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Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life
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Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,435 ratings  ·  181 reviews

Let’s face it, we all know people who are irrational. No matter how hard you try to reason with them, it never works. So what’s the solution? How do you talk to someone who’s out of control? What can you do with a boss who bullies, a spouse who yells, or a friend who frequently bursts into tears?

In his book, Just Listen, Mark Goulston shared his bestselling formula for get

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 21st 2015 by AMACOM
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  1,435 ratings  ·  181 reviews

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Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Updated 2020) This isn't groundbreaking, but it's readable and I have found it to be very helpful.
"Crazy" is used specifically to mean NOT mentally ill. "Crazy" more or less means upset/temporarily irrational. For these people, the author recommends that one listen, let them vent, try to see their point of view, but not agree to anything unacceptable. His point is that most people who are just having a bad day or whatever will respond to this, show remorse for their crazy behavior and start act
Ivonne Rovira
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: Audible Daily Deal
Everyone has a crazy person in his or her workplace or family. (If you don’t think you do, it’s probably you. The old saw is pretty true.) Whether it’s Uncle Silas, who can’t stop spouting the latest nonsense from Fox News or Donald Trump; a hypercritical or manipulative parent or sibling, a backstabbing or shiftless coworker, or an insufferable mom who’s the president of your child’s PTA, they’re out there. Author Mark Goulston, himself a psychiatrist, gives wonderful advice for “leaning into t ...more
Ron Turner
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the most useful self-help books I've ever read. It provides realistic tips on how to interact with irrational people at home and at work, in relationships and in personal interactions.

The book is divided into five sections.

Section One: The basics of talking to crazy. Finding out how to spot what's making someone irrational.

Section Two: Facing your own crazy. So you know what makes yourself tick so you don't let others push your buttons.

Section Three: Fourteen tactics for how to talk to cr
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: abnormal-psych
Unexpectedly great. Finally, a self- help book that might actually help those in need.

I love psychology and neuroscience but find that most authors who write about these subjects using a self-help approach are far from what I would call scientists. I have a shelf called "Authors who want to make a buck," into which books like this one usually go. When I begin reading any self help type book, especially one whose author claims to be some type of expert in any field of psychology, I assume that b
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am always looking for good books about therapy to broaden my knowledge-base and therapeutic skills . There are a lot of good books, and now I've found a new favorite. Why? Because it is packed with information, that can be used by everyone. Talking to crazy will make your life better, I am sure of it. Another thing: He has started a conversation project to help even more people communicate and heal each other. He writes: We can heal the world: One conversation at a time. This speaks directly t ...more
Scott McD
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dr Goulston offers a great advice across numerous situations and multiple "crazies". I look forward to reading other works by him. ...more
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book has been passed around by my coworkers here at the library, since we do often have to deal with some difficult people. I've also been having some issues with certain people in my personal life. Here there were easy ways to "lean into" the crazy when people are behaving irrationally. The author specifies that this is more about dealing with people who are upset to the point of being irrational than about real crazy, aka mental illness or personality disorders, although there is a chapte ...more
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. I can't recommend it highly enough. It helps you identify your own "crazy" and gives you solid guidelines for the common crazy. ...more
Stan James
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Another of my "on sale, looks interesting" reads, Talking to Crazy focuses on dealing with irrational ("crazy") people, running a range from annoying co-workers to potential mass murderers. Yes, there is a chapter on dealing with people who may be thinking of getting a gun and doing some people huntin'.

Talking to Crazy is not a book for people who like lots of data, studies and stats to back up the claims and advice on offer. Goulston has many years of experience as a psychiatrist and draws on a
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I started on this book because I was getting stressed out by the 2016 US presidential race. Watching some sane family & good friends going bat-shit conspiracy theorist crazy all over Facebook was pushing all sorts of crazy buttons in myself. So I needed a distraction & hopefully learn something new in the process.
This is NOT a book to pick up with the intent to "fix OTHER people, you know, the crazies!" just so you can make them all see what a model of logical & rational being you are. Not at a
Dec 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dropped
Couldn't bring myslelf to finish this book. It has some good points, but the writing is so over simplified, over dramatic, flashy and repetitive it annoys me so much I couldn't continue. The autor uses the word 'crazy' so much that it drove me exactly that.
Have compassion for others and react consciouly in difficult conversations - this sums up the first third of the book.
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: no-ficcion
Rating: 2.5/5 It was ok

Talking to Crazy is a self-help book about how to deal with people that act crazy not necessarily that have mental health issues.

He give us tools to help us manage our emotional intelligence and to not let other people's crazy drive us crazy.

The problem I had with this book is that is too specific so if you are not in one of those scenarios he uses as a examples I don't think you can apply the tools he's giving.

For me it only applies when he addressed the workplace and d
Very actionable tactics to deal with various types of "crazy" in ourselves and our closest personal and professional relationships! Now crazy is one loaded word and practically begs for a detailed definition which the book very helpfully articulates...

The book aims to make the world better one small conversation at a time - a lofty but very achievable goal!
Surumya Bhargava
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Talking to Crazy is an interesting book in phycology. I found it interesting because it talks about dealing with the irrational people in life. I picked it up because it sounded like a book with a unique topic, but it turned out more to be a “how to” manual than the nonfiction, informative book I was expecting. Maybe that’s actually its purpose, but reading it with no real purpose other than general interest, made it get a little boring at some point. I realized I wasn’t as engaged and the patt ...more
Mindy Kannon
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Super interesting and easy to follow instructions for dealing with the crazies in your life as well as the crazy in your self. This book is broken down by different types of irrational behavior and what to do to break through that behavior. You can't help but see the people you know in the different chapters. Occasionally you may see yourself. This is one of those rare books that I feel the need to have on hand. I'm pretty sure I'll be referring to this book frequently. ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I still haven't decided if I think this book is helpful or not. The different advice seems pretty straight forward and actually seems like it would actually help when dealing with these kinds of crazy. My problem is I didn't really feel, in the end, that I actually have anyone in my life that falls into any of these categories. ...more
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: educational
I highly recommend this book for people who need reminders about how to engage with irrational loved ones. The advice can also be valuable for talking to manipulative co-workers. Goulston repeats that it is insufficient for people with personality disorders or serious mental illness, though, which is a drawback when you can't diagnose whether someone has a disorder or is simply irrational. ...more
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'll admit that the title bothered me at first. But Goulston explains that he is not referring to those with a mental illness; he is offering practical insights into dealing with a variety of difficult people." Useful insights" summarize the material at the end of each chapter. ...more
Emily Goenner
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great book! It explains different ways people irrationally react to situations and why, which is very interesting. Most importantly, it provides specific, detailed steps for dealing with different types of crazy. Incredibly helpful and useful!
Vlada Spiridonova
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-work
This book helps me to understand some of my deep problems and now I can work on them specifically. Also, I learn more about the way to communicate with different people, who struggle with mental diseases.
Jennifer FitzPatrick
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book offers practical strategies on how to handle those with who are unreasonable & have difficult personalities. This book is great for work and your personal life!
Ariel Cummins
Some pretty interesting stuff in here! Very practical advice that even includes sample scripts. Let's see how I can put it into practice! ...more
Krzysztof Orzechowski
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social
Quite interesting. How to diffuse and approach difficult situations in everyday life.
Amanda Williamson
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a manual for managing relationships with irrational people. It captures why we find ourselves in traps when dealing with the irrational people in our lives, how to avoid these traps, how to find a productive way forward, and how not to become crazy ourselves. It is particularly valuable for managers, parents, and children-of-aging parents.

My favorite excerpts from the book follow. I am putting these here in the hope that I come back and remind myself of these insights. The excerpts
Evgeniya Hauser
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Have found very useful tips how to deal with difficult conversations/people in professional and personal life
Kev Chaloner
Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Beware your own form of crazy !
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gwen by: office book club, August 2020
Shelves: book-club
This book was a breath of fresh air compared to many other books on how to better communicate. Goulston seems to live in the real world with real emotions and reactions. His examples share true-to-life problems, including an excellent sidebar on "too much crying." (107) His writing is accessible and breaks down complicated topics with practical and pragmatic explanations--along with a whole lot of compassion, both for yourself and for the person you're trying to deal with. Chapter 4, "Knowing Wh ...more
Susan Visser
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible
Another great book by Mark Goulston. The previous one I read was "Just Listen". Mark is a psycologist with an unbelievable talent to get through to people. In this book, he teaches his readers how to deal with issues that arise at work or home that are likely caused by a personality tic or disorder.

He breaks the book up by the type of person we're dealing with. He calls them "crazy", but tells us that we are all crazy at some points. As irrational, illogical humans, crazy moments are par for the
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This book deals with a heavy subject, and takes it seriously. So when I say there is not too much too it, I mean that it is pretty light on content for a full-length non-fiction book. If you need instant help in dealing with a life situation, this could be an advantage. I found it lightweight. The book is written in three parts. There is a general introduction of concepts or theory of action, then a list of types of people you might be trying to deal with and an application of the theory of acti ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am not usually a self-help kinda girl but I am glad I picked this one up! It has some great insight into dealing with irrational people. We all bump into irrational people every day. At work, at the grocery store, on the highway and in our living rooms! This covers it all. What kind of crazy are you dealing with? What kind of crazy are you? When is it better to just walk away?
Goulston does a great job giving examples of how to deal with situations at work and with family. He explains that you
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MARK GOULSTON, M.D., is a business psychiatrist and consultant, author of the bestselling Just Listen, and subject of the PBS special “Just Listen with Dr. Goulston.” He writes a Tribune syndicated career column; blogs for Fast Company, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and Psychology Today; and is featured frequently in major media including The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fort ...more

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