Monday, July 20, 2009

YUPB Book Review- When I say no, I feel guilty. By Dr. Manuel. J. Smith

Do you work with someone who is a total and utter jackass? Maybe you have a friend, family member or acquaintance who continually violates your boundaries. Whatever the case, most of us have encountered an individual who just doesn't seem to "get it". The real problem is how to deal with them effectively once they have become part of your life.

Well, TODAY IS YOUR LUCKY DAY (picture me screaming this Billy Mays-style)! I am here to tell you that you can peacefully co-exist with these people without having to repeat a song in your head to prevent yourself whipping a stapler at them with the force of a world champion boomerang chucker.

By the way, "Renegades of Funk" by Rage Against the Machine is a good song choice for drowning them out, as is "Drop It Like It's Hot" by Snoop Dizzle.

Ahem, but I digress...

Get excited,everyone! I am about to deliver you from the bondage of other people's idiocy. Your salvation comes in paperback form and is titled "When I say no, I feel guilty". Written by Dr.Manuel.J. Smith in 1975, it is widely known as the bible of assertiveness training.

Don't worry, at no point will you be advised to explore your irrational fear of the colour orange or trundle off to the forest to re-enact your birth. It is not psychobabble. It is a manual that provides actual techniques to deflect manipulation. The best part is that the techniques are bizarre and hilarious. But they work! I have mastered a couple of them, and they have come in very handy.

One of my favourite techniques is called Fogging. It is meant to help you cope with manipulative criticism without melting into a giant puddle of forgiveness-seeking, guilt-laden d-baggery.Basically, you refuse to debate the accuracy of the criticism; you agree in principle and offer no explanation. That way, there is really nowhere for the conversation to go but downinflames.

From the book (remember, it's 1975):

Critic: I see that you are dressed in your usual sloppy manner.
You: That's right, I am dressed in my ususal way.
Critic:If you were smarter and had some moral sensibility you could ask someone how to buy better clothes so you don't look like a bum.
You: Yes, you are probably right, I could ask someone to do that.
Critic: And what kind of hairstyle is that you have? It looks like one of those worn by dirty hippies!
You:I suppose maybe it does.
Critic: You probably would like to live like them; never having to wash and rolling in sex.
You: Hmm, maybe I should think about that!(Smiling)
Critic: All you do is agree with me.
You: That's true.
Critic: You sound like a yes-man with no spine or personality of your own.
You: I do sound like that, don't I?
Critic: You're doing it again.
You: That's true, I am.
Critic: Well, can you say no and mean it?!
You: Perhaps.
Critic: Don't you know?
You: We'll have to see, won't we?

*(I just want to point out that the excerpt from the book is twice as long as this and way funnier. The critic tells "you" that you have beady eyes, are sexually perverted and makes fun of your nervous tics. So good.)

There are more techniques, such as Negative Assertion, Broken Record (the most offside technique of all) and Negative Inquiry, to help you deal with almost any kind of difficult person. YUPBs, it doesn't matter if you work in the magical Land of Office Perfection where everyone is nice all the time; you need to add these skills to your arsenal.

This book is 324 pages long but the print is so tiny, it might as well be written for ants. Prepare yourself for quite the read. Take my word, it's worth it. Would I lie to you?

Rating: 5/5


Anonymous said...

Better to buy the hardcover used on Amazon, so that you can actually see the words.

I also suggest "winning through intimidation" by Robert Ringer.


Shabs said...

Thanks for the tip, anonymous. I am always looking for new personal and professional development titles to check out. However, intimidation is not really my style, I'm a lover not a fighter:)

Shabs said...

Ah, just read a review. The title is misleading! Not really about intimidating people at all, is it?

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