Monday, January 31, 2011

Difficult personalities: A practical guide for managing the hurtful behavior of others (and maybe yourself)

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Here is what I like about this 285-page book.  First, it is a practical book full of specific, applicable, and relevant suggestions.  The various strategies covered in each chapter is overwhelming.  Having written about this topic myself, I find their ideas useful and valuable.

Second, the various sections throughout the book are short and to the point.  There is little excess, padding, or what some people might refer to as flotsam and jetsam.  It is a tight book that is well-organized.

Third, the topics covered are important and relevant.  The authors deal with incompatible personalities (e.g., extroverts versus introverts, planners versus optionizers, and thinkers versus feelers), frustrating and annoying personality patterns (e.g., negativity, superiority, and bossiness), confusing personality types (e.g., the anxious personality, the inflexible personality, and the demanding personality), damaging personalities (e.g., the passive-aggressive personality, the bullying personality, and the sociopathic personality), and a part, too, on strategies (e.g., for coping with sociopaths, dealing with difficult situations and relationships, rational and irrational thinking, healthy self-assertion, and sections on managing anger (your own and others), and conflict, as well as a section on developing the skills necessary for maintaining a strong romantic partnership).

The weaknesses of the book include, first, that it tends to be a bit dry — a bit like a classroom textbook.

Second, the number of examples are useful, but they tend to be fewer than in many similar books; thus, trying to stay with the book is difficult.  Those used are fine; however, many more throughout the book would make it more user-friendly.

Third, I think the best use of the book is as a reference tool.  For those in relationships or in business where different personalities always exist and must always deal with each other in various ways, it is great to have a reference book to which you can go at once to find practical, specific, and well-grounded advice.

Overall, the book is solid, and I recommend it; however, be aware of what you are getting.  This is not a light read even though it is well-written and gets to the point in each chapter. 

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