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Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  5,075 ratings  ·  409 reviews
The Wall Street Journal bestseller, now with new material.

The master teacher of positive change through powerful communication, Susan Scott wants her readers to succeed. To do that, she explains, one must transform everyday conversations employing effective ways to get the message across. In this guide, which includes exercises and tools to take you step by step through
Paperback, Revised and Updated Edition, 336 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by New American Library (first published 2002)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Of all the professional books I've read in my life, this is the one I would list at the very top, as the one I should have read 27 years ago as I was just launching a career in educational leadership. No, let me take that back. This is the book I should have read 33 years ago when I became a mother. Hmmmmm.... In fact, this is the book I should have read 40 years ago as I was launching my first marriage. Wait--let me try one more time: This is the book I should have read 50 years ago as I began ...more
Paula W
Aug 04, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The president of my company recently encouraged all members of the leadership team to read this book. I do not feel that I am being harsh in any way by giving this 1 star.
I guess it might contain okay-ish information for people new to management or leadership, but it is fairly basic info. Have honest conversations with people at work, be authentic, ask probing questions to get to the root cause of problems, etc. and blah blah. That isn't 'fierce'. That's common sense. I could have summed this up
Aug 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ideas and action items provided in this book were thought-provoking and helpful; however, I felt most of the examples were tailored to readers in management roles at companies. I just couldn't relate to those ideas (hence the 4 instead of 5 star rating).

The stories and information I could relate to were fantastic, if shocking. It was hard to sit and honestly think about how I have conversations with people. I realized a lot of the time I am practicing bad conversation tactics and enter with
Sep 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
Ugh, this was a hard book to get through. There are too many ideas, it's hard to pick out one that will work. Also, this lady thinks she's awesome and wants to tell you all about how awesome she is. She isn't awesome. ...more
Alissa Thorne
This book is probably better than I think it is. To me, there is no great revelation in the importance of having fiercely authentic conversations. Moreover, I feel that the language was targeted at a different audience. As a result, while all of the ideas were generally agreeable, there was very little that really resonated with me personally.

My opinion may have also been heavily influenced by the voice of the author who did the reading. The so earnest and maternal intonation just rubbed me the
Nov 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: awful-read
I don't usually like to leave negative reviews but this book compelled me to. In short, it is a terrible read because it teaches very little, and the little it teaches is taught in an awful way. Here's the crux of the problem: Susan Scott doesn't appear capable of saying anything without using an anecdote or drawing reference from things that should have no bearing on the topic (eg. in this book she tries to get her points across via Winnie the Pooh, what Scott's high school classmates wrote abo ...more
Ben Lall
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: relationships
I discovered this book while browsing through the shelves at the Chapters bookstore at 401 and Kennedy in Toronto. As I flipped through the book I came across this snippet that mentioned a newly married couple. The first weekend the wife wanted to talk about their relationship, the husband relented. The next weekend once again the wife wanted to sit and talk about their relationship, the following weekend it was the same thing. Now the man began to wonder 'Hey this is not what I want.' 'What's g ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The type of professional self-help book that has good advice but treats its readers like buffoons, forcing us to trudge through many, many unnecessary examples and repetitions as we arrive at a few very simple points which could have been made in 10 or 15 pages.
Lee Anne
A so-so business/personal relationship book that encourages you to be completely honest and ask probing questions to get to the real issue in your conversations with others. A little touchy feely, easier said than done (on the honesty part, anyway), but it did give me some good ideas for asking the right questions.

The author inserts too much of her life into the advice--it may be easy and affordable for her to take a retreat and really think about things, or wake up at 4 to sip tea and meditate
Mark N.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Basic sense, good to give to people who have none.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Fierce Conversations has made its way into the conversation of Steven Covey, John C Maxwell and Ken Blanchard style self-improvement and business books.

It’s a good premise in that all relationships are series of conversations. Thus, we should have those fierce conversations. We should always be our genuine self and we should never take a conversation for granted.

All noble ideas that you may not need a book for, but Scott outlines ideas she says will work.

It is a popular book that is still “hoppi
Jen Schroeder
This is one that the "leadership team" recently read at work. I usually try to read those pretty quick so that I know what management may be trying on us next.... :)

Anyway, at first I thought it was going to be a pretty boring and standard "well duh" management book - i.e. have "real" and "honest" conversations at work and it will be more productive for all involved..... Which was, well, pretty much what it was.

However, I did get a couple of gems out of it here and there, so I would recommend i
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent resource for anyone. The book provides countless ways to engage in courageous and fierce conversations. Let's face it, we tend to avoid differences and hope "current issue" of any relationship will go away but it doesn't. This book demonstrates to get to the crux of problems and how to deepen relationships. I plan to read this book a couple of more times because there is so much to learn and try out. ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not earth shattering. Could be more synthetic. Principle #6 is worth reading though
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A couple areas in the book I plan on talking to my manager about to promote within our company: (1) Decision Tree and (2) 1-1s.
Likely to have a second read of this book and already recommending it to a few people I know.
Adam Nowak
Jun 24, 2020 rated it liked it
It's OK read, but not game-changing.

BUT it offers a great motiviation to start having REAL conversations with other people, talk about things that are the most important and don't leave anything unaddressed.

You can treat it as a good starting point when you are not satisfied (or struggling) with conversations around you - family, work and all between. Just remember - focus and "one conversation at a time"!
Carrie G
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fierce Conversations, Inc is a company that works with business and industry CEOs to help them be more effective leaders and build more effective teams. Over the years, workshop attendees encouraged Susan Scott, the CEO of the company, to publish a book to spread her message and help more people engage in “fierce conversations.” To clarify, “fierce conversations” are not yelling, screaming, throwing matches. They are not verbal battles. “Fierce conversations” are robust, intense, passionate, aut ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly insightful. After reading I've decided to buy a copy for each of my coworkers for christmas. Thank you Susan Scott! ...more
Sandy Reenders
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Notes from the book- overall the book has good ideas but was not about fierce conversations until about chapter 7. Better idea than was executed

Pg 0 Our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time

The conversation is the relationship
Make every conversation count!

Interrogate reality
Make it real. Unreal conversations are expensive!
Be here, prepared to be nowhere else. Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be.
Tackle your to
Lindsey Snyder
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
"The conversation is the relationship."

There came a point in my life where relationships were no longer as easy to navigate as they had been in the past. Surprise! Life can be complicated; especially if you are the type of person looking for meaningful interactions.

I was struggling in my most important relationships. I wasn't about to just give up, so I tried to fix them. I blundered around for a bit because, while I had worked up the courage to have the conversations I needed to have, I didn't
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ap-reading
I have been processing this book in conversation with a couple of friends and my wife. I think that the highest praise that I can give this book is that it provokes self-reflection and an honest assessment of the ways that I can improve as a leader. It simultaneously honours and solidifies things I know about myself and my leadership while pushing me on to consider how I can grow and develop for the future.

Scott does a great job of cutting through the noise of fancy programs and the next hot thi
Jan 17, 2021 rated it liked it
I found this book to have some merit - have real, authentic, raw conversations with those around you, and have reality checks as to what needs to be discussed. Beyond that, however, I found the narration saturated with too many marginally relevant and self-indulgent anecdotes, making this a very dull and droning read after a while. More frustratingly, the author fell into the entitled boomer fallacy of ageism (Those damn Millennials can't ever put their phones down) and sexism (Women experiencin ...more
Marjorie Elwood
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book teaches you how to have the conversations, both at work and at home, that move things forward, that are honest, and that come from a place of deep caring. I came away with some good tips and a rejuvenated desire to be forthright in my discussions. However, it's not just a how-to manual: Scott offers a list of books she has enjoyed recently, a recipe for listening to yourself, a poem that inspires.

William Dollins
This book suffers from many of the same issues as other books on business leadership and business thought. It discusses issues that hint at the underlying science related to leadership - psychology and sociology - yet avoids delving into them, instead treating leadership as a distinct entity. The book treads similar ground as "Crucial Conversations," but "Crucial" provides more actionable tools to help participants engage in more effective communication. ...more
Lori Gosselin
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me a lot to think about in terms of working with groups. My favourite takeaway was to listen, listen, listen and then, when I feel compelled to interject my own "wisdom", to continue asking questions and listening some more. A valuable read. ...more
Vianey H
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This book is incredibly useful at home. Work. Where there are people the lessons found in these chapters apply! Decision tree...I loved this concept!! Reading this felt like being called to be courageous for others in my life. And we are given useful techniques and a path to follow. I will definitely be using this as a resource.
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read! It has completely changed the way I think about conversations.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Meh. I'll give the author credit for trying to create a better society through frank and honest conversations. Her prescriptions are not unwise and make sense, but as a book I was not that impressed with this. My two big complaints are (1) this book could have a been a third as long as it was due to a great deal of filler and (2) the author cannot go more than two paragraphs without quoting someone who "said that" or "wrote that"... At times I felt that I was reading Bartlett's Quotations. On th ...more
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended as a good read if you liked "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg. Although I didn't like it as much as Sandberg book, Scott's principles for having real, focused, and direct conversations with people spoke to me. The book was a bit repetitive and I found some of the anecdotes hard to relate to because so many of them were about CEOs of companies. However, I began to appreciate the idea that, no matter what level you are in at a company, school, or organization; your voice is im ...more
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership-books
Phenomenal! One of the best books I've ever read on leadership. It will go on my "read once-a-year" list for sure.

This book is practical, practical, practical. She gives amazing tips and assignments to help you assimilate the information into your mind, heart and life. So good.

A fierce conversation is not a mean conversation. It is "one in which we come out from behind ourselves into the conversation and make it real." "In a fierce conversation there is neither a struggle for approval nor an att
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“You get what you tolerate.” 11 likes
“Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can. Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be. Participate as if it matters. It does.” 8 likes
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