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

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Oct 26, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in October, 2010

This is the type of book that I would never pick up in a store or library. The design (the earth inside a flower), the subtitle "a language of life," the emphasis on the "Phd" after the author's name - all cues to me of a likely unhelpful, overly cutesy "self-help" book. Blech.

But so many people have recommended this book to me that I looked past these things and recently ordered a used copy. For a moment, I thought I was about to be punished for relaxing my previous resistance. Beware: there is some exceptionally bad "poetry" in this book, most of it concentrated at the beginning.

But - even after the abhorrent sugary couplets almost made me put it down - I continued on, and am generally glad that I did. Rosenberg manages to lay out, in astonishing simplicity, an entire theory of communication in an incredibly practical form. There are surely denser, more theoretical treatments of how the language we use daily impairs not only our ability to interact peaceably with others but also to get the results we want, or how that same language steadily undermines individual autonomy and responsibility, resulting in today's excruciatingly dismal political situation. But few will set out concrete steps for transforming your language that you can begin to practice immediately to great effect. But Rosenberg's book does that, and I think its draw is giving people incredibly simple and powerful tools to deal with deeply-felt, deeply-rooted cultural and social problems.

The emphasis on the importance of changing the ways in which language and thinking are connected for us, in order to restore political power to individuals and communities, is what really sold me on the styles of communication Rosenberg lays out (that is, nonviolent communication, or NVC for short). The analysis to me seems spot-on, and also provides a tool for dealing with the tremendous cynicism, apathy, and sense of powerlessness that exists today - especially where it exists in the same people who carry out actions of which they are critical! I went into the book thinking it would mostly be good for improving some personal relationships and also in organizational work, but I think the potential for NVC is much greater.

In short, I definitely concur with all the previous recommenders of Rosenberg's work. It loses points for style and its ultra cheesy poetry, for sure. But it's definitely worth getting through that to get to the meat of the book's ideas.
26 likes · Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Nonviolent Communication.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Erik (new)

Erik I hate you for writing this review, because I'm really upset just thinking about those couplets, but I love the rest as you describe it.

message 2: by Stacy (new) - added it

Stacy I think the poetry (which is sung to a guitar on the audiobook!) just adds to my conviction that this man is sincere in his intent.

back to top