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Don't Be So Defensive: Taking the War Out of Our Words with Powerful, Non-Defensive Communication
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Don't Be So Defensive: Taking the War Out of Our Words with Powerful, Non-Defensive Communication

4.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  58 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Therapist and communicator Sharon Ellison offers a practical handbook which contains the tools to replace the war model of verbal communication at home or at work with a peaceful method that heals interpersonal relationships and promotes creative dialogue.
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published March 1st 1998 by Bay Tree Publishing
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Kate Savage
Aug 14, 2014 Kate Savage rated it really liked it
It doesn’t matter that it has a stupid title and an irrational founding cosmology: these are great communication techniques. This book goes far beyond the generic 'I-statements' and 'active listening' ideas that you already know: you'll be surprised, and you'll learn something. At the core of Ellison's ideas are things they should have taught me in grade school instead of teaching contrition: what a real question looks like, and how to ask it without sounding pushy; how to make a vulnerable and ...more
Sep 22, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it
Very powerful tools & eyeopeners that can help nearly anyone be more concise, effective and neutral in potentially adversarial situations.

Includes real life scenarios to help solidify techniques in the reader's mind, helping to cement the skills learned so they become more natural and automatic.
Evelyn Hadden
Mar 06, 2013 Evelyn Hadden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very useful guide for how to practice nonviolent communication in everyday life. The first half explains many familiar situations where our use of words creates barriers between us and other people: apologies that aren't really apologies, compliments that aren't compliments, arguments no one can win, jokes that cast blame, questions that make the other person feel interrogated, and so on. The second half is all about how to be curious without making assumptions, giving detailed instruc ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Thecat3786 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life-changing book alert! Excellent how-to manual change your way of communication that allows you to exercise your own agency and get out of the power struggle. I've read many books talking about setting up healthy boundaries but don't teach you how to do so. This book does even though its focus is on not letting yourself fall into the fruitless "I'm right, you're wrong" dynamic that is underneath most conflicts. In fact, it teaches you how to speak your truth in a way that is ultimately disarm ...more
Nov 16, 2015 Chrissy rated it it was amazing
Wish we'd all read this
Tandava Brahmachari
This is an excellent description of how much of our communication defaults to adversarial patterns, and how we can change that by being non-defensive (which, perhaps surprisingly, actually lets us stand up for ourselves more often and more effectively).

My one quibble is that, while it mentions the need to actually FEEL more neutral, non-defensive, curious, etc., in order to convey the words effectively, it doesn't speak much about how to get to that point. I believe our consciousness affects ou
Apr 20, 2012 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not magically cured, but this book provided some useful strategies. It's all about prevent escalations, staying calm and being able to calm others. I'm not known for my calming influence, but I'm working on it.
Danielle Thai
Sep 01, 2012 Danielle Thai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only about a third of the way through, but an incredibly insightful way of reconsidering how we talk and relate to others. I will probably read and re-read this one a few times.
Al Maki
Nov 18, 2014 Al Maki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ellison's starting point is the idea that most person to person verbal communication unconsciously assumes that we need to defend our self from the other party, resulting in conflict and often deadlock. She has clearly been working on this for a long time and has developed a fairly comprehensive set of techniques for a more open, but at the same time, non-threatening style of talking. The book does a good job of presenting her ideas and methods. Based on my own experience, most of us would benef ...more
Mar 17, 2012 Tommi marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
I stopped reading after about 90 pages because I found this approach to boundaries confusing. Basically it seems to me an attempt at grouping together a very large collection of different boundary violations which ends up being rather dull reading somehow. So I much prefer Henry Cloud's and Anne Katherine's books on maintaining clear personal boundaries.
Jo Rhett
I actually prefer the presentation of the topic in Non-Violent Communication much better, but this is a very good book for practical exercises and very plain language approach.
Joe Brummer
Aug 29, 2013 Joe Brummer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really moves us away from our current was-like language and to something more effective and connecting.
Jun 18, 2012 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, but not particularly memorable.
Jen Barker
Dec 27, 2012 Jen Barker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Helpful look at improving communication.
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The creator of the Powerful Non-Defensive Communication process, Sharon is dedicated to the belief that learning to comunicate with non-defensive power is a crucial key to our capacity for solving the majority of problems we face at every level — home, work, and community. She brings her cutting-edge theory together with a remarkable ability for demonstrating practical, realistic, life-changing sk ...more
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