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Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together
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Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  388 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Dialogue provides practical guidelines for one of the essential elements of true partnership--learning how to talk together in honest and effective ways. Reveals how problems between managers and employees, and between companies or divisions within a larger corporation, stem from an inability to conduct a successful dialogue.
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published September 14th 1999 by Currency
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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David Kimball
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dialogue: And the Art of Thinking Together
By William Isaacs

This is a great book to make you stop and think about what makes for great dialogue. It helps you ask the right questions such is How do I define great dialogue? How can I create the environment for great dialogue? What are the elements that make up a great dialogue?

The author defines dialogue as a conversation with a center, and not with sides. Instead of focusing on our differences, it channels our energies on something that is newly c
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The most eloquent and in-depth exploration of how to create generative conversation I know of. Another way to look at it is an exploration of what it takes to mute power dynamics from group conversation. Inspired by the dialogue work of English physicist David Bohm.
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Isaacs draws on thought of David Bohm and makes a clear presentation for contempory efforts to getting people to talk together for real change.Plenty of examples, stories and insights.
Vincent Musolino
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
The book provides interesting insights. I am unsure as to what its precise contribution is because it presents numerous concepts and ideas from other authors. It is a bit repetitive and overly long.
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Too verbose. Additional star for some useful content.
Zarah Gagatiga
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together (Currency and Doubleday, NY 1999), William Issacs brings readers back to the flow of meaning present in conversations. He writes, "most people living today do not know how to create meaningful conversations" and traces the etymology of the word from the classics. He defines dialogue as a conversation with a center, not sides. A way of taking energy of people's differences and channeling it into a new creation. The aim of dialogue is to avoid and, in t ...more
Jerry Smith
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
Overly formal language? Check.
Providing latin root of too many words for no real reason? Check.
Meandering thesis? Check.
Really just an extended review of someone else's work? (David Brohm) Check.

Hard pass.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing

This is a must-read seminal work for anyone interested in group dynamics and human interaction.

When we talk together, it is rarely with depth. For the most part, we see our conversations as either opportunities to trade information or arenas in which to win points. (pg. 14).
Jenson Lee
中文版翻譯不太流暢,一些名詞的使用方式也沒有和常用譯名同步,連 Steve Jobs 的中譯都是自創的,讓這本書的可讀性下降許多。

不過即使是以內容而言,對目前的我來說還是過於抽象,雖然一直強調深度匯談的精神與好處,但若不是之前曾經上過 ICA 的深度匯談課程,光從這本書要了解深度匯談是什麼應該會有點困難,當然也有可能是因為深度匯談偏向於體驗式的方法,有點類似薩提爾那樣,所以寫成文字後才會變得如此抽象。
Dana Kearney
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book digs deep into our dialogue and what are our motives when we communicate. Sometimes we don't have a desire to communicate at all, but we are just looking to get our point across. ...more
Feb 21, 2021 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book but found it disorganized and duller than a book about communication should be.
Apr 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
Great subject; unfortunately the book did not do it for me—would probably work well as a seminar where it could be experienced first-hand.
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought this book made some good points, but it was a bit bogged down in (I don't want to say hippie, but it was kinda hippie) a lot of really conceptual stuff. ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reading Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together by William Isaacs has had reverberating affects on my way of thinking, seeing, and participating with the interconnected world around me. It has left me wondering why we collectively pretend, as a culture and as a species, to know what we are supposed to be doing here in this world with the time we have been granted. We stroll through the streets of our brilliantly constructed societies with a contrived sense of ease and understanding that what we a ...more
SJ Loria
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
 If you cannot sit still and listen to others you may want to skim through this book. Probably the only business book I've read where I asked myself, is this guy high? Listen I'm usually a huge fan of explaining the why behind an idea, but he goes on about oneness and the universe and his boy David Bohm's theory on life almost too much. I found myself saying, OK, I get it, I see why you think that way but how do I apply it? What specific things can I do to put this into practice? 

I also propose
Sep 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Well I probably spent the most time reading this book of any text so far this year...a bit dry, certainly relevant.

Dialogue is an exposition on the ways in which discussions can be made more fruitful, philosophies which support and inhibit productive exchanges, and how they can be applied to real-word impasses.

Very basically, a few key aspects of productive dialogue are examined and played with throughout the book: voicing, listening, respecting and suspending/suppression. All seemingly intuitiv
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
Dialogue is "a conversation with a center, not sides."

Based on the research and work of MIT-based group "The Dialogue Project" and his consulting business, author Bill Isaacs outlines ways to consider the event of the conversation among people who may or may not have the same perspective on a topic. Giving reflection and response time in a conversation is critical. Love the quote, "People don't listen; they reload."

While the principles are universally applicable to all conversations, personal a
Kris Muir
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Dialogue" is a contemplative book that questions how little we truly engage in dialogue when we meet in groups and markets dialogue as critical to our companies and our lives. Providing 4 crucial capacities to develop--listening, suspending, respecting, and voicing--as well as indicating how we can spot structural traps in conversations, the book also serves as a guide to improving our dialogues. Using mostly research by physicist David Bohm, family systems therapist David Kantor, and experienc ...more
Robert Bogue
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes my book reviews take on a life of their own. While preparing for my review of Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together, I started to gather some thoughts on one of the key aspects of dialogues, which is the impact of defensive routines. Before I knew it, defensive routines had enough content for its own blog – thus this post. So the review for Dialogue will end up in three parts. We’ll cover two specific topics first then tie it together with the “official” review.

Click here to read the
John Gillis
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book that is probably 100 years before its time. If you at all have a job that requires convincing people, moving the needle, or negotiating serious collaborative stuff, you should read this. It is a straightforward read, but dense with reality and very deep, and resourced in the seminal resources of psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
Stuart Reid
Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very impressive book. Weaves together a lot of different strands of theory into a coherent whole. A lot of the thinking in here resonated with me, and I liked Isaacs' warnings against turning dialogue into a holy grail - he suggests dialogue is a process of moving between different types of conversation, and is not just something that we achieve only rarely when conditions are perfect. ...more
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Many new interesting and relevant concepts, but many of them seem to be still incomplete in the author's mind. Perhaps too much deviations from the main idea of the book; it could have been written in only one third of the pages. ...more
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the way William defines and breaks apart words. The group dynamics and explanation of how we create as we speak is fascinating.
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good for anyone to understand how a meeting should run to work efficiently and effectively. Useful information to seeing how your actions can help or cripple new ideas in a meeting.
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
".......eksplorasi prisip2 dan praktek dalam bergerak melampaui pelaporan pikiran2 sendiri kepada pemikiran sebenarnya secara bersama2 dan membangun kebijaksanaan kolektif...." ...more
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A most thought provoking book and one I have consciously taken my time to read so as to get the most from it.
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most important books I've read in my life. By changing the way we talk and listen, things do not have to be as they are. ...more
Anthony Citera
rated it it was ok
Mar 14, 2020
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“The intention of dialogue is to reach new understanding and, in doing so, to form a totally new basis from which to think and act. In” 3 likes
“The capacity for talking together constituted the foundation for democracy, far more fundamental than voting. As one ancient Greek philosopher noted, “When voting started, democracy ended.” 2 likes
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