Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Review: Why Can't We Just Get Along by Shelley Hendrix

This topic (dealing with difficult people) is something I've been looking for a good book on for quite some time.  I've even gone to the Christian bookstore just to look for a book on how to deal with difficult people.  Naturally, I requested it when I saw it available on NetGalley.  You can tell from the cover that it's a book intended for women and focuses largely on women's relationships with other women, typically in social  and familial settings, although it could also be applied to work settings.

Self-help type books tend to really defy my usual rating system, so I'm just going to write one review for both writing and entertainment value this time.

I think the writing will definitely have an appeal to a certain type of reader.  Unfortunately, I don't think I'm the reader this book needed.  And I hate to judge a book by its cover, but I feel like in this case I probably should have for both my sake and the author's.  It's not a very...deep...book.  I hate to say it that way, but what I mean is, there was no new information or insight.  I wasn't really challenged and I felt like it was all information I have from various sermons, women's conferences, and Bible studies.

The focus of the book is also largely on dealing with social and familial relationships.  I was hoping for less of a social, mean girls, woman to woman friendship vibe and more of a practical tips for dealing with both men and women in difficult situations across the board, as opposed to the social-familial atmosphere.  My most difficult relationships are not with other women and are not confined to social or home-based settings.  It's largely in my work life and, honestly, the most difficult people I work with are men.

Again, I don't think this is necessarily an indication of poor writing or shallow thinking on the author's part.  I think the fact that the focus was so centered on women's relationships with other women in the home and in social situations kept it from addressing what I was hoping for.  And as far as the deepness goes, I think the level of the book will appeal to a lot of people, especially those who haven't heard the message before.

As far as good qualities go, the book is easy to read, has a conversational tone that I found appealing, and contains lots of anecdotes and stories that keep the book moving.  It would probably make for a great young women's Bible study, as it's full of discussion questions that I think would keep a conversation lively and interesting.

Also, if any of you have any suggestions for books on dealing with difficult people in the workplace with less of a focus on woman to woman issues and more of a focus on professional relationships, I am totally in the market and would love to hear them!

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