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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing book!
I have recently gotten divorced and have struggled to understand what really happened. And why even after divorce my ex was still having an impact on my emotions. This book was written for me. I was blown away by how the author listed behaviours my ex displayed, and with his current 'games' I have been able to identify them straight off the shelf. This book has helped...
Published on 8 Nov. 2012 by Greene01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ponderously hard listening!
Although there were many interesting and valid points early on in the book, I felt it wasn't enough material to be turned into a book. It would have been more efficient and user-friendly as an essay and to have cut out the very long and ponderous stories and extremely convoluted vocabulary. My main criticism however was the audio book narration. After half an hour, Kevin...
Published on 12 Feb. 2013 by Vlad

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5.0 out of 5 stars opened my eyes to reality, 15 Aug. 2013
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this book describes a few people I know to a 'T' ! especially the person I've been struggling with (and not understanding why) for the majority of my adult life.

Dr Simon explodes the widely held belief that we are all basically the same from an emotional and moral standpoint. He makes sense.

I'm not yet decided whether I agree that those who are manipulative do it very deliberately. I can believe it of some people I've observed, but not all. With some i think it is more habit. I suppose the test is, on being challenged, will they be willing to think about what you say and change their uncaring behaviour?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When someone's game and control can no longer be distinguished and all you have left are uneasy feelings then read this book..., 28 Sept. 2014
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The tough meat in the sandwich of a (A Wolf) In Sheep's Clothing is Simon's assertion that western society has moved from a "don't even think about it" to "a just do it" culture which neurotic types often excuse away as "misunderstood" behaviour. This central message throws a light on the win-lose tactics adopted by covert aggressive types to help establish the tools a victim requires to become self-sufficient and capable in recognising, labelling and nullifying a manipulator's tactics - especially when it is often so hard to validate one's gut feelings without the clarity-making reassurance of objective aggressive evidence!

Covert aggressives are "not bothered" enough by the outcome of their own sexual or aggressive drives inflicted upon others and lack self-restraint. Quoted is an old therapeutic saying: "if a person is making himself miserable, he's probably neurotic, and if he's making everyone else miserable, they're probably CDO (Character Disorder), i.e. their thinking can be a cocktail of selfish-focused, possessive, all or nothing, egomanical, shameless, guiltless and looking for quick and easy results.

According to Simon the power tactics often employed by those wanting to manipulate a situation include: minimisation ("just" and "only" sentence structures as opposed to neurotic catastrophisation); lying by distortion or omission (elaboration or vagueness); selective inattention (not ADD); rationalisation as a form of persuasion but also as an absolution of manipulator guilt; distraction and diversion tactics; covert intimidatiory veiled threats; shaming tactics - subtle sarcasm and put downs to increase fear and self doubt; vilifying the victim; milking the servant role while fighting for dominance; seduction to increase trust and loyalty by charm, praise and flattery; projecting blame and feigning innocence as well as ignorance.

Certain tools of empowerment are also discussed at great length, and it was at this point that I quickly reached the conclusion that much of the nature of the material on offer here effectively amounts to commonly found assertiveness techniques. For example, see if you agree?:

1. Accept no excuses and stick religiously to the principle of civil conduct, but don't agree for the sake of it.
2. Judge actions not intentions, and don't try to mind read as it is practically impossible to get behind the mask of impression management tactics.
3. Remember like a cardinal sin failing to see the aggression in the tactics of another is how we get manipulated.
4. Set personal and reasonable limits to what you tolerate before taking counter action or disengaging.
5. Decide what action you will take to take better care of yourself, ie reasonable limits, for example what is your burden or disproportionate share of obligation.
6. Making direct requests with I statements gives little room for the manipulator to distort or claim they misunderstood and if you don't get a direct response you already know the manipulator is fighting or resisting.
7. Accept only direct responses after a clear direct request and ask again!
8. Stay focused on the here and now, not diversion and evasion tactics. Promises mean nothing. Change only takes place in the moment. "I will not talk to you unless you change your tone of voice" or "I am going to step outside until you connect to what I am asking!"
9. When confronting aggressive behaviour, keep the weight of responsibility on the aggressor to change no matter what tactics they use to throw the ball back.
10. When you confront avoid sarcasm, hostility and put downs as aggressive personalities are always looking for excuses to go to war with denial, selective inattention or blame.
11. Take action quickly and act at the first sign before any momentum builds.
12. Speak for your self and don't use others to bolster a position.
13. Make reasonable agreements appropriate, reliable, verifiable and enforceable, and make promises you can keep, and don't ask for something you know you are not likely to get.
14. Propose win-win situations as it puts to use the aggressive personality's determination to win.
15. Be prepared for consequences by anticipating them by developing support systems.
16. Be honest with yourself about your needs and desires.

It has to be said that there is an awful lot of solid wisdom which this book provides but not enough to separate it from other books on assertiveness. Where it does succeed is in trail blazing a new psychological category to add to the more often classified interactive styles known as agressive, submissive and passive aggressive often as covered on management training courses.

However, one should not underestimate the degree of masquerade in presenting a mask to others that so often becomes such a hard task to expose, particularly by someone who has a strong caring inclination towards understanding another's motivation (and therefore making excuses). It is in this area I thought there could have been more forensic profiling of the traits a covert aggressive displays and how to look out for them, otherwise it has hard to distinguish Simon's covert aggressive from good ole fashioned Machavelliasm! In this repect Oliver James's book on Office Politics (see review) better undertakes a more rounded analysis of similar subject matter without thoroughly demonising such behaviour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Understood and ready to deal with; re-reading necessary to refresh., 7 May 2014
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Advice based on much experience. Learn from someone else's hits and misses.
Points for reflection as we can all be manipulative to greater or lesser degrees.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good explanation of manipulative tactics, 26 Sept. 2013
This review is from: In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People (Kindle Edition)
I started reading this book as research, but found validation for some hard decisions I've made this year - little did I know but I was dealing with covert aggression tactics. While I did not find the examples particularly interesting, the explanations of the different tactics that emotionally manipulative people use was very helpful and interesting. The style was easy to read as well and was not full of indecipherable medical jargon. I would recommend it as a good introduction to dealing with manipulative people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful book, 13 Dec. 2012
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Bought this as it had been recommended to me, found it very information and useful, have passed it on for others to get a better understanding
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I understand more, 5 Jun. 2011
I have struggled to save my 35year old marriage for the past 5 years and although I am now divorced, this book helped me to see how my ex husband used manipulative techniques to "keep me in my place". There were so many "light bulb" moments whilst reading the book that I couldn't put it down. The further away I get from my old life, the less guilt I feel about myself and the more I understand what a victim I was. I would recommend anyone in a difficult relationship to read this book from cover to cover, the examples are very thought provoking and I am now passing it onto my friend who has suffered the same fate and is still feeling the guilt, in the hope that she realises it was not all her fault!
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly poor, 5 Sept. 2011
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After reading so many glowing reviews, I was expecting a book that would really cut into the heart of people, the way they think, and why manipulation exists as a psychological concept in our lives. Unfortunately, I was sadly disappointed, as the book does little more than skim over the topic and present to me what appeared little more than common sense alongside anecdotal opinion I disagreed with.

I have a number of issues with this book, which to me considerably lower its use, but first let me make it clear that a psychology text this is not. This is a self help book, and even though it purports at various points to be of use to the clinician, I doubt many psychologists or psychiatrists would find much in here that would be considered new or even relevant. What you do find is a lot of Simon's own personal opinions and anecdotal interpretation of the human character. At first this comes across as a fresh and no-nonsense stance, taking the bull by the horns and tackling people and their behaviour head on. But after a while, it becomes apparent that really Simon simply holds to the conclusion that a certain subset of society are just 'bad apples'. He presents a zoo of personality types and says they are manipulative simply because they enjoy to be so. There are more than a few religious overtones and references to "higher morality". I found it hard to avoid the conclusion that Simon holds to a caste system of people being either inherently good or bad (saints and sinners?), and this is a very simplistic and antiquated stance in my opinion. Other psychological books I have enjoyed by respected authors have repeatedly shown how humans are complex entities, and that behaviour is interwoven with situations.

Simon presents a number of case studies within the book, which are then exclusively used to back up his later arguments and teachings. Unfortunately, again, the case studies are far from enlightening. A boss who lied to an employee about his job security. A teenager who misbehaved at school. A lady who was manipulative at work. Shock horror! These are day-to-day situations that we all live with and work with already, so unless the reader is exceptionally lacking in life experience I doubt they will find much they haven't encountered before.

But most disappointing to me is the sheer lack of attempt to understand *why* people use manipulation. Simon casts aside respected psychological thinking as irrelevant and proposes his view that some people are just evil as a revolutionary approach. But rather than revolutionary, it just comes across as lacking evidence. And the scant references in the bibliography do little to help that. There is no attempt made to explore manipulation and its uses within society, and issues such as group manipulation, culture, state-sponsored manipulation, advertisement and propaganda are completely omitted.

If you are miserable because you feel a bully is being nasty to you, then this book might give you a self-help pat on the shoulder and a few examples of other bullies in the world to show you are not alone. It will even give you a fancy name for your bully ("covert-aggressive"). But if you are looking for something deeper and more informative then I suspect you will be sadly disappointed, especially if you are looking for psychology and sociology rather than self-help. I know I was.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 15 Oct. 2013
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A good book for all my teenaged boys! So they are reading it as there are a lot of manipulative people out there and some gentle and naive souls need to understand before they have to be burnt unexpectedly. As always - forewarned- forearmed!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, 5 July 2013
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This review is from: In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People (Kindle Edition)
If you feel too confused, frustrated and depressed to think clearly or act rationally and you feel like you are persisting at fighting a battle you can't possibly win, giving you a sense of powerlessness and hopelessness then this book is for you.

When you can't really put a finger on what's not working in your relationship, with your other half, friend, parent, sibling, but you feel that's something wrong then this book may provide an answer.

It's an excellent introduction to character disordered personality's mind that will empower you to make a change. Remember, not everyone has to be severe in their manipulation, but knowing how to respond when they are will leave you feeling prepared for those interactions when it happens!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Opinion, 3 Aug. 2013
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An excellent book. Everybody meets almost every day some manipulative or otherwise difficult people and this book sheds some light to the issue. Helps everywhere, at work, home or on the street. Read it.
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