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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Battles between Somebodies and Nobodies: Combat Abuse of Rank at Work and at Home » User review


  • Jan 4, 2009
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This is truly a unique and helpful book. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most helpful books in this genre I have had the pleasure reading over the years. The author, Julie Ann Wambach Ph.D. has, to begin with, done a tremendous amount of excellent research is putting this offering together, but I strongly suspect that the strength of her words, observations and advice come more from her obvious abilities in the observation of her fellow humans and in her ability to interpret these observations. Rather amazing and insightful stuff is found between the covers of this book.

As the title would indicate, this is a study of the battle between those who have power, both formal and informal and who abuse that power, and those that have no power, either formal or informal and are caught in this conflict. Let's be honest. We have all been there and all of us at one time or another has been on either the receiving side of this age old conflict, or on the "dishing out side." It is simply human nature to be as such. Doctor Wambach has given us a means of identifying, examining, defending, and indeed changing this situation. She has given us some strong tools to not only defend ourselves against those who abuse their power over us; but has also, in a very subtle way, given us a heads up as to the damage we may be causing others by our own actions.

At present, and for the past few years, being retired, I have been occupied by doing an almost full time job as a substitute teacher in the local school system. By far one of the biggest problems we have today is the act of bullying. This is carried out in many ways and the author has covered each and ever one is detail. Before I retired I acted as a health care consultant and gave numerous seminars covering the very subject addressed in this book. Before that I spent twenty years in the Armed Forces and encountered the problems addressed in this book on almost a daily basis. This author has hit the nail of the head with her observations, assessments and advice. It is almost like she has been a little mouse in my pocket all these years and has seen the same things I have seen. The difference is that this author has the ability to articulate and advise, whereas I don't. Thank goodness for bright Ph.D.s.

The book is very well written and quite understandable. It is not one of those books that take an MBA specializing in human resources to understand. Wambach's command of the language is perfect, i.e. she can communicate. You can have all the good ideas in the world, but if you don't have the ability to communicate to others, then those ideas are sort of wasted. Fortunately Wambach does. The books is very well organized and the author has been kind enough to give us a chapter overview at the end of each chapter along with a set of questions that if answered honestly will give each reader a far better picture of themselves and their chances of survivability in our oh so complex world.

One aspect of this work that I found particularly interesting is the personality profiles presented. As an example the author introduces us to the Tyrant, Gangster, Sovereign, Grandee, Gatekeeper, Snubber, Dog Kicker, Gossip, Noble Sufferer and so very many more. As I read the description, characteristics, and profile of each, names and faces from my past kept flashing through my mind. This was rather unsettling and a bit uncomfortable, I must admit, as ever so often I found my own name and face sneaking in here and there.

I would recommend that every teacher give this one a read. I would recommend that anyone who has any interaction what-so-ever with their fellow human beings give this a read.

Abuse of rank and position/power is a horrid thing; causing much grief and turmoil in peoples lives. We all need to be aware of this problem and we all need weapons in our arsenal to combat this situation. I can think of no better place to start than this work. I also wish I had had this work in my hands when I was presenting seminars of this subject and had accesses to the information presented my Ms. Wambach...I sure as heck would have charged them a lot more than I did.

Recommend this one highly.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks

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More Battles between Somebodies and... reviews
review by . July 22, 2009
Henry David Thoreau famously warned us to "beware of all enterprises that require new clothes," and a good corollary to that might be "beware all books on interpersonal conflict that require learning a new language." For "Battles Between Somebodies and Nobodies" relies on a fairly specialized vocabulary, not only of words you thought you knew like "somebody" and "nobody," but also "rankism," "right-rank," "dog-kickers," "gatekeepers," and more. I quickly came across some other speed bumps when starting …
review by . February 06, 2009
Other than the introduction of the term "rankism", the abuse of position within a hierarchy, there is very little in this book that has not been covered elsewhere. Like it or not hierarchies are a fundamental component of human existence, their presence in flocks and herds of animals indicates that there may be a biological basis for them. Therefore, the issue is not that they exist but that they are misused. A person that misuses a rank distinction is called a Somebody Rankist.    Wambach …
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Don Blankenship ()
Ranked #228
Retirement does not suit me and I now substitute teach in our local schools system. I spent twenty years in the military, twenty years in health care as a consultant and have taught in various colleges … more
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Wambach's role as a dispute mediator and counselor prompted her to assemble this book on the dynamics of power and handling situations wherein power is abused. The author delves into the nature of hierarchies and notes that conflict within social groups turns into rankism when those in charge promote themselves and their interests while bringing harm to a person or community. Wambach explores both overt rankists, such as tyrants and gangsters, and covert rankists, such as snubbers and gatekeepers, and advises on how to handle their power plays. Nobody rankists are also analyzed, as they retaliate by placating, flattering, or gossiping. This insightful book, written for a college-level audience and beyond, could potentially serve a wide audience, especially among business self-help readers. --Deborah Bigelow, Director, Leonia P.L., NJ - Library Journal

School shootings, abuses of power in the workplace, and spousal or child abuse are results of what Dr. Julie Wambach calls rankism, or the abuse of position within a hierarchy. Wambach identifies rankists as individuals who move to meet their personal needs while depriving others of their own. They treat humans as objects without concern for individual feelings or safety. Rankist behaviors, whether exhibited by those considered somebodies, or those seen as nobodies within a group, have damaging consequences for the individuals who engage in them, the groups to which they belong, and often, to innocent bystanders. All social ...
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ISBN-10: 0981481809
ISBN-13: 978-0981481807
Author: Julie Ann Wambach
Publisher: Brookside Press

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