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LESSONS FROM A DIFFICULT PERSON

HOW TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE LIKE US

A practical guide that will bring relief to its readers.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
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A debut personal-growth manual that asserts that understanding the unconscious motives of “difficult people” can lead to better relationships.

Elliston, a volunteer coordinator for the United Way and a former high school teacher, writes that she used to be surprised by the reactions she would get from some of her colleagues in the nonprofit community, who either avoided or criticized her. Her supervisors frequently mentioned Elliston being “difficult” and having “a need for improved communication skills,” which just added to her bewilderment. She only began to realize how she appeared to others when one supervisor confronted her with specifics about the offending behavior: storming around the office while muttering to herself, “lifting things up and dropping them,” and generally raising the anxiety level of the office. The supervisor added that it was clear that Elliston wasn’t aware of her own conduct and the effects it had on others, but it still had to stop. Stunned, the author searched for why she was so blind to her own actions, and why no one had pointed them out earlier. She quizzed her family members and examined her own childhood, and she uncovered maladaptive habits, such as criticizing, complaining, and blaming, that she mistakenly believed would win her approval. In this book, Elliston suggests techniques for looking beyond “difficult” people’s aggression to understand their fears, their senses of inferiority, and their struggles to be accepted. Posing questions and performing exercises, she says, can lead to a greater understanding of others’ behavior, and techniques drawn from Choice Theory and Reality Therapy offer guidelines for early, though not painless, intervention and necessary conversations. This isn’t just another book about dealing with annoying co-workers, but a fresh look at why they can seem so oblivious. Readers will likely break out the highlighter to record memorable points. Elliston’s suggestions, drawn from the work of Drs. William Glasser, Sidney B. Simon, and Thomas Gordon, will cut through readers’ dread as they plan discussions with others. At times, Elliston’s focus on childhood traumas as causes of “difficult” behavior seems too pat, but her insights and work plan never are.

A practical guide that will bring relief to its readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62747-406-1

Page Count: 173

Publisher: Sojourn Publishing LLC

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2017

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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