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Coping With Difficult People: The Proven-Effective Battle Plan That Has Helped Millions Deal with the Troublemakers in Their Lives at Home and at Work
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Coping With Difficult People: The Proven-Effective Battle Plan That Has Helped Millions Deal with the Troublemakers in Their Lives at Home and at Work

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  338 ratings  ·  40 reviews
We've encountered them: the bullies, the wet blankets, the yea-sayers that never come through. More often than not, we're left fumbling for words, stumbling toward the door...frustrated, enraged or just plain depressed.
Dr. Robert M. Bramson, a psychologist and management consultant, will show you that it is possible to remain sane, dignified and optimistic when dealing wi
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 1st 1988 by Dell (first published 1981)
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3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  338 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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I've been doing psychiatric counseling for a few years and I'm always looking for good resources, both for myself and as recommendations for the general public. This book sets the standard for the topic. I have two main issues for review: first for the general and then for the professional.

Bramson makes the point toward the end that this is not a "self-help" book in the sense of improving self image or self esteem. It is, as it claims, a guidebook for how to cope with difficult people in your l
Steven Peterson
Oct 15, 2009 rated it liked it
There are some other books out there on the same subject. Some, like "Toxic Coworkers," may do the job even better. But this is still a useful volume. As the Introduction notes (page 1): "This is a book about impossible people and how to cope with them." Coping is the center of this work--how to deal with workers who are difficult to work with. The idea? (Page 7): "Coping enables you and the Difficult Person to get on with the business at hand." "Win-win" is the goal. Is the advice useful? Each ...more
Jul 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
I'm looking for a book on this subject that is interesting to read and doesn't bore me with anecdotes about people I don't care about. This book is a quick read, but what I got out of it could have been conveyed in 50 pages. If the subject has to be fluffed up to make a book, the writing needs to be much more entertaining. If you have a particular person in mind when you pick up this book, I'd jump right to the chapter devoted to them.
Jamie F
Oct 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone that wants to improve dealing with difficult people
Good book with specific steps to deal with 7 different types of difficult peoople. A lot of the recommendations fit well with what I've learned in the leadership program at work, but instead of a generic approach for everyone, it gave specific steps for specific situations. It was worth reading if you have difficult coworkers or if you need to be prepared to deal with anyone! ;-)
Jul 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to booklady by: Jane St. Clair
Helpful book to pick up when you encounter a person who is a particular challenge and you have to deal with them on a regular basis. Teaches techniques to de-emphasize emotional aspects and view the situation from a safe distance. Invaluable with certain people.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting observations and so helpful hints. Definitely directed to a workplace environment rather than one's personal life (that was what I was looking for).
Diana Banner
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a book to help you understand different types of difficult people, how they act, and why they act that way this is the book for you. What I loved most about it was the focus on understanding the behavior and the information on how to cope with people in your life who act this way. This book does not focus on how to change other people's behavior because that's not possible. The only thing we can change is our own actions and how we feel about a certain situation. In this bo ...more
Aug 28, 2015 added it
This book was really informative. I wish I had discovered it about ten years ago. I think it would have really helped me cope with some situations that should not have become so complicated and stressful. This book describes different types of people that prove difficult to handle and ways to cope. I think the most important thing I realized from this book is that the majority of people are not consciously difficult and half the trouble is how your reaction can escalate the situation if you empl ...more
Jason H
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book is definitely all about what the title says: coping. Bramson gives some good overviews of archetypes you'll see in offices around the world, and even though the book is dated now (teletype?), the people we all work with are generally still the same.

The thing that bothered me the entire time was that he decided to write a book about coping with difficult people instead of a book about how to change those difficult people for the better, through training, self-awareness, etc. Maybe he's
Jan 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
The edition I read was very old, published in the early '80s. I hope later editions have updated research.

RE: this edition, I found his choice of personality types to be accurate but I disagreed with some of his analysis of why these personalities emerge.

I think sociology and business psychology has come a long way since this edition was written. Anyone who has spent any time in college has likely spent time in a management class and thus examined the topics he addresses in this book, and probab
Kresimir Mudrovcic
Dec 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Book was literally OK, nothing more. Writer spoiled it with too many disconnected parts, I was missing some flow in the book. Also, there were too many personality divisions that created too many different things specific to some personality type to remember. Also there was not a single scientific or research backup for the recommendations. Overall, it is a good topic, but style of writing was a failure.
Nov 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
Maybe I'm looking for something with a bit more bite, that offers more practical solutions than, essentially, "grin and bear it". I wanted a work that dug under the personalities and got to the driving pathology. For that, I will have to look elsewhere. And if I may be forgiven for nitpicking, this work really suffers from a case of the cutes, with workplace personalities labeled things like "the clam" or "the sherman tank".
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5-star-favorites
I read this book more than 10 years ago and am now re-reading it. It is a very quick read and is so helpful not only in work relationships but also personal ones. The primary take away is for one to focus more on their own reactions and coping strategies vs. trying to expect or effect change in a person who is difficult to deal with. I have recommended this to countless colleagues and friends. It is a small paperback, easily acquired on Amazon but buy it before it goes out of print!
Adam Nelson
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this for work, for my department's professional development. Interesting and at times difficult read. It stirred up bad memories of a former, very abusive work environment, for one, but it also had the unintended effect of causing me to reflect on my own behaviors on the job. I can pinpoint many times in my working life when I was the difficult person. In that sense, the book can be an invaluable tool, especially now that I'm the director of my department.
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who dislikes their boss or someone they work with (and it only takes 1!)
Recommended to Nicole by: Alleruzo in Hospitality leadership
This book is exactly what the title suggests, how to cope with difficult people. The setting of the book is in the workplace or office, but the authors ideas can be applied to just about anywhere where there are people that you do not care for. Read about the various types of "difficult people" and learn how to deal with them and their habits/manorisms, etc. professionally and most effectively.
Did not finish. The examples were not compelling and I just didn't feel pulled along through it. I much preferred Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In.
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book had some good ideas but I didn't realise there were so many categories of 'difficult' people and according to the author they all need to be handled differently! This sounds too much like hard work to me, I will just keep treating everyone the way I like to be treated. this works for me most of the time.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Excellent practical advise for dealing with difficult personality types, including hostile-agressives, complainers, silent unresponsives, super-agreeables, negativists, and know-it-alls. I used this book in a leadership program, and had the opportunity to practice what I learned on a difficult employee - a classic "hostile-agressive sniper." The tips really worked!
Robert Snow
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone has a boss no matter who you work for or what you do. Know how to deal with them and how to survive. A good book that not many people will read because most people don't understand what they're dealing with until it is all over and a new Boss takes over from the old.
Kylir Horton
Feb 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book with very applicable and usable advice. I liked how straight-forward and realistic it is. I am planning on rereading this book to pick up on more of the details. I highly recommend reading this!
Paul Brandel
Jul 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
A fine book on dealing w/difficult coworkers.The gives the types of
those troublesome workers and technics on dealing with those coworkers.
The writer also points out how we can be a difficult person too,and
to work on our issues.

Nick Argiriou
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Πολύ χρήσιμο βιβλίο, πολύ απλή γραφή και κατανοητές "οδηγίες". Δεν μπαίνει σε ψυχολογικά θέματα, είναι επιφανειακό, και αυτό το πλεονέκτημά του, γιατί δεν στέκεται στο γιατί, αλλά στο πως. Επεξεργάζεται "δύσκολους" τύπους και δίνει γενικές (για όλους τους τύπους) και ειδικές οδηγίες.
Dave Lefevre
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: howto
Very solid book even after 30 years. The basic types hold true. Some good ideas to build upon while the author keeps in mind that everyone is different.

I read this as a help with dealing with certain personality types that come up in customer service.
Paul DeBusschere
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Somewhat useful, but the book is extremely dated for today's workplace. I found Dr. Bramson's examples either too contrived or too archaic in many chapters. Quite a few passages are, frankly, pretty dry reading for a subject which should be more engaging. Yawn.
Faith Reidenbach
May 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
I didn't read the whole book, just the section on the type of co-worker I'm having difficulty with. I thought the author's insights were spot-on, and the strategies he suggested truly have helped me cope.
Sherry (sethurner)
Oct 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
I used this book with my high school communication class because it gives several good strategies for dealing with people who belittle, berate, and generally annoy you, other than telling them off or popping them in the chops. This was a novel concept to some of my students.
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
I found this book to be easy to read and full of common sense advice. It also helped to look inward where my own thoughts and reactions may be contributing to a stressful situation. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to resolve a conflict in as positive manner as possible.
David J.
Oct 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone dealing with Difficult People
Recommended to David J. by: No one....I found it!
I keep this little handy gem with me at my desk at work and refer to it often!
Aug 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I have a copy of this book at home which I review it every now and then. It is very helpful for when you are frustrated at work, and gives tips on how to deal with each type of boss.
Mar 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Read this books years ago when I was a counselor. It's okay.
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