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Gossip: Ten Pathways to Eliminate It from Your Life and Transform Your Soul

Overview

Evil speech can destroy friendships, break up marriages and ruin businesses. Gossip-negative talk, put-downs, rumors, accusations-not only hurts the person being talked about, it also hurts the person speaking and the person listening. In short, gossip has a negative impact on everyone. Yet, despite these negative consequences, gossip has been around since the beginning of humankind and continues to be a popular but destructive pastime.

Throughout this timely and enjoyable book,...

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Overview

Evil speech can destroy friendships, break up marriages and ruin businesses. Gossip-negative talk, put-downs, rumors, accusations-not only hurts the person being talked about, it also hurts the person speaking and the person listening. In short, gossip has a negative impact on everyone. Yet, despite these negative consequences, gossip has been around since the beginning of humankind and continues to be a popular but destructive pastime.

Throughout this timely and enjoyable book, readers will learn what the Bible and Jewish wisdom have to say regarding speech and how their teachings relate to our world today. Readers will also learn via real-life examples how to break the gossip habit and how to teach others to do the same. Gossip will help people develop skills to improve their lives by getting along better with others; mending old hurts and reclaiming lost relationship; keeping good relationships from going bad through hurtful words; and strengthening relationships they already have by speaking in a more encouraging and productive manner.

The purpose of this book is to extinguish the fire of evil speech and help us live in a gossip-free environment. The result? Positive interactions with the people around us, the healing of relationships and a more complete self.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that speech is power, a concept explored in Lori Palatnik and Bob Burg' s insightful little book Gossip: Ten Pathways to Eliminate It from Your Life and Transform Your Soul. The authors discuss the role of lashon hora (evil speech) in the Bible and in Jewish tradition, exploring the immediate and even the eternal consequences of negative gossip. The book is accessible and well-designed, with powerful pull-out quotes from sources as diverse as Maimonides and Henry Ward Beecher, all illustrating the destructive power of evil words. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780757300554
  • Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/25/2002
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 791,404
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Lori Palatnik is an author and Jewish educator. She has been a guest on numerous radio and television talk shows, and hosted a Toronto television show called "The Jewish Journal." She lectures on the beauty and depth of Judaism throughout the United States and Israel, and has written articles on Jewish topics for The Jerusalem Report, Toronto Star and many other publications. Lori is the author of Friday Night and Beyond-The Shabbat Experience Step-by-Step and Remember My Soul. She now lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Rabbi Yaakov Palatnik, and her five children.

Bob Burg is a motivational speaker, consultant and author. He has spoken internationally to Fortune 500 companies, associations and individuals on topics related to business networking and positive persuasion. He has been featured on the national rally circuit, sharing the platform with legends such as Zig Ziglar, Larry King, Mark Victor Hansen, Willard Scott, Paul Harvey, and others. A frequent media guest, Bob's articles have been published in hundreds of professional and trade magazines. His books include Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales and Winning Without Intimidation: How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter Two - Body and Soul

We must no more ask whether the soul and body are one than ask whether the wax and the figure impressed on it are one.
Aristotle, De Anima

Mastering the gift of speech serves no purpose unless you realize that you are not just a body, but also a soul. If you believe you are simply a body, put down this book and do whatever you want, as long as you don't get caught. You can live the bumper sticker "Whoever dies with the most toys, wins." Living life only as a body infers there is no ultimate justice, no Higher Authority and no rules, except those imposed by humans.

If you know you have a soul given to you by a Creator, then living life is another matter entirely. It means that what you do really does matter, even if no one knows about it. It means there is ultimate justice. It means that the choices we make in this world make a difference, not just for here and now, but for eternity.

You do have a soul, and it is the essence of who you are. You are probably nodding in agreement, as I think almost everyone would. If I stood outside your local mall asking everyone who passed "Are you a body, or are you a body and a soul?" I think almost 100 percent would answer "I am a body and a soul."

Yes, we say it, but how many of us live it? How many of us wake up every day realizing that God has given us the gift of another day, that once again our soul has been restored?

I am married to a rabbi. But I don't wake up every day saying "I'm a soul, I'm a soul!" No, I wake up bleary-eyed (hey, I've got five kids!), stagger to the bathroom, dress, wake my children, eat, drink, do a carpool, finish a chapter for my publisher, shop, eat again, drink again, go to the bathroom, do more carpools, feel hot, feel cold, feel tired. Hey, it's a very physical, body-oriented world. Even when married to a rabbi, you can forget that you are a soul.

Yet God has a way of reminding us. We all have had experiences when we know we are not just bodies but are souls. These are soul-awakening moments. Take a moment now and reflect. Think of a time in your life where you had a soul-awakening experience.

Perhaps it was the birth of a baby-a very physical experience, but certainly one that is soul-filled. A woman is a mini-creator, bringing forth life. At birth, a miracle is happening, and a new soul comes into this world. It's magic.

Have you ever gone into the countryside and looked into a night sky free from smog or city lights? You see thousands of stars, points of light that go on forever. You lift up your hand and you can almost touch eternity.

Ever have a near-death experience? Whoa-there's a wake-up call! I knew a man who accidentally fell from a third-story balcony. He lived to tell the tale, and his life was forever changed. Every year on the anniversary of the fall, he has a celebration and publicly gives thanks "for the best day of my life." He says that until that day he was living completely as a body, on the fast track of life, cultivating the proverbial "wine, women and song." He was the coolest, most popular guy in his social group, moving "up" just as fast as he could.

Then the fall stopped him in his tracks. When he was released in a wheelchair from the hospital and arrived home to recover, he phoned my husband and said, "Rabbi, I know that God saved me from this fall. Not only did I live, but the doctors say my recovery so far has been miraculous, and they expect me to walk again." Then he said something much more profound. "Yes, God saved me from this fall, but I also know that He pushed me, and I want to know why."

My husband spent time with him, and together they planned a different direction for his life.

Every year this man publicly gives thanks and says, "On that day, God did me a great kindness. He got my attention. Until then I was living as a body, and from that day on, I was awakened to the fact that I was also a soul."

The ultimate soul-awakening experience is witnessing death. The death of a loved one can awaken within us every emotion possible. Suddenly, the physical, mundane annoyances in life mean nothing. No one is standing at a graveside thinking, Gosh, I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer. What am I going to make for dinner? Everyone is standing at a graveside thinking What is life all about? What happens after we die? Is there a God? Am I living my life the way I should?

September 11, 2001, was the ultimate modern-day, soul-awakening moment for the entire world. Thousands of people lost their lives, impacting their families and friends, as well as tens of millions of others. Countless people reexamined their lives. People made life decisions like never before. Reports chronicled a surge of people committing and recommitting to marriage. Many people shared with my husband and me their feelings that they realized that certain aspects of their lives until that point had lacked depth and meaning, and now they were going to turn them around.

People trapped on the doomed planes and in the World Trade Center buildings made last-minute calls to their families. No one spoke about selling his or her stocks or buying a new car. People said, "I love you," and "Take care of the children. I trust that you will raise them well."

We clung to one another that day, and the days that followed, reconnecting like never before, resolving to be better people. Family members who had previously been estranged made peace. Friends who had been feuding for years reached out to each other and put aside differences.

What happened? Tragic death and near death dramatically lifted us out of our everyday "body" lives and thrust us all into a state of "soul." We all asked, "What is life all about? What are we living for? Am I living my life the way I should?"

Yes, September 11 was a soul-awakening experience.

An interesting article appeared that week. It reported that the writers of gossip columns had stopped writing. They recognized that their columns were inappropriate in the wake of such an event. Who wanted to read gossip about celebrities at a time when people were focusing on creating a more meaningful existence? One columnist said that gossip was inappropriate now, at least for a few days (my emphasis). Even she recognized that what she did for a living had little value and would be scorned in the wake of the tragedy. However, people soon fell back into their old habits of getting pleasure from gossiping and talking negatively about other people's lives.

We are not just bodies, we are also souls, and every time we choose to speak badly about someone, we are harming our souls. If we stopped for even a split second to reflect on the appropriateness of what we are about to say and listen to our inner voice, there's a good chance we would decide not to speak.

The idea that you are harming your soul is a difficult concept to grasp. Because we are so physical, we have a hard time relating to something that we can't physically hold and touch. Yet consider this about love: You can't hold onto it-but it is as real as the fingers on our hands.

Scared Straight

To get smokers to stop smoking, a dramatic technique is used to scare them straight. Someone shows the smoker a picture of a pair of healthy lungs, and then a picture of the smoker's lungs. Smokers always know that with each puff they are damaging their lungs and harming their overall health, but because they can't see inside their bodies, their human tendency to rationalize blocks their ability to see the truth. If we could see a picture of our souls every time we gossiped, cheated, or lied, or made any wrong, selfish decision, we would see the effect it was having on our souls-and we'd all be scared straight.

Your soul is as real-or in a deeper sense, more real-than anything physical you can experience in this world. It is truly who you are. Your body is on loan, temporarily, a vessel to house the real you, which is your soul. One day you will give your body back. Only God knows how long you will have it.

Our souls, however, are eternal. They never die. Our life span in this world is minuscule compared to the scope of eternity. It is a world of opportunity, a world of choice.

Our souls' ultimate eternal pleasure will be based on the choices we make here. So choose wisely.

In the Bible, God says, "I have placed before you today the life and the good, and the death and the evil . . . choose life."1 Does that mean you should choose to breathe? No, it means choose life-choose what is right, choose meaning, choose to strive-choose life.

Learning the laws of positive speech, given to us some thousands of years ago, will help sensitize and guide you to always choose what is right. It is not always the easy choice, or the socially acceptable choice, but it is the right choice. Have the courage to do it, and you will see all of your relationships transform, including the one with yourself.

The one thing in the world of value,
is the active soul.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


¬2002. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Gossip by Lori Palatnik with Bob Burg. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Foreword xv
Preface xix
1. Feathers in the Wind 1
2. Body and Soul 5
3. The Power of Speech: A Gift Like No Other 13
4. Consequences, Eternity and Other Scary Stuff 17
5. Why Do We Gossip? 21
6. The First Pathway: Speak No Evil--And Avoid Destroying Those Around You 25
7. The Second Pathway: Hear No Evil--And Avoid Destroying Yourself 39
8. The Third Pathway: Don't Rationalize Your Life Away 51
9. The Fourth Pathway: See No Evil--How Judging People Favorably Will Change Your Life 63
10. The Fifth Pathway: Beware of Speaking Evil Without Saying an Evil Word 75
11. The Sixth Pathway: Modesty Is the Best Policy--Avoid Envy and Arrogance 81
12. The Seventh Pathway: Beware of Repeating Information--Or, Loose Lips Sink Ships 91
13. The Eighth Pathway: Honesty Really Is the Best Policy--Most of the Time 97
14. The Ninth Pathway: Learn to Say "I'm Sorry"--Or, "Okay, So I Blew It. Now What?" 107
15. The Tenth Pathway: Forgive 119
16. The Reverse Gossip Game 125
17. When You Are Allowed to Speak About Others 129
18. The Best Story Ever 137
Afterword: Actions Speak Louder than Desires 141
Appendix The Ten Pathways of Positive Speech 145
Notes 147
Further Reading 149
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2002

    Profound and Life Changing

    Gossip: Ten Pathways to Elimate It From Your Life and Transform Your Soul, will impact and mean a great deal to many people. I know it changed my life in a very profound and positive way as soon as I started to read the book and implemented the principles that are taught so well. Recently, I was able to use the principles I learnt from reading Gossip, at work. Thanks to the principles of the book, I was able to over come the gossip feast by remembering and practicing what I had learnt. I felt better for it, knowing that I could refrain from joining in or even listening to the gossip around me. Although I have given the book five stars, because of the impact the principles have given me, I give Gossip: Ten Pathways to Elimate It From Your Life and Transform Your Soul a ten plus. Enjoy the book and enjoy the difference the book will make in your life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2002

    Cheers for this book on a tough subject!

    Wow! This book is a must-read for anyone who is drained by the ills of gossip or for anyone who does not understand the serious damage (both to others and to self) that gossip produces. This is a book for every organization and religious institute. It's for those with "the gift of gab" -- sometimes at the expense of others. There's good news in this book! Gossip is a problem that can be overcome and the rewards are great! Read Gossip for some real good soul cleansing!

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