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On Dialogue

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  807 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Never before has there been a greater need for deeper listening and more open communication to cope with the complex problems facing our organizations, businesses and societies. Renowned scientist David Bohm believed there was a better way for humanity to discover meaning and to achieve harmony. He identified creative dialogue, a sharing of assumptions and understanding, a ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Routledge (first published October 31st 1996)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: language
Mind, blown. This was game changing and paradigm shifting. I love books that make me look at something that I thought I had fully understood from a completely different angle. It’s like taking a knockout punch from an angle you just didn’t expect to get hit from to using a boxing analogy. It’s about having dialogues as supposed to discussing things. Interestingly Bohm talked about the link between the word percussion, concussion and discussion – all hitting type activities. A discussion then bec ...more
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
By some strike of fortune I happen to have skimmed part of another one of Bohm’s books and as such I am slightly introduced to his manner of thought - which lets me know I dont know what I am reading. While I have a temptation to speak, I will wait until I have read a bit more of his writings to throughly analyze his thinking. What I can say for now is that his writings appear to convey a deeper underlying philosophical framework on the nature of reality as a whole (yes, that grand) and as such ...more
John David
David Bohm, the author of “On Dialogue,” was apparently recognized as one of the greatest theoretical physicists of the twentieth century. Despite my background in physics, I’d never heard of his contributions to the field, and I’d certainly never heard of his contributions to other fields, including … well, whatever you could call this book. Is it philosophy? Communications? I know it’s not an attempt at literary theory, but some of it seems to resemble it. It fancies itself a visionary way of ...more
Morgan Blackledge
Oct 10, 2020 rated it liked it
This is an oft cited, highly revered classic.

I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time.

And as is the case with so many classics.

It was WAY ahead of its time.

And so.

I can forgive the prolix and groping nature of the text.

And yes.

The core insight of the book is simple and profound.

That being.

There is a form of dialog that lacks agenda beyond connection, communication and honest exploration.

It’s transformative and healing.

It’s the fundament of authentically good therapy.

And when done well, it
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Need more time and more basic knowledge, this book was very tough. Yet I think it was quite interesting despite the fact that I didn't even understand how can "a dialogue" work especially in such specific situation. By the way, Bohm's explanation on the relation between a 'tacit knowledge' and our actions was so touching.

If I say that this book "convinced" me to keep on examining my "self"... Did Bohm achieve his aims?
Alex Lee
This is a difficult book to classify. Although its written by a physicist, its really about the nature of being a human individual attempting to understand how to fit into the world.

Bohm at times, reaches into a near mystical state, not really scientific but more philosophical and religious when he describes how our expectations characterize our experience. He could be more philosophically explicit, but this may detract from what is already a very succinct text.

By extension these ideas can be re
Brandon Lott
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Immensely important to the future of humanity. If we can't dialogue ... we will continue a downward spiral in our humanity towards each other and the planet.
Peter Blok
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book is Interesting because Bohm analyses the way we think, or, to be more precise, the way we think that we think. He introduces the concept: proprioception. That means selfperception. Peoples lack proprioception about the way we think.
He proposes the idea of an open dialogue. This is different from the way most peoples discuss with each other. What we should try to do is to understand each others presuppositions. That is not easy but we could start by trying, over and over again.
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"When we see a “problem,” whether pollution, carbon dioxide, or whatever, we then say, “We have got to solve that problem.” But we are constantly producing that sort of problem—not just that particular problem, but that sort of problem—by the way we go on with our thought. If we keep on thinking that the world is there solely for our convenience, then we are going to exploit it in some other way, and we are going to make another problem somewhere. [...]
The point is: thought produces results, but
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: old-favorites
David Bohm was a physicist by trade, but a man who had the capacity to abstract what he learned from his work into the larger arena of meaningful living. To read Bohm is to learn to think and talk again. His way of being in the world doesn't allow for a person to avoid participating or being changed by that participation.

In Peter Senge's intro (xiii) to this work, he draws on Bohm's words:
"A different kind of consciousness is possible among us, a PARTICIPATORY CONSCIOUSNESS." In genuine dialogu
Apr 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, philosophy
this book is a thin collection of essays, and seeming transcriptions of talks, collected and published posthumously. the major concepts of the book are not terribly complicated, especially compared to wholeness and the implicate order by the same author. consequently, i severely underestimated this book, and got blown away in chapter three to such an extent that i had to put the book down for a week, and try the chapter again.

this is a book about how we all think, together, and how we can try to
Seth Galbraith
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: activists and philosophers
Recommended to Seth by: B. F. Galbraith
Physicist David Bohm provides a uniquely european and scientific perspective into the paradoxes of identity which most westerners know only indirectly through translations and interpretations of asian scripture.

Bohm suggests a mechanism for exploring thought and perhaps even solving global problems through dialogue in which groups of people suspend and examine their assumptions about who they are and what they believe.
Jan 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: presencing
A seminal work on the dynamics of human dialogue by one of the most original thinkers of the 20th century.
Apr 16, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: coaching
This was very dry to me. I think Bohm is a physics professor writing about dialogue. What Jim Knight wrote in his book really sums up Bohms points concisely.
Janne Asmala
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
A great collection of thought-provoking articles from a Western scientist on the nature of consciousness and the possibilities dialogue might open up for it's development.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: language, philosophy
This is one of the best books I've ever read. A friend recommended it to me based on my interest in Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication, and just like that book, this one has been incredibly helpful to me.

Bohm seemed to draw on a wide range of information, so that what he said connected with diverse areas of religion, philosophy, and science, but his writing was simple enough that no background was needed. He adopted a conversational tone that made some complex ideas as clear as they
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
On Dialogue is both a philosophical investigation and intensive breakdown of communication theory. Let's get this one out of the way first: D. Bohm is a physicist who also dabbles in other areas of interest. The foreword illustrates him as an outsider, both to his field and his personal life in general. With that in mind, reading his didactic method of deconstructing communication and dialogue makes sense.

I like critical and social theory as much as the next guy, but at times, D. Bohm expectatio
Mansur Mustaquim
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is full of insightful ideas. Reading it felt like listening to Bohm giving a guided tour of how he found thought to be and the high form that communication can take: a dialogue. That the dialogue has a life of its own.

Bohm points at the psychological barriers that prevent genuine dialogue from taking place.

Thought is not proprioceptive. Until now, I wasn't even aware of proprioception or its importance within the body and, by analogy, to thought.

Knowledge need not be defended. Yet we a
Wanda A.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
On Dialogue came at an ideal time for me. David Bohm emphasized that communication can lead to "the creation of something new only if people are able to freely listen to each other without prejudice, and without trying to influence each other" (Bohm, 1996, p 3). Further cooperation or people working together allows for "mutual discussion and actions" (bohm, 1996, p. 4). The importance of nobody trying to win in a dialogue is at the heart and soul of On Dialogue. Together we can see a paradox "ch ...more
Sergej van Middendorp
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book that is still, or even more so, significant today. Many parallels to other approaches to the transformation of consciousness, such as the embodied mind, reflexivity in research, past reality integration, CMM, Global Integral Competence, and transparent communication.

Many of Bohm’s assumptions about how thought works are now substantiated by science, which itself now creates a paradox of literal and participatory thought. It seems that what we learn in addition is indeed more subtle,
Mario Sailer
Nov 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
One of the few books I stopped to read after being half way through and leafing through another quarter. I could not really figure out what David Bohm wanted to tell his audience and which message he wanted to convey. Was it "we all have to come together and conduct some sort of open dialog, understand each other and ourself better by getting aware of our (unconscious) assumptions in order to come to solutions we could not imagine before"? We just need to be patient because this process will tak ...more
Hermione Laake
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional. This work is very timely and predicts a new age in which we begin to appreciate our ability to feel and connect with oneanother through dialogue and feelings, globally, to understand our connected and interconnected relationship to nature, and to spend time not doing.

The concept "Felts" is a good one, although the word "Felts" does jar and seems ungainly; given the current lack of long sentences and change in our language presentation in Britain, perhaps it is ahead of its time in t
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: how-to
“ We may imagine that the source of the problem is that somebody over there is thinking these wrong thoughts — or that a lot of people are. But the source of the problem is much deeper. It is that something is going wrong in the whole process of thought which is collective and belongs to all of us.”

Genuine dialogue is so difficult to enact. So often, talking becomes an exercise in persuading others of our opinions, to the point where we can’t really listen. On Dialogue covers how we can learn to
Sanjay Varma
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed this book. He diagnoses the problems in political dialog and prescribes a new model. The later chapters touch on human psychology and the organization of society itself. Bohm is saying that an ideal dialog must be a reflection of both.

The premise reminded me of Marie Kondo’s idea to put all of one’s possessions on the floor, examine each item individually and keep only the items that elicit positive emotions. Bohm’s idea of a dialog is roughly similar.

There are also similarities
Gunjan Juyal
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book talks about topics much more profound than the title suggests. About the nature of perception, thought, society and Identity or 'self'. And how this is of increasing relevance in today's homogenous world and societal thinking with all the problems resulting from that way of thinking - from uncontrolled nationalism to environmental degradation. But these are just some of the implications of the way we approach our thoughts, and how that results in a messy and incoherent collaborative st ...more
Paul Keogh
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring book

A inspiring book to help the reader appreciate how and why the outer world is a reflection of the inner state (collectively). Maybe through understanding the difference between coherent and incoherent thought and by suspending our assumptions and those of others we will begin practicing true dialogue both with others and within ourselves. The book feels circuitous sometimes (reason for giving only 4 stars) but nonetheless, the message is clear and the meaning resonates - if you sus
Ryan Barretto
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is one tough book to read. It's not easy to comprehend and pages have to be revisited many times in order to grasp the meaning and follow the thread of thought to the next point.

It speaks about the need to explore solutions during a dialogue, than go with a pre-prepared notion of what you want. When you get into exploration mode, you may end up with a better solution. One of the keys to this is deep listening.

I have yet to fully comprehend the book, and will surely revisit it again.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I was very curious about how a physicist would talk about a subject so relative and volatile as dialogue and was quite astonished to read Bohm setting up pieces starting from the very words of conversation and dialogue, almost like a physicist trying to grasp governing powers in the universe. The relation between thoughts and feelings is very striking. However, as he progresses his arguments turn into mere wishful thinking and gets a self-help book tone. Still a good first half part worth readin ...more
Dave Petro
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Takes Real Focused Effort to Read

I read On Dialogue as part of the Farnham Street book club. There are many good concepts presented bybthe author, but the book read like a science/philosophy text book. It's not a light read, but if you want to dig into concepts of communication intertwined with concepts of thoughts, perceptions, and participation, then by all means take the time to read this book.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Gesticulative mysticism/occultism/shared positivist Hegelian ‘truth claims’ (‘coherence’, ‘one body-one mind’, ‘common consciousness’): demonstrative of fascist/repressive/regressive urges. Where/when/context heard before? (+ consequences/effects, armchair prose/’philosophy’, pedestrian, epitomic of despicable-naive early-postWW style 50years antiquated between form/writing/‘96 publication, ‘honorable’ in failure)
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David Joseph Bohm (December 20, 1917 – October 27, 1992) was an American scientist who has been described as one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century and who contributed innovative and unorthodox ideas to quantum theory, neuropsychology and the philosophy of mind.

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