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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Business/Personal Development, 2016

Let's face it: We all know people who are irrational. No matter how hard you try to reason with them, it never works. So what's the solution? How do you talk to someone who's out of control? What can you do with a boss who bullies, a spouse who yells, or a friend who frequently bursts into tears?

In his book Just Listen, Mark Goulston shared his best-selling formula for getting through to the resistant people in your life. Now, in his breakthrough new book Talking to Crazy, he brings his communication magic to the most difficult group of all - the downright irrational. As a psychiatrist, Goulston has seen his share of crazy, and he knows from experience that you can't simply argue it away. The key to handling irrational people is to learn to lean in to the crazy - to empathize with it. That radically changes the dynamic and transforms you from a threat into an ally.

Talking to Crazy explains this counterintuitive Sanity Cycle and reveals:

  • Why people act the way they do
  • How instinctive responses can exacerbate the situation and what to do instead
  • When to confront a problem and when to walk away
  • How to use a range of proven techniques including Time Travel, the Fish-bowl, and the Belly Roll
  • And much more

You can't reason with unreasonable people - but you can reach them. This powerful and practical book shows you how.

©2015 Mark Goulston (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A persuasive performance by L. J. Ganser illuminates both the droll and the danger of dealing with 'crazy' people.... The resonance of Ganser's voice is engaging, and his portrayals of the numerous personalities discussed are the highlight of his performance." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Ready for my Crazies

I loved the first chapters, some chapters didn't apply to the crazies in my life but it was still worth listening to, because you never know...

I was able to see so many characteristics in the people I know and they were all over the spectrum, the histrionic, the narcisistic, the dependent, the paranoid, the borderline and thank God no sociopathic... I very much enjoyed the labeling, hehehe specially when thinking about the inlaws and Thanksgiving, OMG that nailed it!!!but then the book gets deeper and makes you feel a little more empathic to some, I don't feel like I need to slap some reason into a particular friend, and I'm ready to say a definite goodbye to another.

Very liberating, I would highly recommend it.

43 of 44 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Dissapointed

The book's optimistic title caught my interest, but alas it doesn't live up to its title. The problem is that the author focuses too much on specific situations rather that fostering an attitude of listening. The main message of the book is to put yourself in the shoes of other people. But rather than helping foster this attitude, he seems to act as if each situation is different. For example, he gives advice such as, "say - (insert specific advice) - then pause and say, really, then say oh tell me more".

Much of the advice is suspicious because the author is seeing his results from a biased sample size - the people that he actually follows up with or give him messages that his advice works. But people don't bother to follow up when things go wrong. So he is getting message back that his system works, but it made me wonder how often is advice goes bad.

Also, one of his main recommendations involves telling others how they feel! In my experience people don't like it when I presume to know how they are feeling. Much better to ask rather than assume. I was surprised how often he recommends this approach. It may work for the author who has years of experience, but I am not going presume to know what someone else is feeling - it is very likely to blow up in my face. We've all heard that assuming makes an a** out of you and me.

If the author's advice actually does work, I would rather have him tell me the underlying beliefs and values he holds and how he comes to his advice, rather than a manual for dealing with specific situations of crazy.

I gave the book 2 stars because it was entertaining enough to listen to on my way to work.

123 of 133 people found this review helpful

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Get through your "every day crazy" peers.

As usual Mark Goulston really did it!! Just as goos as "Just Listen", Talking to Crazy give you tools to get through people whom are the "every day crazy". It also helps to increase the awareness of your own craziness therefore you will be able to control yourself during maddening situations.
Also L.J. Ganser is my new favorite Narrator. His voice is enthusiastic and you just can't stop listing to him.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Great Insight

I really like Mark Ghoulston's work. I enjoy listening to him on podcasts and watching his YouTube videos. I have enjoyed his other book and this one is worth listening to. I even bought a hardcover edition as a gift for a business friend.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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New Tools.... Teaches How and When to use Them!

Listening to this author was time well spent. He is knowledgeable, experienced, practical, interesting and offered usable words and methods to use in dealing with the bits of "crazy" in me and in those whom I love. Best take away phrase.."Opportunity for Poise!" Thank you Dr. Goulston

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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NOW I understand...

Any additional comments?

Dr. Goulston, you are a genius! This book will show you why you've had trouble communicating with "some folks"...and how to be more successful in the future. Well played, Dr. Well played!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Eye opening.

I loved it! A hard copy would be nice to go along with it.
Really enjoyed the narrator too.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Talking to Crazy

A must read!! Great for anyone challenged with difficult or irrational people in their lives. I absolutely recommend this book!

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Practical ideas for dealing with the not so logical people in your life!

I have already started to use some of the ideas in this book with success!

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Multitude of Ways to Handle Crazy

I've worked at a University Law Library with all of those crazies, was married to a "crazy" first husband, and now work with kids, and heavens knows those younguns can be a handful. Considering the latter, we get training on how to head off power struggles, conflict, aggression, and most of it deals with just that: heading off. And most of it's the sort of: "I feel this when you do that, blah, blah, blah." It's all very bland, and what happens when you find yourself in the middle of full-blown crazy ('cause some of the kids I work with are explosive anger types)?
"Talking to Crazy" gives a clear outline and action steps on how to deal with some of life's most difficult personalities and situations. You figure out the irrational person's MO, determining what personality type they are first, where they're coming from. Are they emotional? Logical? Manipulative? Martyrs? There's even a bit on sociopaths.
Then you deal with your own personal crazy before you can do anything else. And sometimes, the book cautions, you may have to go so far as to wait 72 hours if you're full-blown in-danger-of-doing-something-stupid mode (it's referred to as Amygdala Hijacking... ha!).
Yes, Goulston gives mostly positive outcome anecdotes, but he also specifically states what you might do should you get less than stellar results with a particular strategy. And there are plenty of Action Steps given for you to try. This isn't a Philosophy Of... type of book; it's hands on, try-saying-this treatise on the subject. There are suggestions for action depending on whether you're a tough type (The Kiss Off), or if you're rather non-confrontational (The Gentle Kiss Off).
As one reviewer noted, there is a bit of telling a person what they're feeling which to me too sounds like gasoline on a fire. That's covered in the section on AEU--Apologize, Empathize, and (to me, this sounds the most presumptuous and inflammatory:) Uncover, but AEU is by no means the only method on dealing with people.
This book can be used in any situation with any kind of relationship. It deals with the workplace, with home life, with parents, particular aging ones, and with difficult children. It addresses huge, devastating rifts in addition to the minor ones. It also has a section on what to do if "crazy" is actually part of mental illness and how you might cope then.
Great listen, and I learned so much. I deal with cranky, foul-mouthed teenagers, and I now have new ways of approaching them that aren't so... for lack of a better term: "gently PC" but get at where they're coming from. I can be firm, yet so much more compassionate.
Totally worth the time and price!

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • MRS J.
  • 10-30-15

Sound advice we all need to hear

This book contains some of the most common-sense, interpersonal advice, I've ever heard and is a useful tool for my therapist kit bag

2 of 2 people found this review helpful