Dealing with People You Can't Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst

 
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Do you know people who try to intimidate you? Or who waffle about decisions? Do you ever get tired of hearing, "That won't work," or "It's not my fault"? Now devotees of Brinkman and Kirschner's seminars and tapes can enjoy their insights in book form, while new fans discover the duo's tested techniques for bringing out the best in people at their worst. With wit and wisdom, the authors identify the 10 types of difficult people on the job-including tanks, snipers, grenades, know-it-alls, and think-they-know-it-alls. Step by step, they show exactly how to get results with each.

Customer Reviews:

  • Don't be put off by the extreme sounding title
    This is one of the best books about effective communication I have come across.

    As a manager of a large teaching staff, and working for local government, I have found this book to be one of the best resources I own.

    The book clearly breaks down difficult personality characteristics, identifies the motivation behind the behaviours, and gives clear strategies to deal with the situation. From the bulldozing boss, to the meek mouse, this book helps to bring out the best from the people you work with.

    It's also effective with difficult friends and family. It is also very readable.

    ...more info
  • I'll Never See Anyone Or Any Relationship In The Same Way
    While I judge the title to be a bit dramatic the information in this book has had a profound, dramatic effect on my life. I have approached the subject matter from the perspective that I'm in control of my relationships, and I can choose my own reactions to someone else's behavior. My own pettiness, as well other poeple's, was dictating some of my behavior, my attitudes, and some decisions too (sometimes badly). Yes, I see myself in some of those 10 personality traits described in the book. I wanted to be free of that nonsense, as well learn ways to have a good relationship with most anyone. This book's value to me has been to help me rise above the daily situations I encounter by helping me see human personality in a structured way. So that I can deliberately behave, react, and interact with people in positive, productive ways. I've been able to find peace with personalities that I've despised. I've found helpful information on how to get along with people who I hadn't a clue otherwise. If you're curious about finding solutions to working with, living with or next door to, or just finding peaceful ways to be around difficult people I recommend this book. I thought so much of this book I sent a copy of this book to a peer. This isn't about short term solutions to heated situations (customer service). This is about building trust and solid foundations with people with whom you have a longer term relationship (longer than 3 to 10 minutes) of some nature. Best wishes....more info
  • Excellent quick read for managers and others who have to deal with conflict
    This is an excellent, well-written, humorous and very practical book on dealing with difficult personalities. It is a quick read, but it is packed with useful information for dealing with different personality types at their worst.

    In this book, the authors identify ten basic personalities that fall at different points between two dimensions: aggression-passivity and whether they are primarily task-oriented or people-oriented. It is a very simple model, but it is powerful and works well in a business environment.

    There are many good stories, cartoons and boxes with summaries of how to handle various types of people in difficult situations. I have field-tested the ideas and they are sound and work well in practice.

    Having insight into your own style is also worth being aware of. You will no doubt see yourself in these pages and more than likely will laugh out loud. More importantly, you will also raise your awareness so that you will have more choice in difficult situations.

    This book should be on all managers shelves. It is a useful tool for deciphering the behavior of people much different from yourself....more info
  • How to deal with stress-inducing people
    I read this book as part of a college course on professional communication and I can honestly say it's helped me to deal with my coworkers much better. The authors divide the book into sections dealing with one of ten possible behaviors that represent people at their worst. Their advice is sound and is often accompanied by real life anecdotes from those who field-tested this advice. I would easily recommend it to anyone, especially those in management positions or in human resources....more info
  • Some sound advice and a variety of flaws
    Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner are Naturopathic physicians who wrote the book, Dealing with People You Can't Stand, with good intentions of helping people identify and deal with the 10 most difficult behaviors.

    Effective communication is key to successfully dealing with difficult behaviors. Good examples of effective communication are given in chapter 4. One communication technique is Blending. Dr. Rick & Dr. Rick state "Blending is any behavior by which you reduce the differences between you and another in order to meet them where they are and move to common ground."

    Another strong point of this book are the illustrations of the Lens of Understanding. They are throughout the book and are very helpful. The Lens of Understanding illustrations help you to see the organizational framework. The illustrations are formatted to resemble the cross hairs of a scope on a rifle. They are an effective visual aide.

    One of the weak areas are the typographical errors. There are several throughout the book. One example is on page xii. The period after the 2 is missing. Another typo is on page 118, in paragraph three. The word when is spelled ohen.

    Another weak aspect is contradiction. For example in the Introduction Dr. Rick & Dr. Rick tell you that the difficult person will change. Their statement "While you can't change difficult people, you can communicate with them in such a way that they change themselves. It's a matter of knowing how to get through to them when they're behaving badly.", contradicts itself in several places throughout the book. The authors tell you that you better adjust your attitude. One example of this is on page 68. The heading is in bold lettering and states "You Better Adjust Your Attitude." They tell you to watch your emotions when dealing with a Tank.

    On page 201, Dr. Rick & Dr. Rick give more contradicting advice. In the seventh ounce of prevention, they tell you to beware of multitasking when on the telephone. Then in the eighth
    ounce of prevention they tell you to use your phone time to catch up on personal hygiene.

    Errors and contradictions aside this book helped me to have a better insight to what makes some people tick.
    This helps me communicate more effectively, thus taking some of the stress out of my life....more info

  • excellent reference
    I was actually required to read this book for a college leadership class. I found it to be an excellent resource and I would recommend this book to anyone. It has many implications dealing with leadership, but you do not need to be a leader to find this book helpful....more info
  • How To Cope With The Trouble Making Boss.
    I have come to realize, that on any job you have. There will be a boss or even bosses that you just can't stand. This is certainly true with me. And I have come to the conclusion is to just try your best to get along with that trouble making boss and "turn to other way." This might sound hard to do, but try to put yourself in your boss'es shoes. They probably feel like they are being overcome with their work load and feel the need to take their vengence out on the employees. Or it could be the other way around. They may not realize that there actions are hurtful and can really do some damage that way. Look at the bright side, they may or may not do it to the other employees. My friends, try as you might to have patience with these people and see there side. They may not be as bad as you think they are....more info
  • good intro to social skills at work
    This book provided me with very useful social skills and was at the same time very entertaining!

    Based on a simple but effective two dimensional model of behaviour (assertivness/orientation to goals or to people), the authors identify 12 kinds of problem-people and show strategies to get along with them as well as a very useful "mirror" prospective (what if I am the problem-person of somebody?...more info

  • Not bad but there are other options out there
    This book is a good introduction to the major types of annoying people and basic techniques for dealing with them. It seems to be primarily aimsed at business people. I wouldn't recommend it for those who want to improve family relationships.
    Other points: if you're looing for a detailed guide for dealing with difficult people in a wide variety of possible situations, this isn't a book I'd recommend. The focus is on identifying the ten most annoying people (whiners, know-it-alls, snipers, etc) along with some limited suggestions for maximizng positive communication. It is basically up to the reader to figure out how to do that in specific situations, althnougb a few examples are given throughout the book.
    This isn't a terrible book but it is an introductory guide at best. There are better choices out there.
    ...more info
  • Sorry, Can't Stand You
    The book is simply written, with very few if any difficult theories or ideas put forth. The theories presented should easily be understood by most any reader, as it mostly rehashes lessons taught to most people by their parents. That is pay attention to people and deal with them calmly and rationally. Brinkman and Kirschner do tend to fall into a lot of pop psychology, which I guess fits this type of book, but tended to annoy this reader.

    From the very beginning the doctors failed to engage me, they did not give me a reason to care to use these strategies on very many people. Given their backgrounds in holistic healing and naturopathic medicine, it would seem logical that they would have informed us of the health benefits enjoyed by eliminating stressful people from our lives. Instead this reader found it difficult to relate to any of the proposed situations in anything more than a professional setting. Because of that, this book would make an excellent blueprint on how to manipulate people on your way up the ladder of success.

    Each chapter was well organized, most beginning with a story that depicted that particular chapters theme. The authors then laid out a step-by-step guide to dealing with this type of difficult individual. It seems a bit na?ve to think that one strategy will work for each of the personality types. Some may find it difficult to proceed with the given advice, and therefore it would have been nice to see some alternative strategies given. This would give the reader greater flexibility when dealing with his or her particular difficult person. Not only were the suggestions limited, often times they seemed quite simplistic, almost as though Brinkman and Kirschner believe that people are machines and simply by pushing the right buttons or saying the magic pop psychology phrase we can control anyone. Seldom does it work that way in real life. This tendency is clearly seen in the stories at the end of each chapter. Again Brinkman and Kirschner introduce us to some people in conflict. One character is a difficult person and the other employs the strategies spelled out by the authors. After the techniques are used, it is almost like magic that the difficult person begins to cooperate. Now this would be acceptable as a way to make your point, but often we are led to believe that each story is a recount of a real-life occurrence. So, unless the authors have found a real life magic bullet, they have lost a lot of credibility with this reader.

    Another reason to look upon this book with suspicion is the fact that the authors apparently want us to believe that all of these ideas were somehow conceived, developed and born of their own brilliant minds. On only two occasions do the refer us to any other sources for the theories put forth in this book, and one of those is another book written by the same men. A book of this type should be able to direct us to other sources to back up the theories presented.

    As stated earlier, this book is an excellent source for those who wish to manipulate co-workers and business associates, especially the first two-thirds of it. Towards the end though it does become a bit more personal and even more enjoyable to read. The last section of the book is certainly the freshest. Here we get some good advice on proper use and etiquette on the phone and using E-mail....more info

  • Great concise advice
    Easy to read, and right on the money. I read a friend's and am buying a copy to keep on my office shelf for those times I need a coach....more info
  • Excellent book for learning how to deal with people you can't stand
    The title really tells it like it is. We all encounter people we can't stand from time-to-time but when you work with or for someone who falls into that category, then it's time to learn how to deal with him or her. Rick Brinkman spells out exactly what to do with a number of different types--from tanks to people pleasers--and gives you the strategies needed to make life better! I highly recommend this book to anyone.

    ...more info
  • Some sound advice and a variety of flaws
    Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner are Naturopathic physicians who wrote the book, Dealing with People You Can't Stand, with good intentions of helping people identify and deal with the 10 most difficult behaviors.

    Effective communication is key to successfully dealing with difficult behaviors. Good examples of effective communication are given in chapter 4. One communication technique is Blending. Dr. Rick & Dr. Rick state "Blending is any behavior by which you reduce the differences between you and another in order to meet them where they are and move to common ground."

    Another strong point of this book are the illustrations of the Lens of Understanding. They are throughout the book and are very helpful. The Lens of Understanding illustrations help you to see the organizational framework. The illustrations are formatted to resemble the cross hairs of a scope on a rifle. They are an effective visual aide.

    One of the weak areas are the typographical errors. There are several throughout the book. One example is on page xii. The period after the 2 is missing. Another typo is on page 118, in paragraph three. The word when is spelled ohen.

    Another weak aspect is contradiction. For example in the Introduction Dr. Rick & Dr. Rick tell you that the difficult person will change. Their statement "While you can't change difficult people, you can communicate with them in such a way that they change themselves. It's a matter of knowing how to get through to them when they're behaving badly.", contradicts itself in several places throughout the book. The authors tell you that you better adjust your attitude. One example of this is on page 68. The heading is in bold lettering and states "You Better Adjust Your Attitude." They tell you to watch your emotions when dealing with a Tank.

    On page 201, Dr. Rick & Dr. Rick give more contradicting advice. In the seventh ounce of prevention, they tell you to beware of multitasking when on the telephone. Then in the eighth
    ounce of prevention they tell you to use your phone time to catch up on personal hygiene.

    Errors and contradictions aside this book helped me to have a better insight to what makes some people tick.
    This helps me communicate more effectively, thus taking some of the stress out of my life....more info

  • OK, but there are much better alternatives!
    I bought Dealing With People You Can't Stand when I was locked in a one year lease on a loft with a roommate that was driving me nutty. So nuts that I didn't speak to her for a month at one point. Unfortunately, this book left me very unsatisfied. It is a general guidebook for getting along better with others, but it isn't specific; it's a rather simple self-help book.

    Later, I found two books that changed my outlook on the various ways people (mis)behave, and my interactions with them. The first was "Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence" by David Keirsey. It is an introduction to personality type which started with Carl Jung's ideas on the subject, and was developed further by Meyers & Briggs. Filling out the book's questionnaire and reading about my own personality type was like having my life story told by someone that knew me better than my best friend or sibling. Identifying the various personalities of others I knew was incredibly revealing as well.

    The second book, a natural companion to "Please Understand Me II," is "Survival Games Personalities Play" by Eve Delunas. This book uses personality type to reveal the dark flip sides you encounter when people of varying personalities are angry or stressed. At some point you've probably said about someone you know that he or she weren't themselves. Ms. Delunas writes extensively about how to both deal with these situations, and how she has helped family members better relate and change the way they respond to each other in her own clinic. If these books only helps you to understand why that jerk you know is driving you crazy and why you respond the way you do, it will be well worth the purchase price. Even more so if it helps you improve your relations with them.

    I couldn't recommend these two books more highly. I strongly recommend buying them as a pair, since the first book introduces you to personality type and describes each type of person(ality) as they normally are, and the second describes what and why each type of person does when they're upset. Does the person you know backstab, or do they go silent? Do they bitch and whine? Find out why, and what you can do about it. Then understand yourself better. I have never seen people the same way since I read these two books. They've been tremendously helpful to me....more info
  • Dealing With People You Can't Stand
    This book was easy to read and very explicit in its techniques and strategies for dealing with 10 common, difficult personalitites. It applies to work and home....more info
  • I found this book so useful that I couldn't believe my eyes
    I was looking for a reference book to aid a seminar I was about to give on interpersonal communications to aid selling skills. The book explains behavioral patterns and groups difficult people under 10 main types. And believe me you know them all! The book also contains live examples, which makes it all the more useful and valuable. I strongly recommend you to read it....more info
  • Negative Title: Extremely Positive, Empowering Book!
    More than any other book, this book has empowered me to understand and work effectively with people of all different personal behavioral/communication styles. Based on the DISC (though the authors change the names of the four poles slightly), it is a well written book that helps people who are having difficulty working or getting along with others understand their own needs and personal style as well as giving solid tips and examples of how to work effectively with those "difficult" people.

    I have heartily recommended this book to other leaders that I have worked with over the years with very positive results! The book will make you a better leader, employee, spouse or friend!...more info

  • the difficlties of self-knowledge
    I found this book is quite helpful in identifying differing communication styles and in giving suggestions for how to deal with them. One of the major, salutary, insights is that each of us probably has a communication styles that irritate somebody, somewhere. Ouch! But recognizing that aspect of "the problem with OTHER people" gives us a better chance to improve matters. I liked the humor, too....more info
  • Dealing With People You Can't Stand.
    Excellent Book. It gives practical tips in how to deal with difficult people. I am requiring my staff to read the book....more info
  • The best conflict book for managers PERIOD
    If you're a manager and have to deal with the day to day complaints and conflicts of a workplace, this is the best book I've read about it, without question.
    I'm a leadership consultant and my firm spends a lot of time mediating conflicts and facilitating meetings where I have to get people on the same page. I have formal training in negotation, and mediation, and all that other more formal stuff. And a lot of it works. But the question I get asked over and over again is "what do I do when the conflict doesn't justify outside assistance? What about the DAY TO DAY conflicts - one of my people refuses to bend her schedule, another won't come in on time, another won't try to work with a sister department, my boss won't give me the resources I need." Well, this is that book. It lays out a simple concept of conflict (other people see things differently from you and therefore act differently), and then does something that SO FEW of the other books do: it tells you exactly what to say and how to say it. I have had my fill of books which tell me to "be nice" or "work towards a compromise". My response is, I know that, but how do I DO that? How do I keep the other person from popping off at me? THIS BOOK does that. It's simple - exactly right for line managers with DAY to DAY conflicts....more info
  • This Book Changed my career (for the better!)
    I'm a felony probation officer. I deal with difficult people. I applied the clear techniques provided with an offender described for years as "a real nasty guy...." by previous probation officers. The technique worked immediately, the man expressed appreciation saying "You are the first person in your department who ever understood me...I'll do exactly what you told me to do." I could relate scores of other times these techniques have helped over the years. Rick & Rick's set of tapes is also extremely helpful. You won't be sorry you learned this stuff....more info
  • Proceed with Caution
    From the book's title and introduction it sounded to me as if this was to be broadly about dealing with any persons with obnoxious behavior. In fact, it repeats some general advice on effective communications skills; however, the book mainly focuses on a few specific behavioral situations which may be encountered in some workplace settings.

    The authors are two naturopaths who state that they studied, from a surgeon/medical doctor, "health from an attitudinal point of view" and were then asked (for what reason?) by a mental health organization (which?) to create a program on how to deal with difficult people. What training in psychology did they have?

    If one needed information regarding herbal medicine, one would normally not seek it from books written by clinical psychologists but rather from physicians trained in herbal medicine (naturopaths). Normally, persons see surgeons when they are in need of surgical advice or surgery.

    Yet these authors, while no doubt having the best intentions, sell advice regarding human personality, communication methods, and the like without mention of any formal credentials of their own in the field of human behavior, and not so much as a nod to the respected experts in that field.

    Some examples and specific concerns follow.

    The skill of active listening is presented here as a three part process of "blend, backtrack, and clarify." Active Listening is a well-known principle in the psychological literature; credit might be given to those who have already written about this technique and further reading might be mentioned in this beneficial area.

    The principle of "blend vocally with volume and speed" has also been written about before and it is still a behavior that can easily backfire and irritate people if they happen to see through it.

    The principle of "identify positive intent" is one of the better, and more original, formulations here. Identifying obvious positive intent will work in a great many situations. Less certain is taking the idea to the extreme and making up an intent that may not exist. Some people will see that as manipulative because it is. While this might work with certain psychological types who are out of touch with themselves, I for one would prefer to be simply asked as to my intentions instead of told what they are.

    The later principle "state your positive intent" is clearly better, and worth a try, as long as the reader understands that their statement of their intent may be seen as self-serving and may be disregarded.

    The principle of "identify highly valued criteria" is a solid one. It is discussed in the context of brainstorming, which is a subject that has already been extensively written about in psychological literature. Reference might be made to further reading in this area.

    The principle of voice tone is excellent. This has been extensively written about in the literature of customer service principles, but always bears repeating. The authors make a good point here in advising that when the tone doesn't match the message, the speaker be the first to call attention to it, which will alleviate many misunderstandings.

    The principle of using "I" language ("tell your truth") is another which has been around psychological literature for decades and there is a lot of further reading on that out there.

    When we come to the principle of "Pygmalian power", we enter shaky ground. An example is offered of the well-known Chicago school system experiment. It is a broad assumption that the technique is going to function the same way in the corporate setting. It seems worth a try in some situations, but anyone who sees through it will feel like they are being manipulated by an egotistical person; obviously this will not assist relationship building.

    The reader deserves to have it pointed out that behavior which attempts to control others is usually ineffective as well as being stressful for the one attempting to control.

    In this book in there is a chapter entitled "The Nothing Person." That title in itself raises a red flag for me as sounding disrespectful. Some readers may carry the characterization "nothing person" in the back of their mind when interacting with superiors, customers, and coworkers, and will not be able to conceal that attitude.

    Such words and advice call to mind the earlier excellent advice in this book stating, "no one cooperates with anyone who seems to be against them. You come across as either hot or cold to the relationship, as being on common ground or worlds apart." This is advice worth remembering.

    The importance of interpersonal communications skills at work hits home with me. Sixteen years ago I was employed with a major company in which a tragedy occurred. An ex-employee walked into the company cafeteria at lunchtime and fired a gun into the heads of his former supervisor and four other employees. Two died instantly, one died at the hospital, and two survived with grave injuries. The shooter later killed himself.

    Insiders who have worked at this company know it well for its longstanding managerial abrasiveness and arbitrary policies.

    We are not dealing with the workplace of yesteryear and whatever training and advice put out there for workers must rest on understandable, yet complete and functional known principles of human behavior. In the main, for me, this book fails to meet that goal and for that reason I advise caution and additional reading if you have not done so already.

    Samples of books I would recommend that supply functional and state of the art advice from well-respected experts in human behavior/communications/mental health would be:

    "When Anger Hurts" by McKay, Rogers and McKay
    "Messages - the Communications Skills Book" by McKay, Davis and Fanning
    "Letting Go of Anger" by Potter-Efron and Potter-Efron
    "Working with the Self-Absorbed" by Nina Brown
    "The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook" by Davis, Eshelman, and McKay
    "Working Anger" by Potter-Efron










    ...more info
  • You can't fit it all in one book
    This is a light, easy, funny, and informative read. However, it's strikingly similar to "Coping with Difficult People" by Bramson, which was published first. Both books describe the same exact handful of problematic people and even share some of the same labels for them. If you don't know a person like this now that you could use some help with, chances are you did in the past or will in the future. However, you probably have problems not discussed here. This book is thorough in what it covers, but it could discuss more problems than such a small handful, and it's all about problems with people at work. You could probably apply some of this to situations outside of work, but it's a bit impersonal for use with friends and family....more info
  • A very good guide for your psychology and career
    The authors have identified ten types of difficult people and provided respective action plans when dealing with them. To sum up, the general principle is that you need to be considerate and patient. When you are facing conflict, always remind yourselves: "100 years from now, what difference will it make?"

    Although it is a short book, it offers useful advice plus many real-life examples to readers. While it is self-helping in nature, the methods outlined would likely boost your career. It should be used together with Andrew Dubrin's 'Winning Office Politics' for those interested in surviving in office politics....more info

  • Liberate Yourself from Jerks.
    This book has an excellent premise: the only way to deal with difficult people is to change the way you respond to them. Think about it. Do any of us ever do what we want to do all the time? Of course not. How many New Year's resolutions have we broken? Well, if we can't control our own behavior for our own good, how can we control someone else's especially when that person's obnoxious ways satisfies some perverse need? Some books on interpersonal conflict recommend that the reader resort to planning biting comebacks or simply ignoring the offending party. Rick and Rick offer more positive and healthier solutions (such as being more empathetic without being a punching bag) that if implemented will help the reader stay sane when under attack and eventually learn to stay above the fray....more info
  • amazing!
    There are so many nut cases out there that we have to deal with;
    This book describes EXACTLY what kind of person he or she is,
    and their motives (equally important), and explains how to get them to listen to you. Although it pictures office situations, they
    work for ANYONE (mothers-in-law, children,family members, etc.)
    This book is treasure!...more info
  • Excellent strategies.
    This book is an excellent source for those who wish to keep peace with friends, family, and co-workers without lowering yourself to their levels.

    The book provides a clear understanding of how to interact with others who are socially immature of all types from the "Grenade" to the "Nothing" person....more info

  • Dealing with People Your Can't Stand
    This book is very insightful in dealing with different types of people who generally add challenges to your life. It starts with overall communication skills and the delves into the 10 individual personality types, breaking down their individual characteristics and giving actions for dealing with those types of individuals....more info
  • Good purchase
    I got this book on the recommendation of a friend, and was pleasantly surprised at how helpful it is. I had a co-worker problem (and really, who doesn't?) and it explained how you can be the "bigger person" without having to just suck it up when confronted by a jerk. For most personality conflicts, this will definitely give some insights and useful guidance for dealing with annoying and even downright mean people. ...more info

 

 
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