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on 24 March 2016
This an excellent no nonsense book that really does help to put life's little frustrations in perspective and gives simple, clear actionable tips that make a difference when choosing how to deal with difficult people and challenging situations. It is good read too. Light in style and packed full of amusing quotations.
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on 11 February 2016
One of the best books I've read on the subject of how to communicate and deal with people at work and at home. The author offers up practical techniques and strategies and presents them within everyday scenarios to show how they can work. I'll be using this book for many years to come - Highly recommended
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on 11 March 2014
I bought this book primarily for the purpose of dealing with irritating, awkward and exasperating people. Whilst most of the people I meet on a day to day basis both personally and professionally are pleasant and agreeable, - there are always a chosen few who seem to delight in pushing your buttons!
The author takes you through ten chapters of scenarios, anecdotes and psychological explorations of the patterns used by manipulative tricksters to derail you, with the definitive intention of provoking an emotional outburst or negative reaction resulting in loss of control on your part! Unfair huh?! ….Life’s unfair; - this just helps you manage it.
The tactics that Lavelle encourages using to neutralise such situations are designed to reverse their impact and put the antagonist on a back foot, whilst you retain composure and remain perfectly polite and professional.
For those of you that have been subjected to such people,-or worse have to work with them closely, you will understand how their destructive persona drains you of all positive energy and sunshine! They don’t have to be colleagues and are often family members that make unfair judgments, distort facts and reality, play mind games or twist things to their own end.
This book goes through some useful strategies and coping mechanisms (taken from NLP) to help you to regain control and deal decisively with the maddening and tiresome situations that people and life throw at you.
Generally a good read with some useful tips and tactics. If you have read previous similar NLP and persuasion development books then you will be familiar with some of the strategies used in this one. Lavelle does make it humorous throughout and the tone it’s written in is entertaining, although you will find a few ‘bad jokes’ lurking in the pages, and some of the scenarios used include the authors personal friends which I found a little egotistical.
In summary, an easy to read handy book packed full of worthwhile comebacks and tactics that would benefit anyone.
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on 4 November 2010
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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on 25 June 2009
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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on 18 March 2013
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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on 20 June 2009
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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on 13 April 2015
Jon has taken a topic that rings in my ear like a consistent smoke alarm when the toast is burning...Always having to say the customer is right when he isn't is a bug bear of the trade I am in - Hospitality. Dealing with unfair complaints happens and sometimes people have had a bad situation develop and use the anger from that to be rude and arrogant to the service industry staff about the product they have supplied without real and fair cause, and those are the good customers! I joke, but there are times when as a person who cares about my trade, my business and my customers I strive to get something good from every situation...

After meeting with Jon by chance I picked up this book and have ventured through it feeling fairly content that I use a lot of his methods innocently and this has re-enforced my opinion that if you smile inwardly when you are listening to a complaint and then harness that energy to deal with it there is usually a good outcome.

What Jon does in this book is let the reader know that there are many outcomes to a bad situation and that you have the choice to control it by your actions and words.

Think before you speak and turn the words around cleverly to enhance your position.

I read it whilst on holiday, heavy to concentrate on in short bursts it needs a concentrated approach to get the maximum benefit.

I would encourage anybody who feels they sometimes lack strength in a situation due to the bargaining power a paying customer has over them to read this and turn it around so you have the upper hand by being controlled, clever and genuine. Take a moment to analyse where you stand in the situation and get the result you want from it with the methods Jon suggests.

I am using these methods freely as they have developed with my thick skin in a career I have chosen to do but I am now going to enhance them with the tips Jon has given me in this excellent self help book.

Thanks Jon - Here's to a brighter future and many happy endings.
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on 29 April 2010
I've read a few books similar to this, and I have to say that I agree with the quote from David Bowman at Anglo American Books about it being "One of the very best personal development books I've come across for some time"... and I guess, given his job, he should know!

I was sceptical at first that a book could really deliver on its promises, particularly when dealing with difficult and manipulative people, but I can honestly say it's opened my eyes with lots of new techniques that I hadn't come across before, and more importantly... that WORK!

Some of the stuff the author recommends, particularly the chapters about how to fight back verbally (and very cleverly) against people who try to manipulate you is not only very powerful, but it's also huge fun in the process.

This book turns the tables on bullies, manipulators and irritating people once and for all.
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on 15 January 2011
I'm in a new work situation that brings me into contact with difficult, manipulative people. I am confident that this excellent, subtle and empowering book has given me the tools I need to deal with them. I would like to add that as a result of reading it, I have changed my behaviour in other ways and other parts of my life in a fantastically positive way. In comparison with other self-help books, this is the only book I have ever read which has done that! I recommend it very highly.

EDIT: Now in February 2011, I can vouch that this book has in fact really helped in my dealings with those difficult people. I have actively turned situations around and can now really spot when people are using their manipulative tools, which helps to nip things in the bud. What a great book!
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