Verbal judo

redirecting behavior with words

No cover

George J. Thompson: Verbal judo (1994, Institute of Police Technology and Management)

Paperback, 140 pages

English language

Published Sept. 30, 1994 by Institute of Police Technology and Management.

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2 stars (1 review)

5 editions

Review of 'Verbal judo' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

[November 2018 update: I just noticed there's a Second Edition. Please note that my review is for the First; I have not read the Second, so please do not be discouraged from reading that because of my review.]

This is material I need to recommend; I just can't recommend this book. At least not to my friends, not to the people I hang out with or care about. Read [b:Nonviolent Communication|71730|Nonviolent Communication A Language of Life|Marshall B. Rosenberg||2766138] instead. Please.

Verbal Judo is... disturbing. It's about communication, but the undertone is about lying and pretending to empathize in order to get people to do what you want:

"The other person will believe you're trying to understand. Whether you really are interested is irrelevant." (p.81)

Halfway through the book, I almost abandoned it. I was feeling upset, dejected, cheapened. But I persisted, picking it up again after a day. Now I …


  • Interpersonal communication
  • Persuasion (Rhetoric)
  • Persuasion (Psychology)
  • Influence (Psychology)
  • Social conflict