How to Deal With Difficult People By Gill Hasson Book Review and Key Takeaways

One of the most important skills you can ever learn to master is dealing with people. Most people would believe that if you just focus on your talent and ignore the rest, that is enough to succeed in the world. This way of thinking is wrong for behind everything you want in this world is a person standing there who can offer it to you.

Everything is run by people. I’ve worked in many companies and with many people. I’ve seen super talented individuals who are exceptional in their careers however they lack the people skills to convey their ideas or they just simply don’t get along with people. This is true in the IT industry.

There are many great developers and programmers who can build amazing software. They have read all the latest platform and technologies that enable them to create cutting edge software. However most developers lack people skills. They lack the ability to get along with people and also communicate their ideas with their coworkers.

And there lies the problem. No matter how good you are in the world, if you lack the skills to work with people, you can never get ahead and there will always be that important barrier to cross. I know people who are average in their trade but they are exceptional with people. As a result, they rise up in their career quite simply because they know how to communicate and get along with people.

Difficult People In The Workforce

One of things that you’ll always encounter in the workforce and also in business is difficult people. They are everywhere. There will be someone or a group of individuals who will really get on your nerves. They will say and do everything that will drive you up the wall and no matter what you do, they will find a way to annoy the crap out of you.

So how do you continue climbing up the corporate ladder, build a successful business whilst dealing with difficult people? Some would say that you would simply cut these negative people out of your life but that’s not practical. Most of the time, difficult people are the ones you need to get along with in order to attain a certain goal.

It could be a receptionist that has the ability to connect you with the manager. It could be that negative co-worker who has the keys to the computer systems. It could be a difficult client but can potentially help you pocket large sums of money.

Whatever the case may be, dealing with difficult people is a skill that must be mastered alongside other social skills. The book “How To Deal with Difficult People” written by Gill Hasson talks exactly that. Gill Hansson also wrote the book “Mindfulness and emotional intelligence” where it went on and became a best seller.

Gill goes on to explain the key fundamentals to dealing with difficult people.

You Can’t Change People

Gill Hasson said that “the thing is, you can’t directly change other people’s behaviour, the only thing you can change is how you respond and deal with it.” This is so true. There are many ways to deal with negative people such as completely cutting them off or walking away from them but if you’re forced to sit next to them all day, you have to have a different approach.

One way to deal with negative people is to simply accept that you can’t change people. As soon as you accept this, you let go and become happier. No matter how hard you try, you can never mess with free will. Everyone has the power to make up their own minds and you simply can’t control them no matter how convincing you may sound.

This goes back to Buddhism principles where nothing in life is ever permanent. People and situations change so you can not attach yourself to things. If you rely your happiness on the results of other people and situations, then you’re pretty much screwed. Everything changes and becoming detached to the behaviours of people and even your job, you live a lot happier.

Negative people no longer piss you off and you are simply happy. Because you have accepted that you can’t change people, negative people no longer annoy you because you’ve accepted them.

My Experience in Dealing With Negative People

I must admit, I’ve spent years working in corporate and had my fair share of negative people. I remember I used to work in a small marketing team and I had to listen to the most negative person I’ve never met on the planet. She gossiped about the boss and complained about every single thing every day. I would put on my headphones and listen to Tony Robbins instead. When my iPod would run out of power and I would recharge it, I would take off my headphones and immediately, I could hear her voice talking negative about something.

I left that company simply because the environment was so negative and I didn’t want to become like her. I then moved to another company where I was no longer amongst negative people. Everyone who worked there was intelligent and smart. However there were still a few negative co-workers I had to work with.

When I resigned after a year, I took a break for a few months and realised that no matter what you do, you simply can not avoid negative and difficult people. They are everywhere. You can hunt and try to find the best job ever but you will come across the same negative people there and you have to figure out how to work with them. Quitting jobs every year isn’t a practical solution although it would be an awesome story to tell.

So then my next job, I took the mindset that I simply had no control over people and situations. I no longer tried to control people and the only thing I could control was how I responded to them and also my own actions. That’s it. When I landed new job, I worked with another team where the morale was completely dead. Everyone walked around like zombies and people were resigning.

The company was also changing and I of course, I didn’t agree with what was happening. However, from my years of experience in working in corporate, negative people are everywhere and things always change. Therefore I accepted these changes and also these negative people.

I started going to work and being really happy at work. People around me didn’t bother me at all and no matter how many changes that were happening to the projects, it didn’t phase me. I accepted that I had no control over people and situations and that the only thing I could do is just make sure that my assigned tasks were completed on time and let life play it self out.


You can never be so certain in life for no matter how hard you try, you can’t anticipate every single move. I think this is the biggest thing we can learn from dealing with negative people. You just can’t change them. As soon as you detach yourself from trying to change negative people, you become a lot happier and live a more enlightened life.

Stay Strong and Be Relentless.

Khoa Bui

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Author: Khoa Bui

Khoa Bui is an author, trainer and chief editor of YouBeRelentless. He enjoys reading books on self development, success, productivity, money, relationships and leadership. When he’s not writing, he likes to enjoy a glass of red wine with a fine cuban cigar while watching the entire season of Entourage. You can check out Khoa’s work at

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