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Take the Bully by the Horns: Stop Unethical, Uncooperative, or Unpleasant People from Running and Ruining Your Life Paperback – September 9, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The subtitle of Horn's treatise indicates just how much psychological ground he manages to cover in this encouraging how-to. Not just for kids on the playground anymore, bullying can have serious consequences for adults: violence, lawsuits, abuse and even death. Many of the "28 Ways to Lose Your Bully" strategies Horn (Tongue Fu) outlines are common sense, the same advice parents might give children after a rough recess: "Put Up a Brave Front," "Get Out of My Space," "Screw Up Your Courage." The number of mini-quizzes and aphoristic sayings make the book read like a large-scale PowerPoint presentation (not surprising, as Horn is a veteran of the corporate seminar circuit). Yet there's a realism here that is convincing: Horn's example situations include spouses who hit or cheat, spouses' bosses who grope, coaches who berate, false friends who cajole confidences, business partners who steal, neighbors who instill fear and people who chronically hit up family members for bail money (or "deja moo"). Role playing "Action Plans" for conversation help firm up psychic independence and avoid pointless, draining argument.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

"Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, genders, ages and professions," notes Horn (Tongue Fu!). True enough, but Horn's inconsistent writing and lack of useful tools drain this book of any worth. Confusingly titled chapters "Depend on the Kinkiness of Strangers," for example, concerns personal safety and self-defense render the table of contents useless. Good, albeit brief, chapters on school-yard bullies and using humor to defuse tension are outnumbered by those that mistake insensitivity for bullying or mismatch lessons and examples. This book covers much the same ground as Brandon Toropov's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Along with Difficult People and Robert M. Bramson's recently reprinted Coping with Difficult People. Compared with those books, Horn's work feels undercooked. Not recommended.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (September 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312320221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312320225
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most of us were taught to be nice and want to believe that being nice will "work," but this author discourages practicing the golden rule to the point of becoming the "golden fool." The author explains the tactics we normally use with other people and explains why these tactics don't work with bullies and in fact may encourage the bully to intensify his or her efforts. For instance, while active listening and empathy may help in many cases, giving a bully a sympathetic ear will perpetuate the abuse. This will be useful to you if you have received well-meaning but misguided advice to be nice to or in some way accommodate the bully. The first 65 or so pages flesh out the problem, help you understand why it is appropriate to defend yourself, etc. Most of the remaining 250 or so pages help you learn what to say. The author provides LOTS of examples. For instance, instead of saying "I don't think it's very nice of you to say I'm a terrible cook," you should say "If you don't like my cooking, you're welcome to fix your own dinner." Such a response does not enter into a debate regarding the accusation.
Another book, "The Bully At Work," has until now been perhaps the primary source for those dealing with bullies at work, It is a well-researched and credible book that validates a target's experience and helps with options for dealing with the system (i.e., Human Resources). By contrast "Take the Bully by the Horns" has the greater emphasis on teaching very specific responses to a bully and has perhaps a wider application. Both books are valuable, but "Take the Bully by the Horns" is the best for "how to." It is an uncommonly useful self-help book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is probably a great book for the majority of people who have problems with bullies. Unfortunately, it doesn't at all address the problem of having a bully for a boss. It does touch on the problem where a boss might have a bully for an employee, but since management is normally on the boss's side, I don't feel that there's much here for people who are being bullied by their employers. This may limit the book's usefulness for those who feel trapped between an abusive employer and a hostile job market.
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Format: Hardcover
I worked with a bully and I tried all the win-win techniques other experts suggest. Not only did they not help, they made the situation worse. This author says that bullies only respect strength and they see kindness as weakness. One of her suggestions made the whole book worthwhile. She said to use the word "you" instead of the word "I" when dealing with a bully because "I" words come across as whining and "you" words (i.e., "You used to get away with that, you don't get away with that anymore) hold bullies accountable. If you have someone in your life who is taking advantage of your good nature, get this book. It's a lifesaver.
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Format: Paperback
If you know one person in your life that tries to make you feel small - get this book! I have been through so many courses of trying to Parent After Separation - the General Course and High Conflict. It is all about getting along. Well, what if there is no way to get along with a person who wants to control your life but says that everything they do is in the best interest of your child. Bull! The high conflict course should include many points from this book. I have been informed that unless this unruly bully hits me- the verbal and psychological abuse does not hold any allegations against this person. So with Sam Horn's help - I am taking matters into my own hands - I am goint to take her advice and stop being the people pleaser - because the nicer you are to a bully - the more they try to take advantage of the nice girl(mom). The next communication course that I am forced to take by the courts - I will be recommending this book for parents who have difficulties dealing with the father or mother of their child who is an all out BULLY. I am hoping that by reading this book I can prevent my child from being bullied on the playground as well as prevent him from following in his Dad's footsteps. If Sam Horn came to this city - I would stand in line to get tickets. I am a school teacher and never in my life did I think "Bullies" left the playground. Thank you for making things clear just when I was being told that I was the one that was crazy. I almost started to believe it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read countless self-help books, but this is the most on-target, put-into-practice-right-away book I have found so far.

From start to finish, the author offers many examples of common situations where you can almost painlessly learn to speak up for yourself. Ms. Horn assists beautifully by supplying the precise, straightforward language necessary to disarm those who cross boundaries, don't play fair or otherwise look to take advantage.

The author demonstrates over and over that you *can* take the bullies by the horns, stop 'em in their tracks and maintain your dignity in the process.

This book is for nice people everywhere who are looking for the right words and need a little help in the courage department to do what needs to be done in a world gone mad.
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