Christian Living


books 10/13/08

Book Review: How to Solve Your People Problems by Dr. Alan Godwin

How to Solve Your People Problems: Dealing with Your Difficult Relationships
Dr. Alan Godwin
Harvest House Publishers, August 1, 2008
ISBN: 978-0736923514, 240 pages

Interacting with people brings problems with people. The closer the contact, the greater the potential for conflict. In "How to Solve Your People Problems," Dr. Alan Godwin shares biblical, practical principles to help readers avoid conflict when possible and handle difficult encounters constructively. Dr. Godwin gives readers the tools and the framework to:

•benefit from every relationship
•handle conflict with grace, reason, and flexibility
•change problem situations into positive encounters
•reduce conflict situations
•successfully deal with unreasonable people

I knew I was going to like this book by the second page of the first chapter (which may be a new record for me!). Clinical psychologist Dr. Godwin begins How to Solve Your People Problems with a laugh out loud anecdote from his own childhood. And that surprised me. I thought maybe a book written by a psychologist would be serious… studious… somber. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Dr. Alan Godwin goes about the business of covering a very serious topic, “conflict,” with a delightful use of humor, interesting stories, real life examples, and everyday language. Staying away from “doctor-speak,” he chooses instead to write How to Solve Your People Problems in a digestible, readable, and engaging way.

How to Solve Your People Problems is basically broken into two parts; conflict with reasonable people, and conflict with unreasonable people. Each of these types of conflict must be handled differently, and I found Godwin’s approach informative and eye-opening. When discussing unreasonable people Dr. Godwin writes,

“So here’s what we’re up against when we have conflict with unreasonable people. They automatically assume we’re the ones in the wrong, they fail to see their contributions to the conflict, they claim no responsibility for any part of the problem, they’re not bothered by the impact of their words and actions on us, and they change nothing because nothing about them needs changing. Is it any wonder that unreasonable people are so difficult for us to handle?

When a reasonable person argues with an unreasonable person, they have different objectives. The reasonable person’s conflict goal is resolution while the unreasonable person’s goal is rightness.  To the unreasonable person, being right is entwined with his identity as a person and/or survival. He needs to eat, he needs to breathe, and he needs to be right.”

I don’t like conflict, and I don’t know anyone who does (I’m sure they’re out there—I just don’t know any). But, conflict is a normal part of life and it’s important that we learn how to best handle it when it comes our way. How to Solve Your People Problems would be ideal for young married couples, for those struggling with obstinate family members, as a tool in pastoral counseling, or for those in a hostile work environment.

Book review by Paula Friedrichsen. Paula is a writer and speaker who lives in Central California with her family. Visit her Web site at www.PFMinistries.com.

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Until next time, Happy Reading!

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