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Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion
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Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  1,305 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
Improve communication, resolve conflicts, and avoid the most common conversational disasters through simple, easily remembered strategies that deflect and redirect negative behaviour.

Verbal Judo is the martial art of the mind and mouth that can show you how to be better prepared in every verbal encounter. Listen and speak more effectively, engage people through empathy (th
Paperback, Revised edition, 222 pages
Published 2004 by Harper (first published May 1983)
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The God Complex by Chris TitusThe Way of the Ninja by Masaaki HatsumiZen in the Martial Arts by Joe HyamsEssence of Ninjutsu by Masaaki HatsumiJet Black and the Ninja Wind by Leza Lowitz
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A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary OstynWhat Your Explosive Child Is Trying to Tell You by Douglas A. RileyTeaching Children Empathy, The Social Emotion by Tonia CaselmanVerbal Judo by George J. ThompsonCooperative Learning in the Classroom by David W. Johnson
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Community Reviews

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Feb 12, 2013 Dave rated it really liked it
I picked this book up at work one night while rotating through what seemed like endless constant observation of patients, one after the other, through the night. In my job working with psychiatric patients, words are important and can mean the difference between calming a volatile situation or blowing it up into something violent, unpredictable and dangerous. So I was intrigued by a number of articles I read in Psychiatric Times that all pointed to this book and the concepts it teaches in order ...more
Eduardo Santiago
Nov 12, 2010 Eduardo Santiago rated it it was ok
This is material I need to recommend; I just can't recommend this book. At least not to my friends, not to the people I hang out with or care about. Read Nonviolent Communication instead. Please.

Verbal Judo is... disturbing. It's about communication, but the undertone is about lying and pretending to empathize in order to get people to do what you want:

"The other person will believe you're trying to understand. Whether you really are interested is irrelevant." (p.81)

Halfway through the book, I a
Sep 11, 2008 Jay rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who needs to get a point across
Recommended to Jay by: UCLA
Dr. Thompson has worked as an English teacher, a police officer and a consultant. Communication is a major key in his life. As a cop he had to figure out how to get people to comply with lawful directions without resorting to physically making them follow instructions. For example, "I stopped you for speeding sir. Please give me your driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance."


Now what?

This book discusses things not to say, dead end arguments, talking yourself into a cor
Dec 29, 2011 Zach rated it did not like it
After reading some reviews I really wanted to love this book. In fact, I immediatly marched out and purchased it as soon as I heard of it. As a professional working in the behavioral health field I was excited to get a text that utilized a practical rather than soley theoretical viewpoint. I found neither a practical "street smart" or empirically based material in this book. Perhaps 10 out of over 200 pages actually covers any real skills or techniques. The rest is bravado, some honest self refl ...more
Leslie Lewis
Jan 11, 2013 Leslie Lewis rated it it was ok
I guess I was expecting more. The whole book felt like a big promotion to take the guy's seminar. By page sixty, the author was still going on and on about how helpful the book was going to be without having given any helpful information. The actual helpful bits are scattered around and have to be gleaned while plowing through a lot of bragging and peacocking behavior. A lot of what the guy tells you is common sense. Maybe if you are a very angry male who has no idea why his wife wants to divorc ...more
Beril Serbest
May 03, 2016 Beril Serbest rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kesinlikle herkesin okuması gereken bir kitap... Yıllar önce bir arkadaşımın hediyesi olan bu çok değerli kitabı neden senelerdir okumamışım diye çok düşündüm, ne çok şey kaçırmışım meğer... İçinde herkesin alacağı dersler olan bir kitap, iletişim becerinizi bir kaç adım öteye geçireceğinden emin olabilirsiniz. Şiddetle tavsiye ederim :)
Aug 22, 2010 Molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, nonfiction
Kind of a repetitive book, but definitely helpful in laying out strategies for dealing with difficult people -- I wish I'd read it earlier; it's already been useful in dealing with difficult library patrons.
Miroku Nemeth
Oct 12, 2011 Miroku Nemeth rated it really liked it
Another recommendation from a fellow scholar of violence and, more importantly, avoiding violence.
Jeshua Newman
Apr 14, 2017 Jeshua Newman rated it it was amazing
This is a quick read - relatively easy to grasp, uses a lot of acronyms, details concrete concepts, and overall communicates the message with anecdotes instead of complicated data. These are all very practical concepts you can start applying right now! I recommend this book to anyone who works with people, especially to people who carry a gun to work.
Lizz Minski
Jun 16, 2017 Lizz Minski rated it it was ok
Shelves: office-book-club
Okay - the practices are sound. The delivery leaves much to be desired.
Virgilio Machado
Feb 21, 2011 Virgilio Machado rated it it was amazing
Very interesting self-help/personal growth book. Difficult to put into practice without some persistence and re-reading. A few good quotes.

Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George J. Thompson and Jerry B. Jenkins is an outstanding little book that everyone should read. Why do I say everyone? Because everyone communicates with others, and this book will help you become a more effective communicator. It really is that good. The advice is simple, but profound and will enable the person w
Jun 15, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Verbal Judo. Although, I think many people want it to be a guide to the most effective communication I see it as an emergency checklist. It gives excellent ways to recover a situation that is moving in the direction of, or has already gone, bad. It provides tools to help when the moment is already there and you may not have had time to think. It's an emergency mitigation plan for your tongue.

What I can also appreciate is that there are solid principles of communication and persuasion t
Doug Haynes
Aug 16, 2012 Doug Haynes rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
I read this because it was recommended by a friend because it had some good points.

It does, however the good points could have been summed up in about 7 pages.
Hitessh Panchal
May 18, 2016 Hitessh Panchal rated it liked it
Some good tips on Respoding and not reacting. Else most of the things he said are taught by our parents, Only which, we forget with time.

Tim Johnson
May 23, 2017 Tim Johnson rated it liked it
The angry man defeats himself in battle, as well as in life.

I took my time going through this one, went through it twice in fact. In-person communication has become somewhat of a lost art in the age of social media. People treat it too glibly or flippantly. Instead of active listening they merely think of what they will say next when it is their turn to speak. I am as guilty as anyone, hence the driving need to boil the information in this book down to its essentials. We can't cover everything a
Dec 30, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
- Thompson offers his viewpoint on interpersonal communication from the perspective of a former professor and cop, which is unique.
- Some of the illustrations he used from his time as a cop were compelling.
- It was well-organized. The sections of the book flow into one another and it was a quick read.
- Thompson offers some practical applications, like in the chapter describing phrases never to say (i.e., "you never..." and "you always", or "you wouldn't understand"), as well as alternati
Kirk Pedersen
May 31, 2017 Kirk Pedersen rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book for how to be productive in any type of conversation. Though much of it is common sense, it is full of examples and reminders of how to talk to other people and leave both parties feeling satisfied.
Listening to what the other person has to say, being empathetic, and letting them talk first are a couple of the key points he makes. Trying to think about point of view from the other person’s perspective is also important when conversing. Following these steps before making
Jul 19, 2017 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio version of this book. Note to self (and you), don't listen to self help books on audible, because I will want to highlight the book and write in the margins. So, I bought a paperback copy to reread.

The start of the book is slow, lots of great stories about why you need to change your verbal ways. Later, the book gets into practicalities and ideas to try.

This is a great book to help me with my students, and I will try to get a professional development session for the sta
Randal Burd
Jul 22, 2017 Randal Burd rated it really liked it
I finished reading Dr. Thompson's book, "Verbal Judo, the Gentle Art of Persuasion." It was a really good read, and I found it especially interesting that he advocated praising someone AFTER you criticize them as opposed to before. I've always been taught the opposite, to begin with praise, but it makes more sense the way he explains it. If you always begin with praise, people are always waiting for the other shoe to drop when you praise them, and they never think you are genuine.
Jul 17, 2017 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: therapy-books
A very useful and direct book. I did learn a lot in this book that I think would be beneficial not only for therapy but for any other communications in my life where there is a specific goal. I was pleasantly surprised that verbal judo is extremely close to a DBT concept called DEARMAN, which focuses on assertiveness and asking for your wants and needs effectively. Definitely worth the read
Paige Mellor
Jun 17, 2017 Paige Mellor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative and Encourages Self-Reflection

I enjoyed the author's use of stories and personal experiences/reflection. The set tone isn't preachy. The format, repetition of key points, the use of stories and encouraged self-reflection makes for an inspiring and easy read.
Renee Kida
Jun 03, 2017 Renee Kida rated it it was ok
I felt like the author talked about himself most of the time rather than talking about the material or content he wanted to share & educate us on. If you find the author himself interesting it could still be a decent read. I did not and felt it got into the way significantly.
Nov 29, 2016 Marrije rated it liked it
Useful. Though I would have to really practice this to get it anywhere near right... *So* bad at conflicts.
Jul 19, 2017 Stefanie rated it liked it
Slightly repetitive and could have been condensed to less pages. Overall, good ways to communicate and to keep in mind no matter who you are speaking to.
Jess Bell
Jul 21, 2017 Jess Bell rated it it was amazing
Applicable no matter your profession or vocation!
Matthew Akers
I loved it at the beginning. By the the end it got super repetitive and was board.
Michael "Doc" Norton
This is a decent book on communication skills primarily for de-fusing contentious situations. There are good tips here, but I personally felt like a good deal of this was either common sense (don't be a jerk, don't escalate) or disingenuous (techniques for disarming and getting control to get compliance). These may be great for police, but they seem awful for personal relationships.
Chad Booher
Feb 22, 2017 Chad Booher rated it it was amazing
Shelves: growth
Great book on communication. It takes a different approach with how to be empathetic than other books. Some critics have argued that it's about manipulation. In some ways that is true but we must first come to terms that the form of manipulation outlined in the book should not be viewed as negative. After reading the entire book thoroughly I can attest that the goal of Verbal Judo is not to coerce someone into something unwillingly. The goal is to help them see the situation the way they would 4 ...more
Trevor Burns
This book is really interesting. I really like this book because the author, and english professor, and retired police officer gets his point across with cool cop stories.
Jan 21, 2013 DT rated it it was ok
The author was a former police officer and a PhD in English. At a high level, the concept is expressed in the title, if you know that judo is supposed to be about blending with your opponent's negative energy instead of responding to it head on. Many of the examples are given from the perspective of how a police officer should act when interacting with people on the street.

The message is to use empathy to manage a verbal encounter and try not to let your ego get the better of you. It's not a boo
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Dr. Thompson ("Doc Rhino") is the Founder of the Verbal Judo Institute. Since 1983 and until he died in 2011, he personally trained more than 700,000 individuals in Tactical Communications -- a program he developed in 1983 for defusing conflict and redirecting behavior with words.

Doc had a B.A. from Colgate University (1963), a Masters and Doctorate in English from the University of Connecticut (1
More about George J. Thompson...

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“YOU NEVER …” OR “YOU ALWAYS …” These absolute generalizations are lies. Is it true that a child never cleans up his room? (Okay, bad example. That may be true!) Is it true that your spouse is “always late”? Accusatory generalizations are rarely true and indicate that you have both lost perspective and will soon lose the attention of your listener.” 2 likes
“Principle number one: Let the person say what he wants as long as he does what you say. I even tell cops that. I say, “Let them chip at you as long as they’re cooperating with you. What do you care what they say? Your attitude should be ‘Say what you want, but do as I say!’” The only time this would not work is when the words the citizen uses serve only to inflate him with adrenaline, making him or his companions more of a problem. The officer has to carefully watch a person’s body language to see when he might explode from his own initiative. It’s important to intervene before these situations get out of hand.” 2 likes
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