Every office has someone who may be a little irrational. They be manipulative, stubborn, or passive-aggressive. Most of us just deal with it, but what if there was a better way? Dr. Mark Goulston, a psychiatrist may be able to help with that. In his book,”Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life “, Dr. Goulston helps readers with common-sense solutions for working with or navigating around “that impossible to work with” person in your office or business.
What is “Talking to Crazy” About?
“Talking to Crazy” is the kind of book that seems a bit uncomfortable to read, based on the title, but can’t help taking a look through. No one wants to admit they “talk to crazy.” Yet we all know people who we feel think or act irrationally on more than a few occasions.
In dealing with the “crazy” in our lives, most of us would assume that the best thing to do is to reason or outsmart them. Dr. Goulston disagrees. In fact, he suggests that we do the opposite. We should “lean into their crazy”.
“Leaning into their crazy”, as Dr. Goulston defines it, involves identifying the irrational mindset that a person is locked into and disarming it with one of the techniques from his book. It involves, for example, showing vulnerability (The “Belly Roll” technique”) to unmask a bully’s bravado or boosting a know-it-all’s ego while providing constructive advice (The “Butter-Up” technique).
Leaning into their crazy is not just for dealing with others, it can also apply to the self. As Dr. Goulston points out, many of us often remain trapped in irrational mindsets that can impact our relationship with others. In the second section of the book, “Facing Your Own Crazy First,” Dr. Goulston walks readers through applying the same techniques that readers should use when dealing with irrational people (third section of the book).
The point of “Talking to Crazy” is to build connections between people that may have been severed by an irrational mindset. When a person is a bully, drama queen, etc, people often respond to them in ways that reinforce their actions and beliefs. Dr. Goulston says we can short-circuit that by acting in a different way based on understanding their form of “crazy”.
About the Author
Dr. Mark Goulston (@MarkGoulston ) is an author, speaker, former clinical psychiatrist and professor, and owner of The Goulston Group, a human relations consulting group. His past experience includes working with the FBI, working in radio, and assisting in crisis organization. He is known as “people hacker” and advocate for several social justice issues.
What Was Best About “Talking to Crazy”
The best part of “Talking to Crazy” is the common-sense advice and humor offered by the psychiatrist-author, Dr. Mark Goulston. Dr. Goulston sheds light on mental health issues that are not discussed (but definitely experienced) in everyday life – especially in the workplace.
Managers and supervisors don’t get training in dealing with irrational mindsets, so they have to do the best they can. “Talking to Crazy” may be just the book to start the conversation that a boss or manager needs with themselves before confronting a co-worker, client, vendor or colleague.
What Could Have Been Done Differently
“Talking to Crazy” is very helpful overall, in providing a framework for building relationships based on understanding. It shifts the focus from blame to solution.That being said, the solutions are somewhat limited. They don’t take into consideration other underlying effects or causes in a potentially negative situation. In other words, there are times with the “Belly Up” technique should not be used or may backfire. Workplace problems are often more complex than “Talking to Crazy” makes it out to be.
Why Read This Book
“Talking to Crazy” sheds a light on the workplace issues that co-workers and managers are often to afraid to confront. For example, a manager may not want to confront a high-performing, but passive-aggressive employee because they don’t know what to do.
“Talking to Crazy” provides a way for that manager to identify the mindset and what that manager can do in the short-term when dealing with that employee.