on October 16, 1998
How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable is the 12th book in the Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense series. The first three books present the general principles of the Gentle Art and how to use them to handle hostile language coming at you. The remaining books each deal with using these principles in specific situations. Each can stand alone and the ones I have read have been very relevant to their subject. In this book, Dr. Elgin discusses how to impart negative messages or criticism to others without increasing hostility in your language environment. The first part of the book deals with an overview of hostile language and its cost both to society and our personal lives. I thought this information was interesting because the way we use language is taken for granted and it is a fascinating idea that each one making deliberate and thoughtful changes in the way they use language can have a great positive influence in our world. The remainder of the book gives practical ways to pass on negative messages without resorting to hostile language or making an already difficult situation even more so. Where it is applicable, the different ways situations are handled by men and women are discussed. One of the things I appreciated most in this part of the book was the use of scenarios. These dialogues enabled me to see and hear both the way a particular situation is handled and how using that particular technique would be better. Since there are many occasions which require the passing of negative information, this is a very practical book and one I would recommend for everyone. As a volunteer reference librarian in a public library system, I think it would be a good addition to public libraries also.
on October 4, 1998
The Gentle Art series is written for "normal" people. Each of the books is written to a different audience and each is very powerful. Few people should read all the books, but those with the specific needs can not find anything better. This book has strong tools you can use in day to day interactions with dialogues, examples and powerfully clean writing.