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Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,666 ratings  ·  183 reviews
A way of conducting business.
An attitude.
A way of life.

Susan Scott trains clients in the art of fierce conversations, empowering them to achieve exceptional results through transforming dialogue. Success hinges on engaging people in ways that interrogate reality, provoke learning, tackle tough challenges, tap our deepest aspirations, and enrich
Audio, 0 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Simon & Schuster Audio (first published 2002)
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Of all the professional books I've read in my life, this is the one I would list at the very top, as the one I should have read 27 years ago as I was just launching a career in educational leadership. No, let me take that back. This is the book I should have read 33 years ago when I became a mother. Hmmmmm.... In fact, this is the book I should have read 40 years ago as I was launching my first marriage. Wait--let me try one more time: This is the book I should have read 50 years ago as I began ...more
The ideas and action items provided in this book were thought-provoking and helpful; however, I felt most of the examples were tailored to readers in management roles at companies. I just couldn't relate to those ideas (hence the 4 instead of 5 star rating).

The stories and information I could relate to were fantastic, if shocking. It was hard to sit and honestly think about how I have conversations with people. I realized a lot of the time I am practicing bad conversation tactics and enter with
Amanda Samaha
This book was recommended as a good read if you liked "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg. Although I didn't like it as much as Sandberg book, Scott's principles for having real, focused, and direct conversations with people spoke to me. The book was a bit repetitive and I found some of the anecdotes hard to relate to because so many of them were about CEOs of companies. However, I began to appreciate the idea that, no matter what level you are in at a company, school, or organization; your voice is im ...more
Ugh, this was a hard book to get through. There are too many ideas, it's hard to pick out one that will work. Also, this lady thinks she's awesome and wants to tell you all about how awesome she is. She isn't awesome.
Cheryl Fletcher
Phenomenal! One of the best books I've ever read on leadership. It will go on my "read once-a-year" list for sure.

This book is practical, practical, practical. She gives amazing tips and assignments to help you assimilate the information into your mind, heart and life. So good.

A fierce conversation is not a mean conversation. It is "one in which we come out from behind ourselves into the conversation and make it real." "In a fierce conversation there is neither a struggle for approval nor an att
Fierce Conversations, Inc is a company that works with business and industry CEOs to help them be more effective leaders and build more effective teams. Over the years, workshop attendees encouraged Susan Scott, the CEO of the company, to publish a book to spread her message and help more people engage in “fierce conversations.” To clarify, “fierce conversations” are not yelling, screaming, throwing matches. They are not verbal battles. “Fierce conversations” are robust, intense, passionate, aut ...more
Scott puts forth some interesting models to use for tough conversations at work, but though she tries hard to advocate for these same type of conversations in personal relationships, I don't agree with her. Being honest, facing tough issues head on with someone, is important in some situations, but you have to know when to back off a bit and Scott advocates going directly, hard forward all the time it seems.

I did find some of her models helpful for the times when you need to face tough conversat
John Overman
I had the great pleasure of listening to this audiobook while driving to and from work.

Susan Scott provides a comprehensive approach to having meaningful dialogue with others "one conversation at a time." She identifies seven key principles and illustrates each with real-life examples. In one case, a CEO must confront his sales team in order to increase collective aims without discouraging individual competitiveness. In another case, Susan herself shares a unique insight while working as a secre
Margaret Zhang
Dec 08, 2012 Margaret Zhang rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone! And especially leaders or leaders-in-training
A quick, easy, but nonetheless worthwhile read. The basic premise is that each relationship is made up almost solely of the conversations between the parties. The rest of the book tells you how to make those conversations ones that promote integrity and authenticity.

Since I read it without trying too hard too put it into practice right away, the immediate effect is limited on whether its principles and techniques are effective. My hunch is that they are very effective... For me, having read quit
Ben Lall
I discovered this book while browsing through the shelves at the Chapters bookstore at 401 and Kennedy in Toronto. As I flipped through the book I came across this snippet that mentioned a newly married couple. The first weekend the wife wanted to talk about their relationship, the husband relented. The next weekend once again the wife wanted to sit and talk about their relationship, the following weekend it was the same thing. Now the man began to wonder 'Hey this is not what I want.' 'What's g ...more
Lee Anne
A so-so business/personal relationship book that encourages you to be completely honest and ask probing questions to get to the real issue in your conversations with others. A little touchy feely, easier said than done (on the honesty part, anyway), but it did give me some good ideas for asking the right questions.

The author inserts too much of her life into the advice--it may be easy and affordable for her to take a retreat and really think about things, or wake up at 4 to sip tea and meditate
Alissa Thorne
This book is probably better than I think it is. To me, there is no great revelation in the importance of having fiercely authentic conversations. Moreover, I feel that the language was targeted at a different audience. As a result, while all of the ideas were generally agreeable, there was very little that really resonated with me personally.

My opinion may have also been heavily influenced by the voice of the author who did the reading. The so earnest and maternal intonation just rubbed me the
This is one of those business books handed out to employees at companies where such books get handed out because each change of leadership requires a new bible to be read by the Kool Aid drinkers. It seems to serve a purpose for employees who love to talk about themselves, which is about 98% of working Americans. There are Samurai Games and Mineral Rights conversations, but I basically lost interest in the self-absorption.

I wonder if anyone has completed a fully researched comparison of the rise
Lê Phúc
This is one of the book for which I have rated 5 stars, and only after 2 chapters. The rest of the book doesn't prove my instinct wrong. There are a lot of insights in this book and also a lot of obvious things that we intuitively ignore now being reviewed in a different way. The value of this book to enriching relationships could be compared to the famous "How to win friends and influence people" written by Dale Carnegie. This is the kind of book that you can not possibly finish in 1 day becaus ...more
"While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a business, a marriage, or a life, any single conversation can."

This quote shows the emphasis Susan Scott's book places on the important role conversations have in our lives. The book might better be named authentic conversations as the goal is not to make us fierce in the sense of that word's usual connotations. Instead, the author emphasizes truly being present to the person you are speaking with and honoring the
Donna Gregorio
This book recommends that your conversations be serious and forthright and filled with meaning. If all of my conversations were like that, I don't think anyone would want to talk to me. Too serious all the time, not sure I could handle it. The author gives examples of people who live their lives with some level of "fake" ness and are unhappy. That has nothing to do with fierce conversations. That has more to do with their ability to mask themselves from their true feelings. There are some nugget ...more
Fierce Conversations is a good book for me to read (and read again) because I naturally avoid conflict and difficult conversations. I appreciate the step-by-step suggestions for guiding such conversations, and I like that Susan Scott relates the same skills to both business and personal conversations. Unfortunately, the majority of the anecdotes that illustrate these skills involve business situations, and most of those involve a leader initiating a conversation with his or her employees. It wou ...more
The format of the book didn't always work for me and I probably rushed my reading a bit too much--so that I could get the book back to the library on time. (Almost used the word "but" and will try to avoid that in this write-up.) There are definitely some good ideas and Scott gives space to explain much of how her work has evolved. I liked that she gave credit to others for their ideas and for their place in her work. There is a lot worth reviewing and I think it will take more than one reading ...more
I was looking for information to help my team and myself hone communication skills in the workplace. This book is so much more. Susan Scott is insightful, sharing her experiences in the field providing a path to better conversations. Her work is helpful to all people looking to expand interpersonal relationships.

The book includes opportunities to reflect on the reading and practice the work. The simple practice of exchanging "and" for "but" softens the conversation without losing the message. T
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
I just finished reading Fierce Conversations and it was really quite good. 'Fierce conversations is a style of conducting business, an attitude, a way of life'. Susan Scott is a Communications expert and has spent 16 years helping clients improve their conversations, and the book contains many case studies from CEOs who have engaged her services. Many of these were quite entertaining, and great eye openers.

Much of the book is guff, but there are pearls of wisdom scattered amongst the pages, and
"Fierce Conversations" would fit comfortably on the shelf beside "Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success" and "Never Eat Alone".

By 'fierce conversations' the author is referring to conversations people need to have in order for relationships and projects to move forward in a desirable way. The opposite of a 'fierce conversation' would be stuffing it and trying to get by, or having conversations that don't say what needs to be said in a productive way.

The author is a consultant to
The premise of the book is that our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. What if every conversation you had was one in which you were grounded in reality (not life as it could/should/might be but as it is), you spoke authentically and with responsibility for the powerful impact your words have, and were willing to really listen to what the other person said? The book provides skills (and homework!) to help make such conversations possible.
Part motivational, part informational, this book tell us that beating around the bush is destructive to conversations, and hence a relationship (which is formed on conversation).

People are afraid to be direct and relevant. They may act to avoid confrontation, to protect themselves from backlash, or hope it'll go away. These all cater to one of the strongest emotions we have: fear.

However, hotblooded manliness can destroy fears, justifiably or not. By having the cajones to know what you want out
Kristine Morris
The advice and approach given in this book on how to have authentic conversations is both valuable at work and at home (in fact often there's overlap between the two). The author provides good examples for both spheres of your life. She's especially good at describing the internal monologue that we all use to avoid what needs to be said. Areas she explores that resonated: having the same conversation over and over again, getting past the "how are you" so that you can connect with your friends an ...more
Randy Phillips
even Better the 2nd time!

I read her book 5 years ago. It was assigned for a training experience and its power and impact have grown on me. In the past 5 years I have gained a long list of credentials in the arenas of coaching & facilitation. The Mineral Rights progression is the best tool I've encountered.
1. Replace but with and[return][return]1. Name the issue:[return]2. Select a specific example that illustrates the behavior or situation.[return]3. Describe your emotions about this issue[return]4. Clarify what is at stake[return]5. Identify your contribution to this problem:[return]6. Indicate your wish to resolve the issue[return]7. Invite your partner to repspond[return][return]1. This is where we're going.[return]2. This is why we're going there.[return]3. This is who is going with us.[retur ...more
"What are we pretending not to know?" These words from this book have helped me look at every conversation through this lens. There are very practical steps to have a fierce conversation and what is at stake if we choose to avoid them.
There are a few gems of wisdom sprinkled throughout this book, usually gleaned from other authors, and some tips on how to prepare for "Fierce Conversations" with work, family or friends but the book is written from a business model where goals such as productivity, sales or profits are more easily defined. As it was assigned for summer reading for work (elementary education) I read it with an eye to how we can hold "Fierce Conversations" when the 'bottom line' is a lot more fuzzy. Could we all ...more
I am a big fan of the book Crucial Conversations. So when this was recommended to me I wondered if it could compare to that book. Also, would it give me conflicting advice?

I've just completed it, and have already put its principles to use in my business life. Fierce Conversations is one of the best books I've ever read. It's not just full of insight. It gives you simple, practical things that you can do to improve your communications with others.

And it really works!

Having read it all the way t
Honest and forthright, Susan Scott has a bold approach to how the conversations in the workplace must change for business to survive. We all must "interrogate the conversation."
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