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Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion Paperback – September 15, 1989

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Revised from the 1983 edition, this update includes new material on highway anger and violence in sports, young women's anger, and strategies for getting through specific anger problems, chronic anger, family anger, etc. Still "recommended for most popular collections" ( LJ 1/1/83). BOMC and Quality Paperback alternate selections; serialized in Psychology Today and Reader's Digest. -- MR
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Los Angeles Times Witty, provocative, and impressively documented, this work lights a candle in cursed darkness.

Dr. Ashley Montagu author of The Nature of Human Aggression This book is not only the best of its kind ever written, but the most helpfully enlightening I have ever read.

The New York Times Intelligent and witty, Tavris shows us how to use the anger of hope to avoid falling into the anger of despair.

Philadelphia Inquirer Enlightening and reassuring. Her calm approach to a volatile subject is a welcome tonic for our times.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone / Simon & Schuster; Revised edition (September 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671675230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671675233
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Carol Tavris offers some very practical advice. Apart from when the expression of anger is intended to dissolve a relationship, anger becomes effective when: (1) the anger is directed at the offending person (telling friends may increase anger); (2) the expression satisfies your need to influence the situation and/or correct an injustice; and, (3) your approach seems likely to change the other person's behavior, which means you can express yourself so they can understand your point of view and so they will cooperate with you. She takes issue with those who would encourage venting. Like Harriet Goldhor Lerner, her goal is change.
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By A Customer on June 22, 1997
Format: Paperback
Dr. Tavris has based this book on serious research on the subject of anger. She debunks many of the pop myths about the purpose of anger and helps the reader to understand the causes of expressed anger. Her central point is that anger is a self-reinforcing mechanism that does not have healthy outcomes in itself. She explains the physiological purpose and effects of anger, pointing out that we really don't need to be angry in our lives.

Instead she suggests various models and techniques to help understand what "sets us off" and how to manage anger. A number of situations are covered and illustrated by personal and clinical examples.

This is not a prescription for a quick fix for quick tempers - while Dr. Tavris is sympathetic about the many reasons why we get angry, she avoids simplistic behavioral techniques as well as overly introspective ones
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Format: Paperback
I first read this book about eight years ago. Though some of Ms. Tavris' analysis is suspect, the vast majority is well-founded and accurate IF YOU APPROACH IT WITH AN OPEN MIND. Unfortunately, simply implying that anger is a learned, self-controllable response provokes a very angry reaction in many people (see other reviews) that makes it hard to get the point across. Tavris has a lot to say. Unfortunately, very few people will listen.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Psychology has been a side interest of mine since 1970. Over the years I've read a number of books on anger, ALL of which I've considered to be poor! Carol's book stands out as a delightful exception.

Carol Tavris is a social psychologist. As such she has received considerable training in science (unlike clinical psychologists), and it shows. Her concepts have an empirical foundation, and are consistent with the teachings of cognitive behavior therapy - which happens to be by far the most successful type of psychotherapy.

She explains what's wrong (and why) with a number of popular notions about anger, some of which are even held by many clinical psychologists, such as "ventilation" and certain efforts at catharsis. She provides information on how to use anger constructively, and also on how to diminish anger without being aggressive or hostile. An excellent book!
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Format: Paperback
I have not written a book ! am not a psychologist or psychoanalyst ! and I am often a very angry person (wife and mother especially and Ms Travis has insight about this kind of problems). I went through therapy thinking I was going to discover some awful thing that had happened in my past but could not uncover anything and I have to come to terms with what is only MY problem eventually. It did make me a more open and dynamic person though and this experience for me was quite well explained by Carol Tavris` book.
I think the angry reviews in part misunderstand what she wrote. It is not true that she "ignores the fact that different individuals have learned different ways! of dealing with frustration and anger" as the writer of another book on the subject puts it. She quite acknowledges that. She also thinks anger is useful in certain ways.
Please read or re-read her book. It is refreshing, full of humor and yes she has some reason to criticize the ALLMIGHTY UNCONSCIOUS that unconscious shrinks interpret as they wish. Good thing that the unconscious cannot talk back !!!
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Format: Hardcover
Carol Tavris has written a clear, informative, interesting, and meaningful analysis of anger. She documents the various ways in which anger has been understood versus misunderstood by leading (popular) self-help authors and researchers, and distills from these various treatments helpful guidelines for understanding and managing anger. Carol Tavris is one of those rare writers whose writings are informed by a conscientious reading of research coupled with commonsense conclusions suggestive of easy to understand, helpful behavioral guidance. This book is a winner!
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Format: Paperback
This book is extremely well written and contains many fascinating little tidbits of info on history, culture, religion and philosophy, but it was ultimately a bad book on anger. Anger is indeed the "misunderstood emotion" and Dr. Tavris understands it least of all. For her it is a mere social and/or political construct that is bad and can be programmed away. Her attitude reminds me of that old Twilight Zone eppisode aboute the society where everyone had to think "happy thoghts" all the time because the dictator could read your mind and would do horrible things to you if you weren't sunny and joyful. It seems obvious to me that the feelings in the rich spectrum of human emotions are fundamentally good because they were given to us by nature to enhance our survival if used properly. "Dark" emotions such as anger are tools to protect the self and the soul against physical or spiritual predators. Certainly many people overemphasize anger, but they are usually people who have been hurt a lot, so their defense systems have been programmed to be over-active. In her zeal against this emotion, Dr. Tavris glorifies cultures and religions that share her distaste for expressions of anger. Two of her favorites tend to be the early Christians (before the converion of the barbarians) and the traditional Japanese. Admittedly both of these groups had good traits, but they obviosly suffered from their rigid emotional control. For instance, they turned their anger against themselves. Frankly, I would rather live in a culture that tolerates a little too much swearing and bickering than cultures where the highest expression of virtue is to be fed to lions or to impale oneself on a sword.Read more ›
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