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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read!
How often has someone you work with driven you completely up the wall, and you swear you can't take it anymore? What's the matter with them, you mutter, why can't they just change so they aren't so annoying? Perhaps it is time to rethink things.

Let's face it, they aren't ever going to change, so instead, why not change your reaction to their maddening...
Published on March 14, 2006 by Armchair Interviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect a miracle!
The book has its strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths: Useful anecdotes support the material and spur thought in the reader. The anecdotes can be cathartic, as can the methods the authors outline. (It will also make you healthier - the first "release" is an order to exercise!) Also, I don't think any other writers have written a similar book, at least in a way...
Published 17 months ago by econdude


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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read!, March 14, 2006
By 
How often has someone you work with driven you completely up the wall, and you swear you can't take it anymore? What's the matter with them, you mutter, why can't they just change so they aren't so annoying? Perhaps it is time to rethink things.

Let's face it, they aren't ever going to change, so instead, why not change your reaction to their maddening behavior? Or maybe the problem isn't your nutty co-worker or boss. Did you ever stop to

think that you might just be your own worst enemy at work by dint of your irritating quirks?

Whatever your work situation, this book has with not only the symptoms but also the cure for what ails you. The authors use questionnaires, anecdotes, and specific scenarios to come up with solutions to various work situations.

Katherine Crowley, a Harvard-trained psychotherapist, and Kathi Elster, a small business expert, combined their expertise in this book.

Each chapter describes the problem behavior, how you might be

exacerbating the problem, and actions you can take to change your

reaction to the behavior and thereby create a different result. The

authors believe that the one factor having the most impact on a satisfying work environment is being able to master your state of mind, and after reading this book, I agree.

They describe emotional "hooks" and delineate steps you can take to "unhook" yourself, along with setting boundaries at work.

They describe the "Fatal Attractions," who suck you into their webs: the exploder, the empty pit, saboteur, pedestal smasher, and the chip-on-the-shoulder, all of whom make life miserable.

But managers also have their own crosses to bear in the form of parenting their recalcitrant charges, the employees, a.k.a. the chronically delayed, MIA, cynics, passive-aggressives,

attention-seekers, bad attitudes, slugs, addicts, and the thief.

The authors' contention that..."If you can change your reaction,

you'll change your life" resonated with me--not only in terms of my job, but also my life--and this book illuminated this for me.

Armchair Interviews says: If you don't have someone at work who drives you a little batty, you must work alone. This book is worth the read.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Strategies for Dealing with People at Work Who Drive You Crazy!, December 29, 2006
Having worked in the wireless industry for over 16 years, I was immediately drawn to the title of this book. Upon further thought though, the appeal of this book for me has less to do with wireless and more to do with the variety of different personalities I've encountered in my professional life - regardless of the industry.

A lot of books offer advice on how to deal with difficult people - particularly in personal relationships. This book takes a turn at helping people learn to cope with the personalities they have to deal with at work. Katherine Crowley is a psychotherapist and Kathi Elster is a small business expert; together they describe themselves as "undercover business therapists." While their focus on professional relationships is new, their message is familiar - "you can't change other people's behavior, but you can change your reaction to it."

Unhooking is the Key

The authors explain that changing your reaction starts with finding ways to "unhook" yourself from the situation, and they give specific examples of ways to tell - both physically and emotionally - whether you are 'hooked". Symptoms include headaches and fatigue, anger, depression and forgetfulness. Their "Four Pronged Unhooking Technique" is simple and is good, practical advice for anyone dealing with difficult people at work.

Not all Theory

While a lot of books give you theories on dealing with others, "Working With You is Killing Me" gives tips and examples on how to use the technique in real life business situations. And they don't assume it's only co-workers who drive you nuts: tips for obnoxious bosses are also presented.

Managing Up, Down and Sideways

Crowley and Elster not only deal with how to work with a difficult boss (Managing Up), their term for managing a team of people, or "Managing Down" - "Business Parenting" hits the mark perfectly (take it from someone who has managed large teams of people -- I could completely relate to their analogy of "problem children" as I read this section).

I also found the quiz that the authors present to help readers determine if their job is a good fit to be very helpful. Every company has its own culture and personality type that excels within that culture. This quiz is an effective tool to help you determine if the company or job you are in is the right one for you.

Considering the amount of stress workplace disharmony causes - on everyone involved - this is an important book. I found it easy-to-read with simple, practical steps that can be easily implemented in real life. I highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling with a co-worker, boss or subordinate at work!
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Happens When Working With You Is Killing Them?, March 11, 2006
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There is a lot to like about "Working With You Is Killing Me."

The authors use their years of business experience to cleverly categorize a number of boss types, work methods, co-worker habits, attitude issues, leadership styles et als. that are harmful to your working experience - and offer the means to overcome ("unhook from") them, often beginning with a massage, or a run, or walking the dog, or getting a facial to purge bad karma and rethink potential options. Putting a form of scientific method to resolving work related problems - including the reader's assessment of their own role in the problem - is a big part of the text. It provides an organized and controllable process to attempt issue resolution.

For me, the best part of the book, however, was the subject of "Managing Up," in which the authors urge their readers to take more control over their disappointing managers by using that same scientific method to manage them to preferred solutions. Good advice.

And, there are a number of self-help exercises to assess your fit with Corporate Culture, or to determine if you are hooked (emotionally distressed) by a "Fatal Attraction"-type manager etc. Again - good stuff and helpful to think about for many people, particularly the less experience workforce.

Still, I was caught in a bit of a dilemma. The book is written from the point of view of what do you do when someone else is causing emotional discomfort to you - as if you are the center of the universe. OK - that's why you bought the book. But, survey results from reputable researchers show that the primary reason for people remaining with their jobs is that they like their co-workers. Even more than their commitment to the work they do, they begin with liking their co-workers. Therefore, a collegial environment is critical to employee retention, customer satisfaction and business performance. This clearly suggests that there is a corresponding responsibility for each worker to fit in with their colleagues - even if minor personality traits or managerial quirks exist, and they always do.

The workplace isn't typically about achieving personalized justice, as much as it is about intelligent people grouping together to form an efficiently running and productive organization. Readers should not lose focus of this. Otherwise - "You" may be the person referenced as killing the climate (and your co-workers) in your quest to untrap yourself of the personal demons that ruin your day.

Overall, a good book, and a solid reference to have handy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch out troublemakers!, June 27, 2006
This book has it all. Good sound advice for dealing with all those Pain in the a*#! I wished I'd had this book years ago ...it would have saved me from many sleepless nights. It has given me the tools to identify and overcome the many challenges of corporate life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, February 24, 2008
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This book delivers.

In my experience, 99% of the books on professional relationships out there fall into either of two categories:

Most of them refuse to address - some even to accept - that a few people you encounter in the corporate world have pathological dysfunctions. These books dedicate all of their content to treat your inability to cope with differences between people's personalities and yours. "Change the way you react to other people and all your problems will vanish" is the axiom behind the pages, from cover to cover, in these texts.

Books in the second category, on the other hand, are usually written by mental health professionals and do address the presence of people with personality disorders in the working environment. Their recommendation is simple: just leave the place, as fast as you can. They paint a scary picture of the sociopath or borderline personality next door, and advise a bee line to the door, specially if next is a manager's door.

Problem is the landscape of the average corporation is a hodgepodge of dysfunctions and interpersonal mistakes - from the minor ones we all incur, to the full-fledged, unchecked, sociopathy. To further complicate things, it is becoming increasingly clear that, not only most personality disorders are actually co-dependency phenomena - i.e. "victim" and perpetrator are both entangled in a reinforcing relationship - but there is also a social component in the prevalence of dysfunctional leaders. Simply put, some cultures (be it a country or the firm you might work for) select and empower dysfunctional leaders.

Navigating far away from these considerations, Crowley and Elster's book very definitely assume there are all kinds of people and situations in a typical firm - as well as among the READERS of their book! We, readers, can find ourselves sometimes incurring in the infamous "fundamental attribution error" (assuming the person we are dealing with is moved by ill intention), some other times we may just lack one or two emotional skills, to deal with a not-that-complicated conflict. But - and in that "but" resides the uniqueness of "Working With You is Killing Me" - there are also occasions in which we are entangled in a dysfunctional relationship with someone with a personality problem.

Without explicitly labeling the "other part" as a dysfunctional person - what good would that do? - the authors do label the RELATIONSHIP as dysfunctional and address all the sides of the matter: the role the reader possibly has in it, the futility of expecting changes from the other person, and what can objectively be done to change the situation, without necessarily jumping out of the boat (just to run into another dysfunctional top dog, in the next job).

Another great source of value in "Working With You is Killing Me" are the abundant textual examples of how to phrase the messages the authors recommend, as well as how to prepare to deliver them. As the authors of "Influencer" emphatically remark, it is essential to have vicarious experiences - seeing how others handle difficult tasks - for us to learn that skill. Crowley and Elster's textual examples of speeches provide just that.

On the other hand, if something might be criticized in "Working With You is Killing Me", is the somewhat harsher-than-necessary tone of some of these examples. Though nobody could possibly be called aggressive, by spelling them, in my experience (and, I believe, in some authors' as well) their too impersonal undertone would probably create a barrier to a good leadership rapport. Che Guevara's words - "hay que endurecer-se pero sin perder la ternura" (one has to grow hard, but without losing the tenderness) - apply here.

That said, "Working With You is Killing Me" is a unique, must-read book, for anyone interested in on-the-job relationships, which, I suspect, probably includes all of us.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Reference Book To Keep In Your Business At All Times!!!, June 22, 2006
How many of us have worked with people who drive us crazy--many of us.
No matter how much experience we have or how little experience we have, this book is a great reference to rethink working with difficult people. Authors, Kathi Elster and Katherine Crowley have nailed it!!!

Thank you both
Sherri Rosen
Sherri Rosen Publicity LLC, NYC
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional book on dealing with difficult people at work, December 19, 2006
You know the type at work--the egocentric boss that likes to demean you with sarcastic comments (but he's only **joking**)and you do 9 out of 10 things right but it's that 1 that bothers him and he takes you to task for it. The co-worker who uses your space all the time leaving his trash on you desk (or in your car if you do outside sales). These are the types of people that cross the line and can make work a toxic experience.

Your also in this book as well. You may be the hero, the rebel one of many different types that are branded by co-workers and bosses because of one or two things you've done. It's effected your career and inadvertantly your life.

Authors Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster (one is a business owner/consultant the other a therapist)discuss ways to "unhook" from these experiences to allow you to get through them. If the behavior continues (after you've taken corrective action--if it's a boss it's more difficult to do and you usually need to prepare your resume. They're upfront about when that time arrives, too.)they suggest ways to deal with it either through suggesting ways to change behavior or to leave the company.

The suggestions are good if a bit simplistic for example it may take a lot more work than is hinted at in the book to try and change behavior (if you can and admittedly they are the first to suggest that you probably can't except for yourself)but they provide steps that would help you to do so if the person has any self awareness of how toxic they can be (and if not they make suggestions to help you make them aware of it politely). Overall this is a terrific book that will help you "detach" and live your life vs. live your work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things you may already know...., December 7, 2006
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The CD was very easy listening. Most of the CD/book spent time explaining tools you may already understand, but may not know how to use. The books is helpful to anyone just starting their career and have to work in a large office space. The hooks and types of people at work were very interesting. I thought the explanation of how to handle the siuation when a peer announces your idea as their own during a meeting to be pretty helpful. This actually does happen quite a bit, especially in the consulting areas.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult People and Situations Solved!, May 17, 2006
Crowley and Elster have written a refreshing and extremely helpful book on how to deal with problem people and situations. The book focuses on work relationships, but I found it very useful dealing with people in all walks of life, including my family. I have the Hardcover and Audio versions and use both. I recommended the book or audio version (Audible.com) to anyone who has a problem with work relationships or any other relationship. This is a perfect book to give a graduating Seniors or College students as they get ready to join the business world. It is a must read for everyone in business!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strategies That Work!!, May 10, 2006
Crowley and Elster have created a 'must read' for anyone who has ever worked or managed. The strategies for "unhooking" from toxic people in the workplace can salvage any employee's passion and increase satisfaction and productivity.
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Working With You is Killing Me: Freeing Yourself from Emotional Traps at Work
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