I was lent this book in 2000 by a friend. I bought my own copy this year and re-read it. I have since bought copies for half a dozen friends, mainly, but not exclusively, women.
I do wish this rare gem of an author would write a unisex version. Gay men are going to be willing to give it a try, but probably most straight men will be put off by the title. This is a shame, because this is great stuff, beautifully expressed and relevant to everyone.
I bought the book while feeling pretty good about my own life, but decided I should re-read it before magnaminously sorting out the lives of my friends. How wrong I was. I realised by the last chapter that I had been working quite often in critical mode, subtly pushing people's guilt buttons, and then blaming them when they responded badly.
A very big plus is that, in a field dominated by Americans, this author is English, so she is more reflective, more low-key, and able to appeal to a broad range of people, from the New Age junkie to the sceptical hard-nosed intellectual. There is also nothing here which could conflict with any form of religious faith, or none.
If I have one reservation, it is that in some - not all - of the given examples I feel the assertive person verges on the unfeeling, if not rude. I once worked with a woman in a small department and her response to any request was: "No, I don't want to do that." The impression was a lack of willingness to consider anyone's needs except her own.
Does Anne Dickson get the balance perfectly right between assertiveness and selfishness? Not always. For this reason I give this otherwise brilliant book four stars.