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Dealing with People You Can't Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst Paperback – February 27, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst!...Now Totally Revised for a New Generation of Bothersome Behaviors

Since this best-selling book first appeared, the world has changed dramatically.

Technology has spawned a whole new breed of annoyances. From cell-phone chatters to E-mail spammers to voice-mail hogs, life today is filled with even more people you can't stand!

It's the guy in the supermarket line who is talking on his cell phone instead of unloading his cart...

It's the E-mail "buddy" who jams your in-box with annoying jokes, petitions, and other junk mail...

It's the boss who behaves like a bully and a petty tyrant, and has the power to get away with it...

It's the co-worker who promises results, but never delivers when the chips are down...

At best, such people can make life stressful and unpleasant. At worst, they can keep you from achieving important goals. The good news is that you don't have to let them do either! It's fully within your power to bring out the best behavior in people who are at their worst.

Sound impossible? It's not. Just ask the millions who have benefited from Brinkman and Kirschner's proven, innovative approach to dealing with difficult people. From this one-of-a-kind guide, you'll learn:

  • How to identify 10 bothersome behaviors, and deal successfully with each of them!
  • How difficult people think, what they fear, and why they act the way they do.
  • How to use advanced, sophisticated "listening techniques" to unlock the doors to people's minds, hearts, and deepest needs.
  • How to cultivate nine "take-charge" skills that turn conflict into cooperation by reducing the differences between people.
  • How to change the destructive behavior of the tank...the know-it-all...the grenade...the whiner...and many more!

About the Author

Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner are naturopathic physicians, professional speakers, and trainers, and the coauthors of the bestselling audio and video tapes How to Deal with Difficult People, which have sold more than 300,000 copies. Since 1980, they have shared their insights with audiences across the nation and around the world through their company, R&R Productions.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 2 edition (February 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071379444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071379441
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
You know these people from the office: the dominating Tank, the undermining Sniper, the explosive Grenade and the smarmy Know-It-All. For your sake, here's hoping you only have one or two of them running around your cubicle farm. Unfortunately, the work world is fraught with complainers, cheats, toadies and downers. To avoid becoming a downer yourself, you need coping strategies. Authors Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner describe 10 difficult, if slightly contrived, personalities and provide communications techniques for dealing with them. This is not a textbook, being slim on attributions and facts. It is, rather, a feel-good handbook of simple suggestions for using tactics and popular psychology to deal with someone you'd actually rather strangle. Given that choice, conversation is a better strategy. We hope it works for you, and suggests this light but well-intentioned book to human resources professionals, managers with problem employees and you, if you're feeling particularly homicidal about that knuckle-cracking, gum-popping slacker in the next cubby.
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If there are, and there always are, people that you can't stand, they are going to leap out of the pages of this book. There is always that ONE boss that really got under your skin, the is always ONE family member that sends you running for your room when they arrive, there is always that ONE friend that really shouldn't be called that, there is always that ONE sales check out clerk that makes a purchase nearly unbearable. This book goes a long way to make you recognize and name these people, but, just a little too short on how to deal with these people. It is more comic reading, than heavy psychological reading. Don't expect to suddenly love the people you can't stand, or even develop adequate skills in dealing with them, but you will realize that it is OK to feel the way you do about them. Anybody would.
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This is an excellent, well-written, humorous and very practical book on dealing with difficult personalities. It is a quick read, but it is packed with useful information for dealing with different personality types at their worst.

In this book, the authors identify ten basic personalities that fall at different points between two dimensions: aggression-passivity and whether they are primarily task-oriented or people-oriented. It is a very simple model, but it is powerful and works well in a business environment.

There are many good stories, cartoons and boxes with summaries of how to handle various types of people in difficult situations. I have field-tested the ideas and they are sound and work well in practice.

Having insight into your own style is also worth being aware of. You will no doubt see yourself in these pages and more than likely will laugh out loud. More importantly, you will also raise your awareness so that you will have more choice in difficult situations.

This book should be on all managers shelves. It is a useful tool for deciphering the behavior of people much different from yourself.
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There are so many nut cases out there that we have to deal with;

This book describes EXACTLY what kind of person he or she is,

and their motives (equally important), and explains how to get them to listen to you. Although it pictures office situations, they

work for ANYONE (mothers-in-law, children,family members, etc.)

This book is treasure!
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Format: Paperback
This book provides lots of useful advice for corporate communication that can be applied to personal lives as well. In particular, The Lens of Understanding is a highly valuable way to figure out people's motivations.

Instead of getting annoyed or perplexed by seemingly illogical behaviors, the authors suggest that we try to appreciate the intent of the irritating person: Are they seeking approval, attention, control, or perfection? I have found this system to be quite useful in everyday interactions.

The style of "Dealing With People You Can't Stand" is highly readable. Although the table of contents is illustrated and detailed, an index would have made the book even more accessible for researching and re-reading.

Leslie Halpern, author of Reel Romance: The Lovers' Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies and Dreams on Film: The Cinematic Struggle Between Art and Science.
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I saw an opportunity to apply a technique from this book on my 16 yr old for an event that was potentially a daily problem. It immediately worked and I have not had that problem with him since. Most of the interpersonal problems I see at home or in the work place are really kind of petty and involve
1) Misunderstanding the other person's motives
2) No effective plan to clear the air
The two Ricks offer us simple ways to address the issue. In the process, one gains insight into what the other person was thinking and how the affair got out of hand. In every case, the techniques involve confrontation, but controlled, minimally threatening, and supportive to the behavior-impaired party.

The secret to handling difficult people, as pointed out in the book, is a modification in your response to their behavior, i.e., the initial change has to be yours! In some cases, they can be totally disarmed quite easily by the right words.

Some of the "caricatured" examples in the Ricks' book are sick and would just require too much maintenance and/or a referral to a psychiatrist. Real crazies are not going to give up whatever wierd secondary gains they're getting from their idiotic methods. Even those, however, would be at least temporarily susceptible to the empathetic & helpful confrontational yet supportive techniques this book offers.

Since everyone usually possesses at least a few of these 10 difficult personality characteristics to some degree, it's hard not to see yourself in this book. This was appropriately humbling for me and I am finding myself to be more tolerant of others. What more can you ask of a self-help book?
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