Elisabeth's Reviews > Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg
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May 06, 13

bookshelves: parenting, kindle-books, our-library, marriage, self-help, books-i-need-to-read-again
Read from December 14, 2011 to February 02, 2012

This book may just have the ability to change every interaction I have for the better. I just finished reading it for the first time, but I know I will be coming back and rereading this book again and again to get a deeper understanding, and further inspiration. The language style he advocates using is absolutely awkward in modern conversation, so it will take some time and practice to get really used to it to the point where I can incorporate into daily life. But the value of changing my language is completely clear. And not only does this book help you communicate what's inside you better and in a way that's more likely to be received, but it helps you be empathic to others and see the warmth in them when they appear to be all cold.

There were a couple of negatives about the book. Some of his wording is awkward not only to say but to read as well. He repeatedly forms his sentences in an "are wanting, are needing" structure versus "want, need". Some paragraphs got so convoluted and unnecessarily wordy that I had to reread them a few times to take in their message. My impression from this way of writing is that he wants to deliver every message in the softest, least direct way possible, and hopefully then least offensive. But I think that's counter to his message which is in fact about being quite direct but in an empathic way.

My other criticism is that the last two bits of the book are religious. He managed to make it through the whole book being sensitive to the various beliefs of his readers. Then at the end he says the way to take in compliments is to accept that it was "God" that gave you the ability to do what you did. Gah!

However, the brilliance and potential impact of this book is so great, I can't knock any stars off my rating for these minor flaws. Everyone needs to read this, and now. If only I'd read this when I was younger. How different my life could have been! And how different my children's lives could have been!

UPDATE: after more than a year since reading this, I haven't applied too much of it. I occasionally use the "I feel" statement when I'm at a loss and need to move forward in a conflict without yelling ("when you____, I feel _____, because I need____, would you be willing to _____?"). It helps but it's still awkward. I've really found deeper understanding of this whole mode of thinking and interacting since reading Parent Effectiveness Training. It's a parenting book, but many have read it to learn how to deal with peers rather than kids. It's enormously helpful. And much easier to apply. It also deals with more than just communication but it's very much in the same vein as NVC. Check it out. If we all start treating each other with this level of respect, the world might actually become a truly peaceful place! And even if we never make it to that level, at least all our own personal relationships will dramatically improve.
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