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Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy
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Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  507 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Introducing a new strategy that changes the brain to enhance any conversation

In their groundbreaking research, prominent neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, M.D., working with Mark Robert Waldman, has discovered a valuable strategy called Compassionate Communication. In twelve clear steps it allows us to create a special bond with whomever we are speaking, a bond that aligns
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published June 14th 2012 by Avery Publishing Group
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3.81  · 
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 ·  507 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
This information was good, but this book could have been m-u-c-h s-h-o-r-t-e-r. The basic premise is that how you converse and listen to people can affect the depth of trust and communication that you obtain in your relationships, be they at home or work. The main strategies are to speak slowly, speak briefly, pause for the other person to respond often, and listen 'deeply'. Now, I've saved you the trouble of reading this. You're welcome.
Jack Goodstein
May 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Compassionate communication gurus explain the wonderful effects of postive communing in relationships and business. 12 steps will get you there, provided you want to go. If I say negative things people will be less likely to hear me, so I don't want to say anything critical of what is really a very unnecessary book.
Mar 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
I really am glad I took this out of the library. The author basically spent the first two chapters on a sales pitch as to why you should read the book! I couldn't finish it the book because he started to talk about microexpresions which is not HIS information. That is research done by Paul Eckman, explained in Telling Lies. He claims you really don't want to use any negative words with people because of the effect it might have. Well excuse me but how would we ever correct anything. Excuse my ne ...more
Brian Finifter
This one didn't click for me so much. It reduces down to the usual how-to's of these kinds of books:

1. Practice mindfulness.
2. Focus on gratitude and positivity.
3. Genuinely listen to other people.

But I think there are better presentations of this same basic subject matter, like "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk."
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I listened to this audiobook on a trip a week ago, and I’m afraid that not a whole lot sank in. The key practice I remember is to slow down your conversation, even to ridiculous levels of slowness like one word every few seconds, when you are discussing difficult issues. That is, if you can get your conversation partner to agree. The author walks through a few examples of the use of this technique, which were quite time-consuming on the audiobook. I can see where the extra time allows for the th ...more
Cyn Armistead
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, it's been more than a year after I finished this thing, but for some reason, it wasn't marked "read" when I finished the Audible version. Now I'm left trying to remember specifics in order to write a review.

I recall it as having been an excellent book, and I was very excited about it at the time. I think I'll go back and re-listen to spark recall.
Erin Henry
Very interesting and I want to try several of the techniques. My one caveat is that he doesn’t seem to make allowance for any negative thoughts.
Oct 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I really like the idea of limiting ourselves to 30 seconds of speaking.. and how it can affect negative emotions.
Tara Edelman
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Jedi Mind Tricks! Easy read, though I have to admit I didn't do the exercises and skimmed the last 50 pages. Some great insights into thinking about HOW you communicate, how you affect the people in your life and how you can have more successful, constructive interactions in your personal and business lives. Also, useful for thinking about core values and staying true to them in your day-to-day conversations and decision making. Would be constructive for anyone who might feel like they are strug ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Good parts - application of very recent studies by neuroscientists and business scholars to interpersonal communication, using personal values and strengths to make job decisions and cut down on stress,

Not anything new parts - active listening repackaged as 'compassionate communication,' progressive relaxation repackaged as 'compassionate communication,' and meditation repackaged as 'compassionate communication.'

That said, it wasn't a bad read, and it never hurts to be reminded of these core co
Marjorie Elwood
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
I had very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it had some very good ideas, such as: speaking more slowly, ensuring that you are relaxed and positive prior to engaging in a discussion, and most importantly for me: speaking briefly. There were certainly portions that I would like to try out. There were also numerous studies quoted about the power of words and how we say things. On the other hand, it was very proscriptive with its '12-step program'.
May 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

If you want to relax, lean back, take three deep breaths, yawn, and then think of calming words. This can actually change the way your genes express themselves. Say no to genetic determinism. Thinking of yourself negatively causes you to think of others negatively. The author would say that this trend should be reversed, but I am cautious to believe that people will be less sinful than I would otherwise think. Self-delusion is a possibility that should be guarded against. Telling yourself that
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another mind-blowing book coming out of neuro-science. It's freaky-scary what scientists can learn about us slapping some electrodes to our brains. Not sure I'm ready for this brave new world. Anyhow, this book helps you see what your brain does in regular conversation. What invites people to share more deeply, what makes them feel safe, what makes them feel intimidated. It even tells you how to manage your facial expressions to be more welcoming and approachable. Crazy stuff. But useful.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Excellent research-based advice in this book for deepening one’s listening skills and one’s ability to communicate with real compassion. Just not sure it needed to be in the form of a full book, as it was repetitive in several parts. Still a valuable resource and worth the time, though.
Jovanni Cifaloglio

Improved my way of thinking and communicating with my loved ones. I feel like i.have a better control of my emotions and understand others better.
Major Doug
Jul 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Listened to this book: questionable title; BLUF: breath deep; think about what you say..seriously?!? (thanks, genius) + too much salesmanship for the 'how-to' follow up training.
Mady Asa
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was very exciting book, I would recommend it to my class.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book has some very good ideas, but I found it hard to read because at some point I was getting bored. There aren't many examples in the book and the ideas aren't very well revealed.
Sep 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy

"That title like sounds like pretty high falutin' promises," is the way the woman who raised me might have phrased it. And now, as then, she would probably be right.

I must admit that the initial claims of potential benefits outlined in this book reminded me of the pitch for Transcendental Meditation, how it and the Maharishi were going to make the world a nicer place way back when. Bu
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Whitney Sanders
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
(1) Don't underestimate the importance of warmth in talking with others. (2) Talking about either positive or negative subjects has an immediate impact on the people around us.
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
The material presented in this book is very interesting; I listened to the audio book format and must confess if it weren't because I was listening to it on my commute to work I would probably never have finished it. I am glad I pushed through, because halfway (or towards the end of the book) I find out (spoiler alert) that studies have shown that when you speak slowly and using a monotone voice, the message is carried across "neutrally" and won't feel "aggressive". WOW! That explained why the b ...more
Stacie Wyatt
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it

I read Words can change your brain, in exchange for review from NetGalley. The book was written by Andrew B. Newberg and Mark Robert Walman.

The book discusses how communication can build trust, resolve conflict, and increase intimacy. People need to chose their words carefully, listen, and observe non verbal body cues.

The right words (or wrong ones) can affect stress levels (physical and emotional), behavior, meaning, tangible benefits, and intangible beneifts.

The book also discusses the 12 s
Oct 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
I didn't finish this book, but as of yet, it appears that GoodReads doesn't have an "I gave up because this book is terrible" option.

I really wanted this book to deliver on its promises. I'm about to embark on a marriage and being able to "resolve conflict" (think fighting about who has to do dishes, and visiting in-laws) and "increase intimacy" (now that we're stuck together for life), seemed pretty important in figuring out and investing in.

The book starts out cocky-- which would have been c
M. Patrick
The techniques this book tries to explain, illustrate, and give the reader/listener are worth enduring the book, but I thought could have been offered in a more succinct and potent form. First, he argues there are twelve things the reader must keep in mind to realize the value of the techniques. Most cognitive scientists agree that four to seven is the most effective range in which to present one's main ideas. Maybe if I had received these ideas in a class, I would be more impressed with their v ...more
Feb 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I was really interested in the premise of this book, and I think there is some good research in this field, but I felt the authors spent the majority of the book telling me how much people liked their methods, and not enough actually telling about the methods. I lost track of all the executives, etc. who were prominently listed in the book, and it basically killed my interest. A few blurbs and some name dropping is fine, but don't make it most of the book.
AJ Ostrow
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Pretty mediocre. Slow writing pace and frequent typos.

The conclusions were mostly obvious. The interesting part to me was quantifying positivity. Apparently someone with 3:1 positive to negative thought ratio (3x more positive thoughts) is often clinically depressed, happy people have 5:1 ratio or better.

Also apparently writing down positive feelings leads to long-term lasting improvement.
Ryan Pereus
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Pretty good. Sometimes I think he is a little too optimistic or trusting in using "nice," or "happy" words. I don't doubt the reflective compassionate communication steps before entering into a volatile situation though. They have worked for me in the past and continue to help me communicate more calmly and effectively
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great content. I like the concept of compassionate conversation.
It started to be a bit lengthy and repetitive towards the end. I would have put last couple of chapters into appendix. But overall a very good book worth reading!
Hope McCormick
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Didn't finish it, but mostly b/c I wasn't in the mood for the content. It was done well enough. Maybe I'll read it later, but not sure that it's worth it. Didn't offer me anything I hadn't already learned in college/grad school.
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Dr. Andrew Newberg is Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College. He is also Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Board-certified in Internal Medicine and Nuclear Medicine. He is considered a pioneer in the neuroscientific study of religiou ...more
“Any form of negative rumination—for example, worrying about your financial future or health—will stimulate the release of destructive neurochemicals.” 4 likes
“choose your words wisely, because they will influence your happiness, your relationships, and your personal wealth.” 4 likes
More quotes…