Cover image for The gentle art of verbal self-defense at work
The gentle art of verbal self-defense at work
Elgin, Suzette Haden.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Paramus, NJ : Prentice Hall, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 340 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: Success with the gentle art of verbal self-defense, c1989.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF637.V47 E434 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BF637.V47 E434 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



For some employees, verbal abuse can be the everyday language of doing business. Defending yourself from these verbal abusers--calmly, professionally, and successfully--can be crucial to your on-the-job success.

Nationally recognized linguistics expert and author Suzette Haden Elgin applies her acclaimed techniques for combating verbal attacks to common workplace situations. Powerful yet unthreatening, her proven strategies will help you recognize and defend yourself from verbal abuse--everything from casual obscenities and racist or sexist language to sarcasm, cutting jokes, and subtle put-downs.

Richly illustrated with fully dramatizes scenarios and real-world examples, Dr. Elgin's communication techniques will help you instantly take control of any verbal confrontation. You'll also learn how to avoid "malpractice of the mouth" and sexual harassment; communicate sensitively and clearly with non-native English speakers; and project a strong, straightforward, and trustworthy image.

You'll find tips for handling sensitive issues via email and voice mail, advice on meeting the communication challenges that face home-based and virtual businesses, and plenty of "workouts" placed throughout the book to give you valuable opportunities to practice your new skills.

The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense at Work is your roadmap through the potentially career-threatening minefields of workplace communication.

Author Notes

Suzette Haden Elgin was born Patricia Anne Wilkins on November 18, 1936 in Missouri. She received a PhD in linguistics from the University of California at San Diego in 1973. She taught there from 1972 to 1980, when she retired to focus on her writing full time. Her books include The Communipaths, Furthest, At the Seventh Level, Yonder Comes the Other End of Time, Twelve Fair Kingdoms, The Grand Jubilee, A First Dictionary and Grammar of Láadan, Peacetalk 101, and Native Tongue Trilogy.

She founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association in 1978. The organization's Elgin Award, for best poetry book and chapbook of the year, is named in her honor. She wrote The Science Fiction Poetry Handbook.

She was also widely published as a linguist. Her works include the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense series. She died on January 27, 2015 at the age of 78.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Attention to the increase in physical violence in the workplace sometimes hides the extent to which less visible and often unreported verbal abuse and intimidation also take place. Because they, too, are on the rise, and because there are now new technologies by which to spread verbal abuse, Elgin has updated the 10-year-old first edition of her guide to recognizing and defusing such attacks. Elgin illustrates how words have power and how they can cause damage. She then creates 16 detailed scenarios in which verbal confrontations are carried out and provides 12 "workout" sections to help one understand and better handle those situations. Elgin helps both abusers and "victims" recognize patterns of behavior so that they might begin to make changes. Although her "basic Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense system" has obvious practical application, it is highly detailed, and its academic underpinnings are exemplified by Elgin's 12-page listing of references. --David Rouse