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The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of Distraction

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  195 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Readers will be amazed at how simply learning to focus intently on a speaker improves the relationship, increases attention span, and helps develop negotiating skills. Learn the great barricades of misunderstanding, find out how to listen to ourselves, discover how to listen under stress, and boost our memory. This is a fun and practical guide filled with simple strategies ...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published February 1st 2003 by Quest Books (first published October 1st 2000)
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Jul 04, 2016 Stargazer rated it did not like it
I didn't learn anything from this book, no zen, no different techniques, nothing about how to deal with difficult conversations particularly, and who the hell is saying 'gosh darn it' to going to offend? But my partner enjoyed it, so a star for that.
Apr 23, 2015 Alex rated it it was ok
From the title I suspected that this book will provide zen inspired techniques to enhance your listening skills. But that didn't happen (the sub-chapter called Mindful listening just described breathing meditation). A I have a feeling that zen was used just as marketing strategy as, except of constant mentioning of mediation, there was not that much else about zen.

So what insights one can get from the book:
- meditate to calm your mind to listen better, though the book is not a good place to star
Feb 02, 2010 Happyreader rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
A constructive and mindful approach to improving your capacity for being fully present with others and connecting with them on a deeper level by listening, to both others and yourself. Listening and paying attention are rightly promoted as some of the most caring and healing acts we can do for others.

I find myself now paying more attention to obstacles preventing me from listening to people, more consciousous of how I'm responding, and looking forward to listening to people I normally don't want
Sep 05, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it
This was a deceptively simple read; the book was easy to get through, but after you read each chapter you are left with a lot to think about. Not a typical communications book full of techniques, this book concentrates on how you think about interactions. Reading the book will leave you with insights that will help you to improve your interactions with others, both by thinking about how you listen, and by helping you to better understand interactions which bother you. As I read the book in paper ...more
Artur Massana
Jul 01, 2013 Artur Massana rated it really liked it
I've conducted some trainings related to the so-called "active listening" approach. I bought this book because I liked the non-behavioral approach to listening that this book advocates. I strongly agree with the intuition that you might behave as you were listening and at the very same time being totally mindless about the content of the message. So, the only way to improve your listening skills is "digging deeper" and start changing some convictions, attitudes and... paying mindful attention to ...more
Aug 17, 2009 Meghan rated it it was amazing
Fantastic advice in this book! I considered myself a good listener, but after reading the examples in this book I've discovered there is a lot of room for improvement! I am working on listening without judgement or bias, but I'm especially focusing on listening to others without my own agenda (yes - I was the person who tends to interrupt, finish people's thoughts for them and bring the focus of the conversation back to what I wanted to discuss).

Another wonderful nugget of wisdom in this book is
Candace Haskell
Jan 31, 2016 Candace Haskell rated it liked it
I really learned a lot. I already meditate, but her focus on that as a way to better listening made me realize how some of the skills I developed meditating carry over to good listening.
The best nugget was realizing how bad it is to interrupt people - a habit of mine. So is sometimes just seeing the other as boring and waiting to get my points in. I really do usually intently listen but now I do not interrupt no matter what!
Jennifer Sweeney
Aug 08, 2014 Jennifer Sweeney rated it it was amazing
Very applicable in all areas of life: career, parenting, marriage, friendship, etc.
Feb 24, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
A very good survey of the practice of listening. What makes this book distinct from other books on listening is it’s location within the practice of mindfulness — which is a popular topic at the moment. Full of practical strategies to improve listening and apply mindfulness (meditation and living fully in the present) to this most significant of human activities. Everyone would benefit from reading this book — even if one didn’t wish to take on the meditative aspects. The author is clearly very ...more
Jul 15, 2011 Nick rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for any book with the title "The Zen of ....." So I picked up The Zen of Listening with high hopes. It's a gentle, good book, especially for beginners and those with ADD. But for anyone who has thought about or read about listening, there won't be many surprises here. Just good, commonsense Zen teachings about mindfulness, presence, and attentiveness. Shafir shares some good stories and the sense of calm engagement she projects is very, well, Zen-like. I think she would make a great ...more
Polly Callahan
Nov 22, 2015 Polly Callahan marked it as finish-later
only read to page 11
Ingrid Exner
Jan 08, 2015 Ingrid Exner rated it it was amazing
This is another great book that I am glad that I picked up a few years ago. I had always been into Mindfullness so, the cover caught my eye right away. This is a great reference book as well as a great reminder for those of us who either think that we are great listeners or that people are listening to us. It dicusses all those "techniques" like paraphrasing, summation etc but, it ialso talks about the benefits and the reasons why we really need to both tell our stories and to listen to the stor ...more
Sep 16, 2014 Mike rated it it was amazing
This book is a very effective teaching tool. It is full of hands on, practical advice. I learned a lot from her writing!
Rebecca Young
Oct 18, 2013 Rebecca Young rated it really liked it
Very good book and an interesting read overall. The first few chapters were the very best and so useful in analyzing your own listening style. She have very practical and useful suggestions for improving listening skills. I felt like the book was a little longer than necessary and completely skipped parts that were strictly about office/boss interactions. I love the simple idea of staying mindful in a conversation and learning to stop the distractions in our own heads.
Holly Dietor
Sep 04, 2012 Holly Dietor rated it it was amazing
There is a reason we are created with two ears and only one mouth; we should be listening two times as much as we speak.

Do you understand the difference between hearing and listening? Do you know how to turn your willingness to truly listen into a gift? Read this book.

Learn how to be present and open to what is being shared with you. It will help you grow into a true Human Being.
May 10, 2014 GONZA rated it really liked it
Really nice, helpful, and well written. The art of listening from the point of view of mindfulness, how to practice it, teach it and use it for us especially in this age of distraction.

Veramente bello, utile e ben scritto. L'arte dell'ascolto dal punto di vista della mindfulness, come praticarlo, insegnarlo ed usarlo soprattutto nei nostri confronti in quest'epoca di distrazioni.
P.J. LaRue
The communication points the author discussed were excellent. The Zen side felt forced as though the author was looking for something to make her book different than all the others, and that was her "angle."
Dec 28, 2009 Nancy added it
Recommended to Nancy by: the UUA Web site
Wordy but a lot of practical advice on how to become a better listener. contains practical advice on how to remember peoples' names, listen in confrontational situations, etc.
Nov 18, 2008 Candida rated it really liked it
This was a good book that really makes you think about how well you listen. I liked that she gave an approach to listening rather than just tips and tricks.
Jun 01, 2015 Jenny rated it liked it
Shelves: the-mind, health
A few interesting tidbits, a number of good reminders. Nothing too unexpected.
Apr 07, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
Some passages were a bit tedious but the overall message was good. Useful information for work, school and life in general.
Lorian Gray
Aug 23, 2008 Lorian Gray is currently reading it
I realized how much negative self-talk I have going on that totally eclipses what other people are trying to say to me.
Apr 05, 2012 Eric rated it liked it
A good blend of helpful exercises and thoughtful insights, though it was sometimes a bit too simplistic for my taste.
Oct 05, 2013 Kristi rated it it was amazing
Very effective tool to help us remember how to communicate effectively in the age of technology.
Joanne Cinquemani
Feb 28, 2008 Joanne Cinquemani rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in sharpening their listening skills
This is a great book to help the reader re-focus on the art of listening.
Oct 07, 2013 Shirin rated it it was amazing
Excellent read on the importance of "mindful listening."
Mark Fallon
Oct 27, 2012 Mark Fallon rated it liked it
Are you truly present when listening to others?
Oct 09, 2012 Veronica rated it really liked it
Shelves: nf
Insightful wisdom about how to really listen.
Jun 07, 2013 Tommy rated it really liked it
simple advice salted in with common sense ideas
Diana Marini
Diana Marini marked it as to-read
Oct 15, 2016
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“Many of us would like to see an end to discrimination of all kinds, happier families, and a safer, more harmonious future for our children. But how can we as individuals make a difference? We can begin by learning to listen in a mindful way. Listening is the first step in making people feel valued. Mindful listening allows us to do more than take in peoples words; it helps us better understand the how and why of their views. When understanding occurs, a sense of calm is achieved on both sides, even if no point of agreement is reached. From understanding, respect and trust for one another are possible; we are free to open our minds and widen the scope of potential solutions.” 1 likes
“Listening intently even for a minute is one of the nicest gifts we can give to another human being.” 1 likes
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