Dinosaur Brains

Dealing with All Those Impossible People at Work

Albert J. Bernstein, Sydney Craft Rozen

Publisher: Ballantine, 1989, 259 pages

ISBN: 0-345-36713-8

Keywords: Leadership

Last modified: Aug. 1, 2021, 5:16 p.m.

Instinct, emotion, and irrationality: all are part of human nature and can severely disrupt any business environment. Psychologist Albert Bernstein says there are products of the dinosaur brain — a term that's already becoming the operative phrase in the 1990s workplace. And knowing what to do when a dinosaur brain attacks — even the one inside you — could mean the difference between advancement and career extinction.

Discover step-by-step how to cope with "Lizard Logic" and reason your way through turf wars and power struggles, past surly subordinates and temperamental bosses. If you've ever wondered why &hellip:

  • Some people at work can be totally sensible one minute and totally irrational the next
  • The rules are often different for the people at the top than for people at the bottom
  • People who don't play by the rules often get their way
  • Personal feelings always seem to get in the way of sound management principles
  • Hundred-million-year-old conflicts continue to rear their ugly heads everyday …

The answer is in Dinosaur Brains!

  • Part I: What Is the Dinosaur Brain?
    1. The Dinosaur Brain and Lizard Logic
      The Dinosaur Brain metaphor explained, plus the seven principles of Lizard Logic that, to the dinosaur, cover all events and contingencies
    2. How the Dinosaur Brain Works
      A brief owner's manual for the brain, including directions for use.
  • Part II: The Rules of Lizard Logic
    1. Get It Now!
      Impulsiveness has its uses as a management style, but there are drawbacks too. How to recognize and moderate the "brushfire" approach to your job and cope with the stress-related problems that go with it. Also, working with impulsive people.
    2. The Triple F Response: Fight, Flight or Fright
      Arousing a lizard can lead to aggressiveness, avoidance or immobilization. There's trouble ahead when we try to protect our psyches with defenses that were designed to protect prehistoric beasts.
    3. Be Dominant!
      Understanding the rules for social hierarchy at the office. Your Dinosaur Brain can lead you into reflexive competitiveness. Do you really want to go?
    4. Defend the Territory!
      To anyone involved in a turf battle at work, the stakes can seem like life and death. The Dinosaur Brain as the basis for the "turf issue." How to cope with territorial colleagues and what to do if you're spending too much time defending your own territory.
    5. Get the Mate!
      The predictable patterns of office courtship come from the Dinosaur Brain. Learn to avoid acting like a lovesick lizard if you've lost your heart at work.
    6. If It Hurts, Hiss!
      Complaining gets it off your chest — or does it? This collection of blamers and complainers show you why hissing can be bad for business.
    7. Like Me, Good; Not Like Me, Bad
      Lizards see only black and white. Managers must be able to recognize gray. Making too many moral judgments at work can be hazardous to your health.
  • Part III: Using Lizard Logic
    1. Avoiding the Reptile Response
      The only way to win an argument at work is to muzzle your Dinosaur Brain. How to keep the logical part of your brain working, even when you'd rather act like a dinosaur.
    2. Bad Moods and Internal Television
      Thoughts are like your own personal internal TV set, but you can decide what to watch. Listings from the Dinosaur Brain Network for prime-time and late-night viewing. Are any of these playing in your head?
    3. Irritability
      Working with an irritable lizard can really test your patience. Sometimes the crabby dinosaur might even be you. What happens and what to do, when the "fight" part of the Triple F Response makes it way to the surface?
    4. Manipulation
      Some people use Dinosaur Brain patterns to twist your arm and try to manipulate you into giving them their way. The whole world changes when you learn responses that can make you almost manipulation-proof.
    5. The Positive Uses of Anger
      There are times when anger can be a powerful form of communication — as long as you don't adopt it as your basic management style.
    6. Angry Clients
      Handling your upset clients effectively means keeping them out of their Dinosaur Brains and staying out of yours. Techniques for stopping the verbal fireworks and getting back to solving the client's problem.
    7. The Customer Service Model
      Using the Customer Service Model to convince people at both ends of the corporate hierarchy that they're following the same rules and working toward common goals. Protecting the company from the more debilitating effects of the drives for dominance and territory.
    8. Motivating Yourself and Your Employees
      Corporate loyalty and motivation arise from a sense of belonging to the herd. A checklist for managers to keep their employees, and themselves, feeling respected, valued and part of the same team.
    9. Stress Is Not a Enemy
      People can handle a great deal of stress if they understand the different kinds of tension they'll face at work and follow these coping skills.
    10. Is Your Mind Out of Shape?
      The Dinosaur Brain can lead to excitement and enthusiasm — or cognitive sloth and mental flab. Suggestions for a return to mental fitness.
    11. Long-Term Planning
      Long-term planning is an alien concept to the Dinosaur Brain, but trying to maintain a career without it is a sure road to extinction. Ideas for infusing some Dinosaur Brain excitement into a dreary cortical task.
    12. Making Waves
      Most people are uncomfortable with the kind of tacky self-promotion that's necessary for professional advancement. To keep a career moving forward, the cortext and the Dinosaur Brain have to work together.
    13. It's Lonely at the Top
      To the uninitiated, the dinosaur at the top of the company hierarchy seem part of an Old Boy network. The reality is closer to one lonely old lizard on a hilltop, guarding the herd.
    14. The Captain Kirk Management Style
      When an executive takes on too much responsibility as or her exclusive territory, you get confusion on the Starship Enterprise. Understanding the difference between management and heroics.
    15. The Mentor Relationship
      A mentor should not be a parent or a lover but, because of the way the system is set up in many companies, that's what the mentor relationship becomes. Here's why, and what to do about it.
    16. Why People Get Involved in Office Romance
      Where else do many professionals find Mr. or Ms. Right if not at the office? How to tell if this is The Real Thing and, if it isn't, what to do to end an office affair with the least possible professional damage.
    17. How to Save Yourself If Your Company Is "One Big Happy Family"
      Even the happiest of families have complex and confusing rules about dominance. All too often, it's only the parental figures — the King Lizards — who are happy.
    18. Corporate Juveline Delinquents
      The rules for running a family don't work too well for running a business. If managers act like parents, a lot of people may have to leave home. Management strategies for handling conflict between professional generations
    19. Dealing with Old Dinosaurs
      The office family from the point of a rising corporate teenager. Ideas from the Dinosaur Brain for gaining responsibility and independence without getting kicked out of the office.
    20. Labor and Management
      The two sides can learn to negotiate, if they avoid their Dinosaur Brains' aggressive streak. Suggestions for enhancing both sides' feelings of corporate affiliation.
    21. The Customer from Outer Space
      Most businesses evolve their own languages. To be effective, you have to learn to translate the other person's dialect.
    22. Gravity
      Every corporation has its own natural laws that can be ignored or questioned. Fighting against them is like fighting against gravity.
    23. Habit or Ritual
      Using rituals to mark important changes at work. The value of ritual objects (washroom keys, corner offices and corporate ties) to the Dinosaur Brain. How to tell if it's a ritual or just a rut.
    24. Management by Mind-Reading: The Case Against Bad Attitude
      The Dinosaur Brain's certainty that it knows what is right and wrong is not too often far from assuming we can read minds.
    25. How to Make Your Colleagues Mad at You
      It's easy — just ignore their Dinosaur Brains. Follow these suggestions and watch the lizards attack.


    Dinosaur Brains

    Reviewed by Roland Buresund

    Excrement * (1 out of 10)

    Last modified: March 27, 2011, 4:38 p.m.

    The best use of this book is as landfill material in an east-african housingproject.


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