About the Book
“The Smart Way to Deal with Stupid People” breaks down how readers can effectively get what they want when they want it in five anxiety-free and “smart way” steps. It demonstrates how readers can successfully navigate frustrating situations and people in a conflict-free way. In “The Smart Way,” readers learn how to prepare themselves mentally by being aware and clear about what they want in order to productively get what they want and need. Not only does Silvey teach readers how to accomplish this, he also shows how to create a win-win situation by helping the "other" person standing in their way get what he or she wants and needs, too.
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When I was asked to review this book, I couldn't resist the title. It made me laugh :) It's a very short read and in the first couple of pages, I could identify with the situations described in the book. We've all met those people we want to smack because they are supposed to be helping us and, instead, they act stupid - or at least stupid from our viewpoint.
The author teaches us how to treat people like that and shows us that these aren't "stupid" people, although their behaviors might be stupid. Most of the things we read about in this book are common sense, something not everyone has :) I don't think there is anything in this book that is earth-shattering, but it motivates us to get on track. It reminds us how to treat people.
As I said, it's a very short book and can be read very quickly in one sitting. Good material and it makes for an interesting read.
FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Please join me in welcoming author David E. Silvey (author of The Smart Way to Deal with Stupid People found at www.smartwaybooks.com to Socrates’ Book Review Blog.
So, let’s begin…
1. What made you write this book?
In my work as an operational internal auditor, I traveled a lot, both domestically and internationally. It was often during my travels that I would notice how well-dressed, “power-broker” executives seemed to waltz through airports, rental car offices, hotels and restaurants thinking that they were the only ones who mattered; that their business, their conversations (loud and public) were more urgent, more important and more interesting than anyone else’s—especially more important than the folks who worked on the front lines at airports, restaurants, rental car counters and hotels. The problem was that they were in many ways dependent on the service of those “front line” people. But instead of recognizing the value and “power” these lower-level clerks had to offer and had at their disposal, they would treat them like two-bit employees who they could direct and control. The problem, as I observed it, was that these executives would not really get what they wanted/needed and, in fact, most likely never got all they could have gotten, which was often times better than what they asked for (and thought they needed.) So I started to experiment with ways to get what I wanted and needed from “stupid” people who just seemed to be in the way (i.e. lower-level clerks who I and others may have initially perceived as less competent, less capable, less “connected,” and ultimately less efficient or effective than me.) As I developed an approach that worked, I realized that it would be worth sharing it with others.
2. Do you know many stupid people? LOL
Of course! We all do! But to be fair, I believe there really are no stupid people, just stupid behaviors. What helped me understand this was to realize that I can be acting in a way that is totally logical to me, but looks absolutely ludicrous to other people who are watching me. So in most instances, with people who are generally just going about their business or doing their job, no one acts stupid on purpose.
3. Okay, I think we’ve all met people we felt were stupid. What do you suggest should be everyone’s first reaction to such people?
Again, I think the most important thing to remember is that no one acts stupid on purpose. There is a valid reason (to them at least) why they are doing what they’re doing or saying what they’re saying. If I can contain my emotion and channel it and put it to work to find out what’s behind the stupid behavior, I can actually unlock a gold mine that will help me get what I want and need from that person.
4. Is it true that you plan to write more books like this? What’s in the works?
Yes! I’m planning a whole series of “Smart Way Books” just like the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and “Dummy” series of books. I hope to enlist other authors who are experts in their field to write some of the books for me. I will just manage the brand and umbrella of “Smart Way Books.”
Currently, I’m writing “The Smart Way to Deal with Stupid Bosses” and “The Smart Way to Deal with Bullies,” but I want to make sure that all my recommended approaches are tried and true before I put them out there.
5. Thinking about your own reading preferences, what’s your favorite genre and/or author to read?
I love “real life” stories about people who have overcome incredible challenges or who have tried new things or learned new things. I read non-fiction almost exclusively. One of my favorite books is Bruchko: The Astonishing True Story of a 19-Year-Old American, His Capture by the Motilone Indians and His Adventures...by Bruce Olson. Another favorite is Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I also like Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller, South: The Endurance Expedition by Ernest Shackleton, and Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. I have learned how to interact with people and deal with difficult situations through each of these authors.
6. Who is you biggest influence in your writing career?
Probably the author who has influenced me the most in helping me shape my message is Tim Sanders, who wrote “Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends.” I actually quote him in my book and in the process of writing “The Smart Way” reached out to him and ended up having quite a bit of correspondence with him. I feel like my “people-centric, others focused” perspective is right in line with his.
7. What is the very first thing you wrote (published or not)?
I’ve been writing for a long time. When I was in high school, I worked as a school news page reporter for my local newspaper, The Huntingdon Daily News. My senior year, I won the title of “Reporter of the Year,” which came with public accolades and a cash reward. However, each week, the newspaper would choose one writer (out of all the school news page reporters in the county) for his/her article. One of the first wins I had was when I wrote an article about a high school football player who got hit so hard in the game that he was knocked out. He was carried to the sidelines and when he came to, he had amnesia and did not know where he was or what he was watching. He went on to describe the game of football (and the half-time show with the bands) from the eyes of someone who had never seen any of it before. It was very funny. I got the idea from observing a student in my school—who was a foreign exchange student from Norway—play baseball for the first time. She hit the ball with the bat and then jumped in the air and ran a tight circle around home plate! Comical!
8. What is your #1 recommendation to help people deal with stupid people?
My #1 recommendation is that when you are dealing with anyone who is frustrating the daylights out of you to stop and realize that everyone—even “stupid” people—have something valuable to offer you—especially if they are in a position of serving you or helping you get something you want and need. You always want to engage them in your problem solving process so you can gain access to everything they know and can do instead of alienating them and ultimately shooting yourself in the foot!
Thank you, David for spending time at Socrates’ Book Review Blog!
Thank YOU for helping me get the word out about my book. Together, we can make the world work better—for all of us!