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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Not usually one for self-help books, I was nonetheless intrigued by this. As an employer, directly responsible for teams of staff, it can be difficult to know how to deal with people who are making themselves awkward, so this looked promising.

The authors describe 4 main motivators driving people's behaviours, and paint examples of when this behaviour becomes extreme ("the tank", "the meddler" etc). It is quite scary to recognise one's own past behaviours in the descriptions they give, but also very useful! They look at how to recognise these behaviours and the motivation behind them. They go on to cover ways of dealing with these challenges day to day.

It is rather annoyingly American, and rather formulaic in the use of named cariacatures to illustrate the behaviours. Despite this it is an easy read, and you do not find yourself struggling through pages of turgid psychology.

For me, two useful things have resulted from reading this. 1: I have been able, already on several occasions, to respond more appropriately to colleagues and staff throwing wobblies. 2: I have recognised some of these traits in myself, which has allowed me to suppress behaviours less conducive to happy working relationships.
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on 27 December 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is quite a good guide to using communication skills for a variety of problematic people all of us typically encounter at work and in our personal lives. It's well structured, breaks each problem person into clear categories and gives good examples on how to deal with each category of difficult people.

However, I found that the categorisation is oversimplified in places and will only help you deal with problem people if their behaviours are mostly personality driven. Although this book does say that behaviours change depending on the situation, I would still say that most of the time behaviours will be personality driven regardless of a situation. So, this book might help you deal with certain personalities.

The downside is that, unfortunately, at work you also deal with many psychos whose difficult behaviour doesn't stem simply from issues that are concerned with getting things done, getting things right, getting along or getting appreciated. Many issues we encounter in a workplace are political agendas that can't be resolved through improved communication. Yes, even political agendas are concerned with getting things done or getting them right but whether you get on with certain people at work isn't always an emotional issue. Sometimes if your agendas are aligned, you will get along with the most difficult people even with little or no communication skills simply because you are on the same side. Equally, sometimes you can hate the most charming, normally easy to get along with people, just because your agendas aren't aligned.

Overall, it's a good book but don't expect to find an answer to every problem here. I am sure you wouldn't anyway but giving it 4 stars because I did feel it was oversimplified.
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on 15 February 2016
I don't like to give poor reviews, but for me the many disconnected stories and anecdotes and advice and cartoons and action plans and strategies and graphs and history lessons and psychobabble were just too overwhelming, incoherent and glib to make any real worthwhile points. The main stereotypes given didn't seem real to me, and the examples given also seemed unrealistic, jokey or contrived, and they were nearly all centred around office work. It might be useful for someone who works in human resources was only thing that occurred to me, but too superficial for any genuine difficulties in what I would call 'real life'. The only pages that shone for me were a couple of pages about changing our own perspective. I really must stop buying these American self-help books - they are nearly always such a disappointment.
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VINE VOICEon 13 April 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book starts by identifying 10 specific behaviour patterns that people adopt, followed by three patterns most likely to be problematic in families. If you can recognise the difficult person in your life in one of these descriptions then that alone would provide some solace, sadly I don't think life is always that simple.

This book explains that when dealing with difficult people you have four broad approaches you can: stay and do nothing; vote with your feet; change your attitude or change your behaviour. None of the advice offered is revelatory, but sometimes the obvious isn't obvious until you've had it pointed out to you.

Once difficult people have been categorised, the book explores how to improve communication. I liked the idea of blending, when one reduces the difference between yourself and another person. The book also recommends things like backtracking, clarifying and summarising what you've heard. As long as you can still sound natural it can be helpful to have an emotional roadmap like this to follow.

The writing style is chatty and anecdotal. The light-hearted approach might be seen as irritating to some. I would have preferred a more concise style, while there are insights on offer sometimes I felt as if I was wading through waffle to get to the nuggets. The authors are American, something that is clear from the writing style and the case studies. There are diagrams and plenty of black and white 'humourous' illustrations. I particularly liked the quick summary at the end of each chapter.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The authors of this self help book write in an overly chatty supposedly humorous style that is very American and to me this just buries the advice within it.

This book does have a lot of useful information and help. However it is written in a way that I find it is hard work to get to the bones of the advice. I would prefer a book that has clearer bullet points than all this ramble and chatter.
I am not totally convinced that the author's people understanding is as perceptive as they believe. I think putting people into such tiny categories/boxes is a dangerous way to view other people as it then becomes easy to make wrong assumptions.
I think the book is on the glib side.

The fact that the situations describes are office based is the main put off for me. I don't work in an office, I have in the past so I can see that is where the book has more relevance.
However I would like a book that also helps you get along with people in situations where the power balance might not be so straightforward.

I think that if you work in an office this book might be very helpful. If you don't less so.I wish I knew of another to recommend but I don't !

Chapters Include:

Part 1. Getting to Know the People You Can't Stand.

1) The 10 (+3) specific behaviours that represent people at their worst! The Tank...The Sniper....The Grenade....The Know-it-All......The Yes Person...The Maybe Person....The Nothing Person....The No Person.....The Whiner....The Judge....The Meddler...The Martyr

2) The Lens of Understanding

A magnifying glass on behaviours reveals motives behind them.
What determines Focus and Assertiveness?.....It's a question of balance.....

etc etc...there are 26 chapters in all including the updates on emails and mobile phone communications.

So there is a lot of information in here. If you have the patience to read it and it is relevant to you.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Does this sound like you? Dealing with people you can't stand

Do you work with people who you sometimes want to strangle? Brinkman and Kirschner seem to have had rather a lot of this, and they have come back with practical responses which get results.

I tend to take a philosophical view. People who are annoying are there to test, and subsequently strengthen, my patience. But if every experience is a learning experience, then it's worth learning from the best, and with 2 million copies sold, I suspect that these guys are some of the best.

So what did I learn from this book?

Firstly, it was very easy to identify the particular characters in my life. My particular bug bear is a "think they know it all" - someone who goes through life convinced that he has all the answers, completely unaware of the trail of destruction he leaves behind him.

But I certainly recognise other characters from my past - the Tank (storms in, blows everything up, goes away thinking he's made it better), the sniper (has to sabotage everyone so that nobody looks better than them - for some reason they think it's easier than just working more effectively), the Know it all (undermines everyone else's self confidence) and think-they-know-it-all (no problems with telling fibs because they think their solution is right and it doesn't matter what they do to persuade you), the grenade, Yes person and so on.

But underneath it all, am I one of these annoying characters, or even all of them at different times? It's always worth checking, because whatever I see in others I might be guilty of myself.

I resolve, in my new week's resolution, to be a better person.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 March 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The book covers the 13 most annoying and unwanted people that you might deal with at work!

PART 1 is an introduction and includes the following chapters:
Chapter 1 gives an overview of the 13 characters by giving short stories which illustrate their major personality characteristics.
Chapter 2 aims to give some understanding of human behaviours and aligns them to assertiveness (passive to aggressive) and focus (people to task) and then shows the zones of intent. If the intent changes, so does the behaviour.
Chapter 3 discusses how threatened people lead to difficult behaviours.

PART 2 is about communication:
Chapter 4 looks at conflict and cooperation.
Chapter 5 is about listening.
Chapter 6 is about understanding intent and point of view
Chapter 7 covers how we speak and how that can influence outcomes.
Chapter 8 is really about giving people the benefit of the doubt and answering positively - have positive expectations and receive positive outcomes.
Chapter 9 is about how to change your own attitude and reactions.

PART 3 is about bringing out the best in people:
Chapters 10 - 22 cover the different types of people
Chapter 23 looks at what type of person you might be and how you might be someone that others can't stand!

PART 4 is about communicating in a digital world:
Chapter 24 is about the challenge of technology
Chapter 25 is about communicating on the telephone
Chapter 26 is about email communication

The book concludes with an afterword about applying the steps covered in the book.

Some of the annoying people covered in the book are very extreme and often a little one-dimensional. However, thinking about these types and some of the lesser examples that you see in the people around you, the tips and communication advice is still very helpful. There are some very practical pieces of advice, such as phrasing to use to soften your communication and bring about specific outcomes.

The last section on communication is handy and although it is quite short, there are some very helpful tips and hints to improve your communication skills.

Quite a useful book that is easy to read and includes practical and helpful advice.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a bit sceptical of self help books but this was fun and lighthearted. I seem to be at a lucky stage of life where there is no-one I can't stand around me (if all else fails go self employed!) but I have worked in claustrophic office environments and shops where there were awful people and it is a grind if you have to face and deal with them every day.
Recommended for those who want to understand their enemy and get some tips on dealing with them.
Everyone's buttons are pressed by different personality types and this book goes into depth about the people you meet in the workplace from the ahouters to the people who hardly utter a word and the bonus people (relatives) who are more tricky to escape unless you move house as well as job.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 January 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had fun reading this but not for the reasons I expected.
I got it to help me learn how to cope with two types people who upset me. One is the crashing bore who talks about themselves all the time and takes up all the air and the other is the moody and blows hot and cold so much that you never know if you have done something to upset them or if they are just in a mood.
Unfortunately neither of these types are covered in the book.
But rather than discard it, I continued reading and found myself in nearly ALL of the annoying types of people covered!!! EEEK.

Oh dear.
So rather than it being a guide for me on how to cope with people who upset me, it became a guide on how to stop myself being annoying to other people!
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on 1 May 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I "can't stand" how long the authors make you read for before they make any convincing arguments.

Rather than deal with all the personality types simultaneously, which is both overwhelming and disheartening, I would much rather have been presented with a series of case studies. Even by beginning with one full case study, would have given me some confidence in the worthiness of the writers' thesis. The book is organised as if the reader is going to be expected to take an important exam on it.

Anything which makes people think more about why people MIGHT be behaving the way they do is generally a good thing, but there are huge dangers whenever you ASSUME that you understand someone else's motives.

In my experience most persistent communication problems stem from a power imbalance. A teacher may wrongly conclude that a disruptive child is simply attention seeking, when really they are trying to address a power imbalance that they perceive as unfair. The same pupil in a progressive school, is given back their control and dignity and is likely to become well behaved very quickly. Someone with with too much power is likely to become judgemental and will fight to hang on to it. Power imbalance is often institutionalised both at work and at home, so one to one communication is unlikely to address your problems. You will need then to challenge the doctrine of the institution itself.
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