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Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success In Work and In Life, One Conversation At a Time

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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 the Seven Principles of Fierce Conversations, Scott teaches readers how to:

* Overcome barriers to meaningful communication
* Expand and enrich conversations with colleagues, friends, and family
* Increase clarity and improve understanding
* Handle strong emotions-on both sides of the table

368 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2002

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Susan Scott

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5 stars
3,438 (38%)
4 stars
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3 stars
1,639 (18%)
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529 (5%)
1 star
206 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 489 reviews
Profile Image for Jan.
483 reviews11 followers
September 24, 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 to take responsibilities for relationships. (I would have been eight years old.) Does that serve as a sufficient recommendation?
Profile Image for Paula W.
352 reviews71 followers
August 4, 2017
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 in a few sentences: "Be the kind of leader you would like to have" and "Try to be assertive without being a dick".
56 reviews
October 21, 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.
Profile Image for Leigh.
26 reviews
November 5, 2017
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 about her in the yearbook, and reams and reams of movie scenes) Even the simplest messages are wrapped around lengthy stories that run for pages. The problem with this heavy reliance on anecdotes is that it's dangerous to derive principles from them (and I would most certainly not live my life a certain way just because "Hey! This movie character said this/ did that!"). Statistics would have helped in this book but on the odd occasion she does employ data to back up her points, it comes from random sources like automobile.com

You can also tell from her heavy reliance on movies and the way she writes that Scott is essentially a failed novelist masquerading as a businessperson. Here's a sentence selected from the book at random: "From the plane I glimpsed pods of orca whales. Striking swathes of ultramarine and emerald-green currents stippled the water." Not to be harsh, but this really isn't what most people signed up for when they picked up the book. The above extract added no value to what she had to say about the central matter and no one is interested in hearing her wax lyrical (and badly at that) about orcas and how the sea looked like. Get to the point! Unfortunately, Susan Scott fails miserably at this. Of the 20+ books I've read this year so far, this is the one I regret starting the most. One star, no doubt.
Profile Image for Meghan.
113 reviews19 followers
August 26, 2009
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 my own agenda which overpowers the actual conversation. While I probably won't see an instant improvement, I am definitely going to work on being more present, less judgemental and more involved in my conversations. Hopefully I will see a difference in my communication style.
Profile Image for Alissa Thorne.
301 reviews26 followers
May 5, 2017
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 wrong way.
Profile Image for Don.
293 reviews3 followers
July 6, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Ben Lall.
12 reviews4 followers
June 13, 2009
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 going on?'
However on much thinking he realises 'The conversation is the relationship. The moment you stop have the conversation, the relationship comes to an end'.
I am paraphrasing, but when I read this I went and bought the book. I have read it many times and find it an extremely useful resource as I have dealt with many difficult conversations.
Profile Image for Lee Anne.
815 reviews67 followers
September 2, 2011
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 before her fireplace, but that's a bit excessive for the average working Joe. And it's pretentious and off-putting to hear a piece of advice is similar to one she was told by her martial arts sensei in Japan. Really? How nice for you.
Profile Image for Carrie G.
952 reviews7 followers
July 26, 2012
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, authentic dialogs that seek to build, educate, and improve the people involved in them. They are linguistic lessons. According to Scott, “fierce conversations” adhere to several principles:

1) Master the courage to investigate reality

2) Come out from behind yourself into the conversation and make it real

3) Be here, prepared to be nowhere else

4) Tackle your toughest challenge today

5) Obey your instincts

6) Take responsibility for your emotional wake

7) Let silence do the heavy lifting

During the course of the book, all of these principles are explained, examples are given, and the reader is given assignments to help in putting the seven principles into action NOW.

Initially, I was disappointed with the book. Everything felt too business, too corporate, too CEO… I was struggling to see how this could help me at school. Shoot! But, as the book went on, I found a great deal of guidance on how to address challenging topics with groups of people who hold varying viewpoints. I particularly appreciated the chapter on Principle 4: Tackle Your Toughest Challenge Today and Principle 6: Take Responsibility for Your Emotional Wake. The chapter on Principle 4 gave an outstanding outline for how to prepare for a “confrontation” on a heated issue. The chapter on Principle 6 reminded me that everyone experiences everything from their own context, and I need to take that into consideration, along with the words I use when speaking, because the emotional wake I leave lasts and lasts long after I’m gone.

As I teacher, I also gleaned a few things to take back to the classroom. First, this book was chock full of great quotations! I am really looking forward to getting the students’ take on sayings like: “It is better to fail at your own life than succeed at someone else’s” and “The truth may set you free – but first it may thoroughly irritate you!” Another quotation from the book that really resonated with me is: “You get what you tolerate.” I think somewhere else in the book she said, “You deserve what you tolerate.” OUCH!

This book was not as easy a read for me as “Switch” was; I really had to make myself read and finish this book. A few people encouraged me to drop it when I said I found it only moderately interesting. However, I AM glad I read it and I do feel like I learned a lot. I believe that I will refer back to it in the future when I know “fierce conversations” are called for. I hope, with its guidance, I can begin to help turn some of the educational conversations at my school around. Here’s hoping!
Profile Image for Al.
406 reviews3 followers
August 8, 2019
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 “hopping” and in a 3rd edition. The new edition is essentially the same, if that matters. Some content got moved to different chapters and there’s a few cyber-era paragraphs but it’s largely the same book.

It is important stuff, of course, and though the subject is eternal, Scott is deserving of her fame. We should pursue Fierce (think Fierce Conversation as in Sasha Fierce not as in Crossfire) Conversations, and if you need help, Scott gives you the tools you need.

Tendencies to tiptoe around some subjects for a variety of reasons. This book will help you approach those topics. Our message can’t be lost nor can we speak without acknowledging our emotional “wake”.

There are the usual things you get in books like these. Scott spends a quite a bit of time telling you how great she is (something all self-helpers tend to do); her stories show a lap of luxury most would not relate to, and she probably gets people to draw out their stories to her because she’s not attached to the situation (a skill you would see from any bartender).

Still, it does a pretty good job in doing what it purports to do.
Profile Image for Jen Schroeder.
28 reviews4 followers
June 30, 2009
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 it to those who are interested in taking a deeper look at their communication patterns and methods.
Profile Image for Leandra.
227 reviews2 followers
June 11, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Melissa.
68 reviews
April 17, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Canleen.
10 reviews3 followers
August 30, 2019
Not earth shattering. Could be more synthetic. Principle #6 is worth reading though
Profile Image for Adam Nowak.
54 reviews8 followers
June 24, 2020
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"!
Profile Image for Angela Blount.
Author 3 books670 followers
February 17, 2023
A worthwhile read--if a bit more geared toward the professional world than I would have preferred.

Lots of examples, outlines, and exercises to help you start thinking more strategically about how you convey (and convince) people of your points. Although, this is less about debate skills and more about getting through to people in effective ways--rather than politely skirting AROUND major issues. It's about improving and enriching relationships.

This book is encouraging a personal perspective shift. One of the primary purposes expressed is that readers learn to "interrogate reality" in all conversations. What are you afraid to discuss with your conversational partner?
What might you be pretending not to know? (If your answer s 'I don't know', ask 'What would it be if I did know?'

Chapter 6 I found to be possibly the most impactful. In it, we are challenged to consider our 'emotional wake'. (i.e. are you the sort to playfully urge others along... or the kind who dashes people against the docks?)

While it does have cross-application to one's personal life, I would have liked more interpersonal explanations to those types of relationships specifically--when familiarity is sometimes more hindrance than help in establishing new and healthier communication habits.
Profile Image for Lindsey Snyder.
215 reviews
July 14, 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 know *how* to have them. I realized I needed help to not only have the right conversations, but to develop the tools to have them effectively.

Fierce conversations is a great resource for anyone who finds themselves struggling to communicate in a way that brings you closer to the people you care about. Whether it's home or at work - I think this book can help you take a step in the right direction to develop those tools. In my experience, you'll also need practice, but having the guidelines in Fierce will give you a great foundation and a reference to revisit. Susan Scott's writing makes you feel like you're having a fierce conversation with her while she's outlining the principles of a fierce conversation. The examples don't feel contrived and the "assignments" are relevant and actually helpful.

We've all heard the saying that it's not what we say, it's what we do. Yet sometimes having the conversation (in an effective way) that you've been afraid of having, but that is desperately needed, will "do" more for your relationships than anything other action could.

"The conversation is not about the relationship. The conversation is the relationship. Each of us has talked our own particular universe into existence."

Purposes of a "fierce" conversation:
- Interrogate reality
- Provoke learning
- Tackle a tough challenge
- Enrich the relationship

If any of these reasons resonate with you, I highly recommend that you read this book!

"Every conversation won't make or break your career or your marriage, but one conversation has the potential to."
Profile Image for Holly.
658 reviews
June 3, 2021
As Ranganathan said, "Every reader her book" and for this moment in my life, this book is amazing, practical and implementable in your work or home life. There are some nuggets in this book and i highly recommend if you are a person who needs courage and strength to tackle tough conversations lol, me! haha!
Profile Image for Brandon.
79 reviews
August 2, 2015
Incredibly insightful. After reading I've decided to buy a copy for each of my coworkers for christmas. Thank you Susan Scott!
Profile Image for Sandy Reenders.
205 reviews2 followers
March 5, 2020
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 toughest challenge today. Identify and confront the real obstacles in your path. Stay current with the people important to your success and happiness.
Obey your instincts
Take responsibility for your emotional wake.
Let silence do the heavy lifting. Slow down the conversation.

Passion, integrity, authenticity, collaboration, leadership
We resent being talked to. We would rather be talked with
There is something within us that responds deeply to people who level with us
Make a proposal. 2. Check for understanding 3. Check for agreement
If someone disagrees with your idea, don’t defend your idea, but say, “tell us more, help us understand your thinking”
Isn’t always helpful to ask the person with the most experience, rather the person with the best ‘vantage point.’ The person who is closest to the action or whatever, or who will be directly impacted by the diecisions made
Pg 26 Interrogating reality allows you to generate internal commitment to a decision. People buy into it, even if theydon’t necessarily agree with it, because their perspective was sought out and valued and because they genuinely understand why the decision was made.
Don’t blame. Say, for example, “this is what is going on for me. I thought you should know.”
In this situation a boy was ignoring his date by talking to another person, and thedate didn’t get angry she just explained that she felt like she had to compete for his attention.
Another example: a strict boss, people talk behind his back and think their suggestions won’t be heeded. The employees have to tell him, we want to support you, but we need to feel like you support us as well.
In conversations, replace “but” with “and”
If someone says “I can’t believe I’m telling you this” respond, “I’m privileged to hear it”
Mineral Rights 1. Interrogat reality 2. Provoke learning 3. Tackle tough challenges 4. Enrich relationships
Ground truth-military term. Refers to what’s actually happening on the ground vs the official tactics
Courage come from the french word coeur, which means heart
A value is a tightly held belief upon which a person or organization acts by choice
Consider your values and any gaps that exist between them and your behavior
Integrity requires alignment of our values and our actions
Example values: passionate engagemetn, authenticity, a lifetime of learning
Pg 57 Few employees are content with a merely contractual relationship in which they exchange their time and skills for a paycheck, then go home and spend their paychecks on what their lives are really about. Most care deeply about the reputation and values of the companies they work for and would like to feel that their ability to live up to those values in their organization matters.
The vast majority of leaders tend to hold out hope that marginal employees will magically transform themselves overnight into high performers.
As a leader, you get what you tolerate
People don’t repeat behavior unless it is rewarded
Communicate clearly the results, behavior, and attitude you want
Hire attitude. Train skill
Chapter 2
Authenticity is not something you have, it is something you choose
Successful relationships require that all parties view getting their core needs met as legitimate
You won’t articulate your needs to yourself, must less to your work team or life partner, until and unless you see getting your needs met as a reasonable expectation.
Authenticity is a powerful attractor
What is a word or phrase that unfailingly describes you? For me: Restless
Think about when you are not that thing, and recognize multiple realities about how each of us show up in the world, not just when we are at our best.
How we spend our days is how we spend our lives
Where am I going? Why am I going there? Who is going with me? How will I get there?
Pg 83 All conversations are with myself, and sometimes they involve other people
The issues in my life are rarely about you, they are almost always about me
I still don’t understand what Mineral rights are, but here is a worksheet the book wants me to do:
Identify your most pressing issue, clarify the issue, determine the current impact, determine future implications, examine your personal contribution to this issue, describe the ideal outcome, commit to action, contract with yourself
Who am I? What price am I willing to pay to be that?
Chapter 3- be here, prepared to be nowhere else
The experience of being understood, versus interpreted, is so compelling, you could charge admission
Humans share a universal longing to be known and loved
Page 92. Still haven’t actually talked about how to have the stupid “fierce conversations. Goodness, get to the point.
Chinese proverb- when a question is posed ceremoniously, the universe resonds
Story about how her boss asked her input when she was a baby employee, and she sensed he was really listening and wanted to know what she thought, and that made her give her best answers, to feel valued, etc etc. He really asked, she really answered, both feel validated
Fierce affection for clients, genuine curiosity in the topic
Eye contact, but not maniacal eye contact
Listen beyond words to the person’s intent
Pay attention not as a means to an end-to be likes or to make the other person feel liked or understood-but as a new way of experiencing yourself and others
People will rise or fall according to your expectations
How are your expectations affecting their behavior?
One on ones
Ask the person what the most important issue you should talk about is. If you see it as an insignificant issue, still talk about it, or it will look as though you don’t really care about what is important to them.
People solve the problems and seize the opportunities thaty they themselves have named.
Hold your ideas about what needs to be done until the other person has had an opportunity to formulate his or her own solutions
Don’t talk too much, let them. As long as you are talking, you are not learning aything you didn’t know already.
Don’t take the problem away from someoene, make sure to get their thoughts and solutions first

Make sure to ask about their feelings on whatever it is you’re talking about.

Make sure you are clear

Don’t cancel the meeting, or it sends the message that they are not important after all

Don’t allow interruptions-text, email, etc

Don’t assume they are effective-make sure

Start- What do you think is the most important thing we should talk about today?

Mineral Rights outline for a one on one

What is the most important thing you and I should be talking about?
Describe the issue. What’s going on relative to…?
How is this currently impacting you? Who or what else is being impacted? Ask what else a bunch of times, probe feelings. When you consider these impacts, what do you feel?
If nothing changes, what are the implications? Ask what else, probe feelings. When you consider those possible outcomes, what do you feel?
How have you helped create this issue or situation? Don’t comment on the response other than to say-that’s useful to recognize. And move on
What is the ideal outcome? When this is resolved, what difference will it make? Ask what else and feelings again, whatever
What’s the most potent step you can take to begin to resolve this issue? What exactly are you committedto do and when? When should I follow up with you?
Debrief- after the one on one ask yourelf
Was I genuinely curious about this person andhis or her reality?
Did feelings get expressed, as well as issues and solutions?
Did feelings get experessed, as well as issues and solutions?
What parts of me failed to show up?
Who did the most talking? Me is the wrong answer
Other questions you can ask
What is the area that, if you made an improvement, would give you and others the greatest return on time, energy, and dollars invested?
What is currently impossible to do that, if it were possible, would change everything?
What are you trying to make happen in the next three months?
What’s the most important decision you’re facing? What’s keeping you from making it?
What topic are you hoping I won’t bring up?
What area under your responsibility are you most satisfied with? Least satisfied with?
What part of your responsibilities are you avoiding right now?
Who are your strongest employees? What are you doing to ensure that they’re happy and motivated?
Who are your weakest employees? What is your plan for them?
What do you wish you had more time to do?
What things are you doing that you would like to stop doing or delegate to someone else?
Don’t offer advice, even when the solution seemed obvious

When the person gets emotional, don’t rescue them

Use silence powerfully

Secret rule-Questions only

Don’t take the conversation away from the other person and make it about yourself by adding your advice, experiences or whatever

Questions are much more effective than answers in provoking learning
Chapter 4- tackle your toughest challenge today
Mole-whacking. Don’t spend your entire day whacking the moles. Get to the root of the problem and solve that and there will be no more moles.

The problem named is the problem solved
Facilitating a team issue discussion
Require that an issue be as well prepared as possible before bringing it to the team

Allow time for clarifying questions (don’t let solutions providers jump in with ideas too early in the process)
Okay now its time for solutions. Call on anyone who hasn’t spoken

Wrap it up by having everyong distill their solution into one sentence, go around the table for everyone’s ideas

Ask the person with the issue, what they heard, how they will fix the problem, and when
Follow up

You can tape record the meeting, so the person with the issue doesn’t have to furiously take notes

In confrontation, the first sixty seconds are key. If you don’t prepare your opening statement, but instead dive in and hope it will work out, here are five commone mistakes:

“How are things going?” Openings like this are disrespectful and dishonest. Plus, the person’s internal reaction is- oh I guess I suck.
Oreo. People deserve to know exactly what is required of them, how and on what criteria they will be judged, and how they are doing. Don’t praise as a lead-in to confrontation
Pillows. Replace pillows with clear requests.
Writing a script
“Machine gun Nelly” this person runs in, hurls the bad news, and leaves without dealing with the consequences.
So don’t hurl and bolt, or soften the message too much. Both are unclear.

Write down your opening statement and practice saying it out loud

Include: the issue, a specific example, your emotions about it, clarify what is at stake, identify your contribution to the problem, indicate you wish to resolve the issue, and invite the person to respond

If there are multiple issues, ask what is at the core, what is the theme and go for that

Use the words “at stake” they have an emotional impact

Deliver should not be threatening, just a clarification of why it is important

Use the word “resolve”, it communicates good intent on your part.

Keep them on track “Return to the topic, Jackie”

Be prepared for how they might deflect the issue onto someone else. Respond by saying, we are here to discuss how your actions affect blah blah

If they are like, okay well I hope it works out. Say, this isn’t good enough, what are you going to change? And ask, have you ever gotten feedback like this before? Because they probably have, in their personal life or something. So giving them this feedback at work could help them at home too

Don’t forget to express deep and genuine appreciation
Healthy relationships require appreciation AND confrontation
A skillful confrontation is a gift
Chapter 5 Obey your instincts

Do not trust your instincts. Obey them
Okay this book is getting a little off-kilter I think
“When you were speaking, I had a thought that I would like ot check out with you”
You are guaranteed to offend others when you present your thoughts, impressions, and interpretations as the truth.
We believe what we choose. We are answerable to what we choose to believe
An example of what to say if you have a secret concern..”It’s not that easy. I’m worryied that you’ll be put off by what I want to ask you, so I want you to know that I’m prepared to be dead wrong about this”

A careful conversation is a failed conversation
Chapter 6 Take responsibility for your emotional wake
There are people who take the heart out of you and there are people who put it back

For a leader, there is no trivial comment

What do I want them to remember when I am gone?

If you want to build a ship, don’t gather your people and ask them to provide wood, prepare tools, assign tasks. Call them together and raise in their minds the longing for the endless sea

Sometimes a negative emotional wake is caused by a lack of appreciative comments

Example- a guy leaves a company, his boss is upset because he was about to promote him. The boss realizes his mistake- “I didn’t tell him I loved him, I thought he knew”

Don’t start with”truthfully…, frankly.., or honestly…” because it implies you were not speaking truthfully or whatever leading up to this point

Being in a relationship with a person close to you is more important than being right all the time

Recognize that there are mulitple truths
Chapter 7 let silence do the heavy lifting

The best leaders talk with people not at them
Profile Image for Matthew.
123 reviews8 followers
December 30, 2020
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 thing that often takes hold of organizations and really centers her book on how our conversations with ourselves, our family, and our colleagues can create organizational change and freedom if we have the courage to delve into reality.

As a man of faith, I believe that there are many things that Scott talks about around fear, honesty, integrity, and leadership that reverberate in my heart and have sunk deep. Even though I have 'finished' this book, I will continue to reflect, revisit, and remind myself of the truths inside. My first step: writing my 30-second stump speech for leadership in my next steps.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is a leader or has found that their conversations and relationships could use a shot of adrenaline.
Profile Image for Kelly.
956 reviews26 followers
January 17, 2022
Enjoyment Level: 5🌟
Writing Quality: 4🌟

According to the receipt I found tucked inside the pages, I bought this book back on June 16, 2010. Then promptly went on to read other books...for years. Still, there was something about the title and promised contents that kept me holding on to it for more than a decade. I am so glad I did. In this book, Susan Scott discusses tools and methods one can utilize to increase the meaning, vitality and endurance of working and personal relationships. She talks about how silence is just as valuable as words in conversations. She shares examples of how shying away from discussing the issues that scare you most, end up causing more harm in the long run. It is always better to address them, head on, and without fear. I am so glad that I FINALLY dove into reading this book and have its insights and wisdom fiercely marching through my brain. The types of relationships Scott hones in on are high level executives and marriage, but really everything in here can easily apply to any level of the workforce, parent/children, sibling and friendships too. Absolutely recommend.
Profile Image for Katherine.
55 reviews
January 18, 2021
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 experiencing discrimination in the workplace should pull themselves up by the bootstraps and take accountability for their role in the institutionalized patriarchal machine), which greatly discredits her authority.
Profile Image for Lauren Ellzey.
Author 2 books37 followers
August 24, 2022
I felt fiercely dissatisfied with this book. I sincerely do not think it applies across lines of difference. As a neurodivergent, queer, biracial woman, I often felt very uncomfortable with the anecdotes and stories meant to give the principles of a fierce conversation more oomph. Many of the principles contradict each other, which would be fine, if those contradictions were acknowledged. Be that as it may, I'm offering two stars, because there are nuggets of wisdom that can be gleaned from each chapter, and I am certainly taking a phrase or two offered by Susan Scott and keeping them in my back pocket.
Profile Image for Marjorie Elwood.
1,097 reviews23 followers
November 6, 2017
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.

Profile Image for William Dollins.
5 reviews1 follower
February 6, 2020
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.
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