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Customer Review

196 of 203 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much time describing, more time needed advising, November 3, 2007
This review is from: In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People (Paperback)
Overall, this book IS a good read. It describes the nasty people out there to a tee. But this book suffers from the same problem most other personality-disorder-type books have: the author spends 99% of the pages describing problematic individuals and only 1% advising how to deal with them. I might be completely wrong here, but I think most of us buy these types of books because we want to learn how to deal with people that frustrate us. For the most part, this is just another book telling us that yes, horrible people are indeed out there, and the author goes on page after page coming back to this central point. With the exception of a few pages, how you deal with these people is for you to figure out for yourself (despite the title of the book).

The gist of this book is that once you are aware that somebody is manipulative, that in itself should be comforting and that is how the author defines "dealing with" a manipulative person. Maybe I'm alone on this, but simply knowing that somebody has control issues while they are making a scene in front of me is not the least bit comforting.

You'll see this in other reviews as well, but there are some oddities to the book. Once you get past the typos and spacing quirks, you'll notice the author repeatedly states how other therapists and conventional psychology are all wrong and how - lucky for us - he came along with the "right" psychological descriptions of why terrible people are the way they are. This "yay for me" attitude is peppered throughout the book, ironically, and is distracting indeed, but not enough to be a purchasing deal breaker, I don't think.

I think I could have given this book more stars if I had read it first, but I just finished reading, "Nasty People" by Jay Carter and THAT is a five star book. Jay is a humble, educated guy who basically says, "Ok, here are the jerks out there and here's what ya gotta do." Although Jay still spends the majority of the book simply describing bad people, he does offer practical advice on how to deal with them, and gives word-for-word examples of what to say, and some body language examples you can use.

All in all, I guess you can't read too many books about people you don't want to be around so this book is worth the read.
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Showing 1-10 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 18, 2008 10:41:30 AM PST
TheBanshee says:
Thanks! I'll check out "Nasty People"! There are so many choices, and I have so few dollars :)

Posted on May 12, 2009 11:54:01 PM PDT
Thanks for your review. I think you are dead-on with your remark about most of us buying these books so that we can deal with these people.

Posted on Oct 15, 2009 8:17:39 AM PDT
Couldn't disagree more....this book was very informative to me to RECOGNIZE exactly what I haven't been able to put into words yet knew in my gut was wrong, yet felt rather "crazy" about. I have been dealing with it for 9 years and I am at the lowest point of my life, groveling to hang on to any inkling of self esteem that may be left. It is hard to deal with a person who tends to bend over backwards for you yet "goes off" for no reason and goes from "supporting" you, to a person who tries to make you feel the very worst about yourself. I've often "felt" that there was an "agenda" behind the "nice" things that he does....sort of an annoying "creepy feeling" that there was "something" to "owe him". I also realize that I have tried all the things that this book recommends, and the truth is that this person will never change.
I will read this book again.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2009 9:18:05 AM PST
funkyhuman says:
Carefull!
That books reviewer also says the same thing about that book. read here:
http://www.amazon.com/review/R38NUSKLH4XVI5/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R38NUSKLH4XVI5

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2009 9:30:49 AM PST
funkyhuman says:
ok so this book helped you define your "problem person"..........but did it tell you how to deal with it?
You dont mention that.

Are we not out to look for a solution [rather than just defining the problem]?

Posted on Jan 2, 2010 1:55:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 2, 2010 1:58:55 AM PST
This review in itself is very manipulative. It seems like this reviewer's main objective is diverting readers to another book rather than honestly reviewing Mr. Simon's treatise. My parents passed away within two weeks of each other in June 2005. They left me some mixed use real estate in desperate need of renovation. So I was thrust into the construction/renovation business in a "baptism by fire" manner. The construction industry is repleat with both consciously and unconsciously natural manipulators. I sought out books on manipulators in order to deal more effectively with behaviors that I found myself confronting over and over during these past five years. I read "In Sheep's Clothing" thoroughly and felt the book was very evenly balanced between describing manipulation tactics, the attitudes that leave us vulnerable to them as well as prescribing over 20 distinct strategies for confronting manipulative behaviors. I found the book a very easy read (I read it in less than two days) while still being rigorous in its treatment of this incredibly important topic. We live in a society where competition has caused an marked increase in covertly aggressive manipulation. Manipulation tactics or what are sometimes euphemistically called "advertising & sales techniques" have not only become more prevelant in one-on-one interactions but also in the mass media. I highly recommend "In Sheep's Clothing" as a credible guide book to recognizing, handling and defending ourselves against these kinds of manipulative behaviors.

Posted on Jun 5, 2010 6:01:47 AM PDT
Thank you.

Posted on Aug 13, 2010 10:19:37 AM PDT
BTrue2U says:
Sometimes these books are great just for validation, which you are unlikely to get from people with personality disorders. Crazy makers do just that......"gaslight" you. IN other words, make you wonder if it's them, or you. I believe the main reason these books become best sellers is because they, like a good therapist, are able to re-frame your experience back to you. This is validating, comforting, and allows you to breathe knowing it's not you, it's them. Very rarely do these books include anything but a few "cognitive" ways to deal with the people they write about. And in some passive aggressive therapies, the good therapists will tell you the therapy outcomes are pretty dismal with these types of people. So if you are looking for "modalities" and "objective" ways to deal with these folks, I'm afraid all of this Psycotherapy stuff is pure DIY in the end. Best to buy the books, read them, and figure out the way to deal with your particular person/situation yourself.

Posted on Aug 9, 2011 7:19:08 AM PDT
I have read this book and this review is spot on.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 6:35:24 AM PST
I understand what she means by advising, this book is very helpful as his next book regarding information on character and personality disorders. The people who have purchased these books are doing so because they have to deal with someone that is character flawed often either going to school with these individuals, working with these people, married to, dating or is a relative of some sort. The biggest problem we have is that we picked this book up because we already have them in our life, and most of us can't just leave, quit school, quit our jobs or disown that member of the family. This book is very helpful in that it helps you see new people in a different light, helps you understand the disordered person, but again coming from a point of neurosis is what got most of us in a pickle of frustration in the first place. We who have read this and other books have given these individuals "free passes" for too long, what I mean by this is, "oh, he/she did not mean it", or "they are probably stressed today", we make excuses for them because we think they really did not mean the angst they have caused us. What Dr. Simon is saying is, yes the do mean it, they are not sorry for it, and will continue to do it unless you say it is not acceptable. Once you started saying, this action, your non action, this behavior is not acceptable, and they cannot talk, threaten, or whatever they do to get you to do the work for them, they can blame you all day long, they will anyway, so you must be strong, say no, and don't waiver, say this is not acceptable, end the discussion before they talk you out of it. It is not easy, you want to come from a place of understanding but that place now has to be an understanding your needs are not being met, and come from that place, rather than from trying to figure them out and quiet the chiaos that they are creating.
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