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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Review: Verbal Judo - The Gentle Art of Persuasion

Verbal Judo's subtitle is The Gentle Art of Persuasion. To my surprise, the book's written by an ex-cop.  In one sense, this is good. You want tried and true techniques that have been used in life-or-death situations and you hope that's generally applicable to your daily life. On the other hand, it's not quite clear that some of the techniques he described would be ones you would (or could) use in domestic environments.

For instance, in one instance he's trying to talk down a crazy guy from wounding his son because he thought his son was possessed by demons. His solution was to lie to the guy and said: "I know a priest specializing in demonic possession." Of course in this case it worked, and he was able to save a child, but I'm pretty sure if you lied to your wife or kids about anything you'd be caught sooner or later, and that's going to ruin your credibility. Since cop-citizen interactions are frequently one-off interactions, the issues that come into play in domestic life don't come into play that often. Similarly, a cop making an arrest has formal authority and power that you probably don't have most of the time when dealing with other people in business.

That said, the book has a ton of advice that is generally applicable, including how to take a step back and keep yourself from saying things you'll regret later. That self-discipline is a useful one, and I think more people could benefit from it. Similarly, the approach towards summarizing the situation is a good one.

As with many books of this nature, it's frequently repetitive and over-written. On paper or on the Kindle, this is a big deal, but since I audited the audio book version, the excessive repetition was fine since in an audio book you can't go back and re-read stuff that's referred to earlier, so in some sense that's an advantage. Recommended.

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