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44 Reviews
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful tools
I've known a lot of the theories about personal interaction for a long time but have not previously come across such a simple explanation of how to put them into practice. Just knowing how to deal with those awkward, exasperating and manipulative people seems to increase the buffer zone. I believe that such people can often perceive that they are unable to get the...
Published on 14 Dec 2010 by Pedro Conejo

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter pap
This was a bitter disappointment, especially after reading so many good reviews about the book. To be told to 'use silence' when dealing with difficult people was poor advice and I quickly started to lose heart. Much of the book is written in a way that you feel the author wants you to like him as a person. Shame. What I wanted was practical tools for dealing with...
Published on 16 Aug 2011 by Crampy


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful tools, 14 Dec 2010
By 
Pedro Conejo (Fuerteventura, Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Water Off a Duck's Back: How to Deal with Frustrating Situations, Awkward, Exasperating and Manipulative People and... Keep Smiling! (Paperback)
I've known a lot of the theories about personal interaction for a long time but have not previously come across such a simple explanation of how to put them into practice. Just knowing how to deal with those awkward, exasperating and manipulative people seems to increase the buffer zone. I believe that such people can often perceive that they are unable to get the response they crave and so don't bother trying at an early stage. It provides an excellent series of practical suggestions to help a person step back from a highly emotive situation and start dealing with it successfully, or better still, prevent an on-going situation from developing.
The book is written in an easy and accessible style. It is sufficiently structured that it can be used for reference but is also informal enough to permit easy reading. The use of humour is very well balanced and allows the reader to refocus periodically.
I haven't given it five stars because I am uptight enough to have noticed the kind of errors that creep in when creating works on a computer screen and then editing them later (I can't even write a simple review without errors). You can't beat a good proof-reader and editor. That's more an issue for the publisher than the author though and it does not reflect on the quality of the principles provided.
If you are having to deal with awkward, exasperating and manipulative people (or just one) then this could be a very useful book for you.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IF YOU NEED A HELPING HAND ON HOW TO SURVIVE IN THIS LIFE. . .THIS IS THE BOOK., 25 Jun 2009
By 
David Birch (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Water Off a Duck's Back: How to Deal with Frustrating Situations, Awkward, Exasperating and Manipulative People and... Keep Smiling! (Paperback)
It's not what happens to us in this life it's how we handle it that counts, and this book is full of survival techniques and brilliant coping strategies to assist the reader to do just that.

The book is written in a humerous, practical and easy to understand way.

I am a counsellor myself but I too have learnt a lot of new skills thanks to this book, I have even suggested to some of my clients to get the book as it is so good.

I highly recommend this book.

David Birch
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read !!!, 20 Jun 2009
By 
Hambone "Grib" (Burgess Hill, West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Water Off a Duck's Back: How to Deal with Frustrating Situations, Awkward, Exasperating and Manipulative People and... Keep Smiling! (Paperback)
This is a self-help book that REALLY works!

Unlike some books that talk a lot about theory, or esoteric intricacies of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), the author has achieved the rare feat of producing a book that takes the very best of what actually works in practice, the most powerful and useful tools, and packaged them together in one easy to read and easily accessible book.

The structure, which clearly identifies more than 100 tips, tactics and techniques will also appeal to pragmatists who want to know exactly how to apply the tools quickly, easily and effectively in the `real world'.

Another thing that I liked about `Water Off a Duck's Back' is the humour with which the author has communicated the material; Jon has crammed his book with personal examples and anecdotes which really bring the theory and techniques to life; they're quite `eye-opening' and in several cases extremely funny! As a parent, I particularly related to the examples of dealing with teenagers, but also found the section about how to deal with telephone sales people hilarious and I've already tried out some of the author's suggestions on them when they ring!

Perhaps the best thing about this book however, is that it has cut out all of the waffle and nonsense that is often talked about in terms of how to deal with people, and the author quickly and incisively gets straight to the point and reveals what really works in practice. I'm already using a lot of the techniques and they really are making a difference!

This is definitely one of the very best books on this subject that I have read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, 12 April 2011
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This review is from: Water Off a Duck's Back: How to Deal with Frustrating Situations, Awkward, Exasperating and Manipulative People and... Keep Smiling! (Paperback)
An excellent and very readable book split into two parts.

The first part encourages you to take a long hard look at yourself and certainly makes you think of a few home truths, and what you can do about them.

The second part is packed full of tips and tricks which once you've read them seem obvious. However they weren't obvious before you read them.

Of course the acid test is do the techniques in the book work. In my case yes they do, and I thoroughly recommend it. Worth every penny.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed!!, 4 Nov 2010
This review is from: Water Off a Duck's Back: How to Deal with Frustrating Situations, Awkward, Exasperating and Manipulative People and... Keep Smiling! (Paperback)
I was going through a bad time with relatives and was feeling really down. However, on reading this book, I found I could apply so many tips and ideas to the situation that Jon helped me turn the situation right around and I felt as if a cloud had lifted off me. Throughout the book, Jon managed to raise loud cackles and guffaws from me - he has an easy humourous style and it is not forced at all unlike with some other authors. I particularly enjoyed his suggestion of how to deal with unwanted telephone callers: Something along the lines of 'yes, we just decided to get a conservatory today, as it happens, but just a minute, I quickly need to go and attend to something on the cooker' . I can't wait to try that one.
Read this and you'll feel much better about the annoying people in your life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to deal with difficult people, 7 Nov 2012
This review is from: Water Off a Duck's Back: How to Deal with Frustrating Situations, Awkward, Exasperating and Manipulative People and... Keep Smiling! (Paperback)
This book helped me a lot to question myself in dealing with difficult people.
How to take a better, more relaxed/calm, down to earth approach, and change how you react instead of trying to change other people (whom you canNOT change btw).
How to take a deep breath before saying irrational emotional stuff, still with good 'health warnings' that remind you to not exaggerate any of the advice. Exaggeration is never good for anything.

It helps you spend your energy more wisely (on the more important thins in life), and to view life in another perspective. Even helps you to control your way of thinking in a way.
The examples are also very down-to-earth and useful.
My personal fav. from the book is:
the using of - dolby surround super HD movie viewing - for positive events in your mind. And the - far away black and white fuzzy unclear broken screen - for negative memories.

How to cope with stress, manipulation, harsh persons, etc. it's all there! How to recognise manipulation or peer-pressure (just as important). And how to question these manipulations on the spot. Even use their manipulation to your advantage. React in such a way it's a positive outcome ideally for all parties, or at least yourself. There are always alternatives.
How to move on quickly from these energy sucking events.

Stay calm, question everything, and spend your energy wisely.

I also like it that he always writes in a positive way, doesn't wish difficult people bad things. He wouldn't want you to become a manipulator yourself, he wants you to use givens positively, give you some power-tools so you're not the victim. There's a difference. Also if it means to dodge 'dementors', or if you tried everything else, using one of you're last less kind resorts.

Most importantly, it's not written in your boring common average style. It's very fluent, easy to read, not too long. (With some typo's here and there, but hey, who's perfect). The message really came through to me.

A (starters) guide to happiness.

I definitely recommend this book for anyone who's open for new ideas.
Just read it ;-) you'll see.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, duck., 8 July 2011
This review is from: Water Off a Duck's Back: How to Deal with Frustrating Situations, Awkward, Exasperating and Manipulative People and... Keep Smiling! (Paperback)
This book is a useful read for anyone who needs to communicate with other people in social and work situations without being too 'nice'.
The author draws on disciplines such as NLP, logic and the teachings of Dale Carnegie,(How To Win Friends And Influence People)

I have to agree with the reviewer that there are a lot of clichés and long-winded elaborations, the editing could have been a lot tighter, as the 'nuggets' take some getting to.

The techniques, though not necessarily original, are, nevertheless, presented in a humorous enough way for you to gain something from them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical advise, well presented, 18 Mar 2013
This review is from: Water Off a Duck's Back: How to Deal with Frustrating Situations, Awkward, Exasperating and Manipulative People and... Keep Smiling! (Paperback)
One of the hardest things, particularly as you get older, is to deal with your own frustrations before you deal with the job or person in front of you, and this book has helped me with many such situations. I was particularly impressed by the engaging way the book was written; it made the subjects easy to grasp and most scenarios will work in both the office and home environments. Many such books state the obvious at the beginning and then just repeat it all the way through; this one covers a wide range of situations, so it doesn't get repetitive.
Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone., 2 Aug 2012
By 
Vagabond (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Water Off a Duck's Back: How to Deal with Frustrating Situations, Awkward, Exasperating and Manipulative People and... Keep Smiling! (Paperback)
I stumbled across this book while looking for another on an unrelated subject. For many years I have dealt with people from all walks of life in my work, the majority pleasant enough, but a major part of what I do involves getting to the bottom of matters where people are actively deceiving, defrauding and up to all manner of nefarious activity. As you can imagine, not only do I have to do the Sherlock bit to get to the truth but also deal with people and institutions that are less than happy with my interest who will often hinder and endeavour to gain what they want in no uncertain terms; afterall, they have much to lose. As a manager I also have to interact with staff with all manner of issues, which can be interesting to say the least. So, you say, what would I gain from this book, difficult people and situations are my bread and butter, it could only serve to tell me grass is green surely? Well, I didn't need the book from the point of view that I needed advice in dealing with awkward people and situations, but as someone who is always looking for ways to up my game and curious as to how others deal with the same situations as I.

Mostly for myself it's a breathe of fresh air, using tried and trusted methods with a different approach, which makes life that bit less dull. Some methods may work better than those I employ, others may not be for me, I've yet to find out but consider the more options available the better. There are also real life scenarios and anecdotes that are all-too familiar and had me chuckling away. On a lighter note, I have a few more spiels I can try on telesales callers for when I'm in the mood to actually answer the phone and have a bit of a parle.

I dipped in and out and just read the chapters that particularly appealed and this book is written in such a way that it's easy to do. There are no quick fixes here, these are complicated issues that deal with human nature so don't expect to be told 2 + 2 = 4. Don't read the book too quickly either would be my advice. It's natural with material like this to want to read the whole thing in one sitting and be equipped with your new found skills immediately. I learned a thing or two, and used the book as consolidation for some old faithfuls. As with anything in life, we become blinkered and after a period of time do not use things to their full potential. Books like this serve as a little wake up call. I took one newly acquired tip at a time and applied it just to see how it served me. Walk before you can run.

On a final note I would say that as someone reading this book who is familiar with the practices and approaches, it rings true. Jon Lavelle is not some hack jumping on a bandwagon to make a quick buck, as unfortunately is the case with all too many How To books.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter pap, 16 Aug 2011
This review is from: Water Off a Duck's Back: How to Deal with Frustrating Situations, Awkward, Exasperating and Manipulative People and... Keep Smiling! (Paperback)
This was a bitter disappointment, especially after reading so many good reviews about the book. To be told to 'use silence' when dealing with difficult people was poor advice and I quickly started to lose heart. Much of the book is written in a way that you feel the author wants you to like him as a person. Shame. What I wanted was practical tools for dealing with difficult people. Instead the book is full to brimming with irrelevant padding and meaningless asides. The good stuff in the book could have been written on one page! I'm sure you'll buy it and try it like I did, but if you're like me you'll soon become frustrated with the kindergarden exercises and tips.

In one sentence: An unsophisticated frustration.
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