed as an at-a-glance reference tool, this 10-part guide describes 10 kinds of culprits, from tyrants, bullies, and sadists to the pushy and presumptuous to connivers and camouflagers. Each type is first defined, allowing for a peek inside the heads of both victim and victimizer and offering a helpful strategy for facilitating tactful dialogues that serves as excellent advice for diffusing workplace tensions and hostilities.

You may recognize these types as thorns in your side or--worse--real threats to your sense of well-being and work performance. This reference book packs a wallop, not only restoring your self-esteem but allowing you to create better relationships with the people at work who make your life miserable. Working with Difficult People may not disarm the despicable, but it will supply you with the ammunition you need to put the control back in your camp. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Muriel Solomon has been working in communications for over 35 years. She teaches to companies throughout the USA, and wrote a syndicated column for the "Miami Herald "for many years.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall Press; Rev Exp edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735202915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735202917
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Noel Fong on January 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
I bought this book when it first came out over a decade ago. It's a classic (or should be). It covers the behavior in groups (e.g. "Pushy/Presumtious People", "Exploitive People") and further divides each group into how it is manifested in Bosses, Peers, and Suborbdinates. The author is very perceptive in describing the patterns, what insecurities drive people to behave that way, and methods for dealing with them. The advice is very practical and appropriate to the case. Sometimes it's on the order of "give them some attention to get a return", sometimes it's "define your boundaries" and sometimes it's "this is toxic, walk away."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James H. McDuffie on January 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
There is some useful information in the book. The book is divided into many different situations and types of people and this is useful. However many sections are very shallow and it seems that the sections that deal with the most difficult people tend to blame it on the recipient rather than the perpetrator. Also, there is a tendency to helplessness in the face of the worst offenders, i.e. there is nothing you can do. In reality this is seldom the case. But the desired actions may be dramatic and have far reaching consequences. It seems the book is written so as to offend none when some should be offended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Taylor TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Solomon (not King Solomon, but does have some of his wisdom) has written a good book for dealing with workers of three different classes: bosses, colleagues, and subordinates. The book is also broken down into 10 major areas in dealing with all three types:

1. Hostile/Angry.

2. Pushy/Presumptuous.

3. Deceitful/Underhanded.

4. Shrewd/Manipulative.

5. Rude/Abusive.

6. Egotistical/Self-Centered.

7. Proscrastinating/Vacillating.

8. Rigid/Obstinate.

9. Tight-Lipped/Taciturn.

10. Complaining/Critical.

Each section also contains:

1. A brief definition of the person and the personality characteristics typically displayed.

2. Hypothetically what you may be thinking of that person.

3. What the person hypothetically may be thinking about you and the work place.

4. A strategy for dealing with that person.

5. Tactical talk - suggested actual words you may use.

6. Closing tips on what else you can do.

I enjoyed the narrative's smooth flow and practical advice. However, I sometimes believe the author treated the situation and offender with kid gloves. In today's work environment, bosses, colleagues, and subordinates have to be decisive and firm with problem employess who threaten to disrupt a work environment that is already tense due to the nature of work and long hours put in by many employees. Sometimes you just have to either let people go or put them in a situation where they will have to adjust their behavior to get along!

I would recommend the book as a primer, not the last word on workplace relations. There are other ones out there (John Maxwell, Max Dupree, Larry Burkett, etc.) who may give more substantative advice on dealing with people in the work place. Still a good read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michellea David on April 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Try reading "Winning with Difficult people" instead of this book. This book did tell me about certain types of people and how to deal with them, but it didn't go into deal about why they are the way they are to others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
What is it about the human race? To paraphrase Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy LaSorda, 80% of people don't want to hear about your problems, and the other 20% are happy you're having trouble. Those 20%, that is the backstabbers, saboteurs, sadists, know-it-alls, insulters and hotheads, are the subject of Muriel Solomon's street-smart book. In it, the self-dubbed "strategic talking" expert categorizes many types of difficult people you might encounter at work. To make the book very applicable, she introduces each personality, explains why such individuals think as they do, how you are likely to react to their behavior, and what strategies you can use to protect yourself. Unless you work alone, getAbstract expects that you, like most team players, probably have your hands full dealing with a complete chorus of "false hounds" and "rascally knaves." This book can help you minimize their damage. Since you can't always get away from such people, you might as well learn how to put them in their place diplomatically. Or, if that doesn't work, you can quote Shakespeare: "I do desire we may be better strangers." Forsooth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BDS on August 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have recommend this book often over the years. Unlike other similar titled books, Solomon takes the approach of dealing with varyious personality types from different perspectives - form a subordinate, peer, or boss POV. Same issue - but if not managed from the proper perspective can be lethal and blow up. (Try treating your biligerent boss like you would a biligerent subordinate and see what happens!) Highly recommended for new managers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Muriel Solomon speaks about the issues between people within the workforce and how one can face these issues. Whether it is bosses, colleagues or subordinates, there are ways to prevent catastrophic issues from getting worse.
Solomon does elaborate plenty about what types of individuals we might face. There are different types of people, such as sadists, perfectionists, worriers, intimidators, etc. There are many other types that exist. These workers can make it rather difficult to have a comfortable work zone. It makes it real unpleasant to put up with this almost every day when we go to work.
Solomon discusses how it is crucial to speak up about these types of situations. Solomon strongly believes that communication is vital and without it can critically jeopardize us within the workplace. Individuals, though, do not like to approach and confront these issues because we do not like confrontation. We as human beings do not enjoy it. Solomon does help us by giving info on how to approach the offender without actually being the attacker. By being mature, concise and clear on the issues, one can confront the issues without heated conflicts.
Solomon brings up many great topics, the different types of people, the different types of situations, what one might be feeling, thinking, etc. Solomon informs us what we might be able to see within the situation. He tries to be fair on both sides of the situation.
Although he does make very good points where we, the individual, can relate to, Solomon does lack enough evidence to prove his points and to prove that his resolutions might actually be effective. There is not enough evidence to persuade the reader to perform these types of solutions. I feel it lacks to connect with other types of crucial research.
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