Whichever side of the political spectrum you’re on, real life this year’s been a bit scary. Anyone can feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the constant insanity on the news — school shootings, cars running over people, hyperbolic and doomy announcements — it never seems to let up, and whatever your opinion is, it seems that there is always someone ready to shout in your face and punch you for being on the wrong side. And sometimes it seems like there never is a right side.
Surviving Aggressive People by Shawn Smith gives us a toolset for avoiding and defusing conflict that we don’t often get as kids. Smith gives us options when things get scary, as well as exploring the psychology of aggression, and explaining to the reader just why things sometimes go bad. Example scenarios are given, common actions and reactions are explained, and ways of defusing the situation are shown. It gives the reader a toolbox for dealing with stressful situations, makes it easier to understand the other side, and reduces some of the fear-factor when things go a bit off the wall. It won’t make you into a super epic hostage negotiator, but it is a good primer on de-escalating and defusing conflict.
Surviving Aggressive People is an average-sized book; 283 pages, and clocking in at about five hours of reading time. It does a good job of presenting the basics of conflict de-escalation, without drowning you in case-studies or the nitty-gritty, giving the reader more ways to deal with conflict without resorting to equal or greater aggression or violence themselves. It is easy to understand, and doesn’t talk down to the reader, or treat aggressive folks as the hollywood-style bad guy.
I would recommend this book to anyone feeling anxious or stressed out about the world and all the violence going on, or anyone who wants to feel a bit more empowered.