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How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable: Getting Your Point Across with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense Paperback – April 8, 1997
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From the Back Cover
As bestselling author Suzette Haden Elgin proves, you don't have to live your life on red alert. With her Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense techniques, you'll be able to respond clearly to hostile comments from others—or deliver necessary negative messages of your own—without sacrificing your dignity or principles. You'll learn to:
- Keep domestic disagreements from escalating
- Deliver criticism to coworkers, employers, or employees
- Handle aggressive, negative comments about race, politics, or religion
- Provide discipline without increasing hostility
- Use language that reduces tension and creates rapport in every situation
About the Author
Suzette Haden Elgin, Ph.D., is the founder of the Ozark Center for Language Studies, near Huntsville, Arkansas. She is nationally recognized for her seminars and public speaking and is the author of ten books on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense, including Genderspeak, You Can't Say That to Me!, The Gentle Art of Communicating with Kids and Try to Feel It My Way (all published by Wiley)
Top customer reviews
Oh yes, practice what this books teaches every chance you can.
Her second argument is that this hostile language is a consequence of how we see disagreements: we very, very often see them as combat, which means that there must be a winner and a loser, and all is fair in war, so who cares about your feelings? I think this is an excellent observation on Elgin’s part, and does much to explain how malevolent so much conversation so readily becomes on the Internet (for example). Much, much better would be to treat disagreement as a shared opportunity to discover the truth—one to be pursued humbly and charitably.
I wonder, though, just how far Elgin is willing to go with her argument. She says that we have an obligation to avoid hostile language because of the consequences it often brings, and I am loath to disagree, but if we are to be held responsible for others’ reactions to our language, are we responsible for reactions to other things we do? To raise the obvious, controversial example: is a provocatively-dressed woman in any way responsible for any evil responses coming from the men around her? That sounds like blaming the victim of course, but if I am responsible in some way for how you react to my choice of words and tone of voice then it seems difficult to argue that a “tarted-up” woman in a singles bar can’t reasonably expect to avoid any blame for wolf whistles or worse (God forbid) directed her way. If I am wrong about this analogy to Elgin’s argument, I would be happy to learn why. As it stands, I can only wonder if Elgin sees this consequence of her overall argument.
A word must be said about the Kindle edition. It is terrible. It is pretty clear that no one bothered to proofread the OCR’ed text. It is posh with typos. Likewise, it is a disservice to readers of digital editions to leave references to “page 56” (for example) that have no meaning on our devices. How about hyperlinks instead?
I've been applying the techniques for a few months now, and it's been a life saver.
I can't recommend it enough. The author writes so clearly and concisely, you can only tell she's a brilliant woman.
I wish she were more famous.