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Publisher: Quill / HarperCollins
Release Date: March 2, 2004
ISBN: 0060577657
Format Reviewed: Trade Paperback
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Genre:  Nonfiction – Self-Help/Personal Growth – Communication
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Kristin Johnson
Reviewer Notes:  Reviewer Kristin Johnson is the author of CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING, co-written with Mimi Cummins and ORDINARY MIRACLES: My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic and Scientific Journey, co-written with Sir Rupert A.L. Perrin, M.D.

Verbal Judo
The Gentle Art of Persuasion
By George J. Thompson, Ph.D. and Jerry B. Jenkins

      Scenario: You’re on the freeway and a road rage driver hits you. You yell epithets at him. He yells back at you. Before you know it, the two of you are pulled over and the LAPD doesn’t realize you have a video camera…oops, wrong scenario. The next thing you know, there’s a police officer in your face, yelling at you. “He started it” makes you sound like your two kids in the back, who along with your spouse think this is an episode of “COPS” gone wrong.

       In another location, a teenager refuses to do his homework and the parents yell. The teenager either storms out of the house or is sent to bed Amish style: no electricity, no nothing.

      Enter George Thompson, Verbal Judo expert, and Jerry B. Jenkins, who refines this communication samurai’s sword into a mighty pen. The result: a useful book on communication as a martial arts form, and not a Jackie Chan type either. Actually, Jackie’s known for using humor to talk his way out. The ancient samurais and Buddhist monks used often-whimsical koans to deflect tension. Thompson and Jenkins add several acronym communications formulas and the use of “strip phrases” such as “’preciate that, oyesss, understan’ that.” Try one of those instead of arguing with your spouse over Thanksgiving plans and maybe you won’t feel like the turkey in the oven.

      Why should I bother to shove my ego out of the way and empathize with the customers/kids/cops/parents that make my life difficult? Thompson and Jenkins make it clear that difficult people are a way of life. Or to summarize in concrete terms, you have a choice to yell “He started it” at the police officer instead of saying, “Sir, here is what happened,” or the teenager can be grounded for life instead of saying, “’preciate that, Mom and Dad, but I really promised to help out my best friend, so maybe we can work something out.”

      Thompson and Jenkins also guide police and parents, who like the samurai possess power and strength (kids are unconscious verbal competent), to successfully practice verbal responsibility.