Book Review

Life Would Be Easy If It Weren't for Other People

Reviewed by Ernest W. Jean,
Retired Assistant Professor, University of Montana, Missoula, Mont.


As educational leadership becomes more people-conscious, one's effectiveness at communicating is increasingly important. In Life Would Be Easy If It Weren’t for Other People, Connie Podesta and Vicki Sanderson take the reader through an at-times humorous discussion of four patterns of communication behavior: assertive, aggressive, passive and passive-aggressive.

The authors argue that the particular communication style we use often depends on our past experiences. Yet we often fail to use the most appropriate communication style when dealing with a difficult person: the assertive style.

This book provides readers with a firmer understanding of communication techniques and shows how these techniques can be used with people who are operating in one of the other techniques. Each chapter contains a good summary of the key points and ends with a section called "Take Action." In this section, the authors suggest ways to practice the concepts of that particular chapter.

This book is best read over time, allowing a week between chapters to practice the techniques discussed. Change is never easy. Changing oneself is even more difficult. However, this book’s concepts and knowledge and some honest reflection can lead to improvement.

(Life Would Be Easy If It Weren't for Other People, by Connie Podesta with Vicki Sanderson, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif. 1999, 194 pp., $24.95 softcover)