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I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,946 ratings  ·  679 reviews
“Sarah and Beth are an absolute gift to our culture right now. Not only do they offer balanced perspectives from each political ideology, but they teach us how to dialogue well, without sacri­ficing our humanity.”
—Jen Hatmaker, New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and founder of Legacy Collective

“Sarah from the left and Beth from the right serve as our guides throug
Hardcover, 205 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
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Christina Busche
Jun 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
In all fairness, I only read about half of this book. While I appreciated some of their comments, their foundation was far too weak and their insights far too common to justify continued reading. The authors cite their Christian faith as their inspiration, but offer nothing beyond out-of-context verses, culturally vogue words, and Kumbaya. Example: They briefly relate the parable of building on sand vs. building on rock (Matthew 7:24-27), but alter the meaning entirely. Rather than the rock bein ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading for every elected official, and every person registering to vote.

But, much like their podcast, this book only really uses politics as the basis for discussion on how to human. So even if your aren’t a policy wonk or political junkie, this book has something for you to help you relate better to others on the hardest, most important things in life.
Erin Goettsch
May 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Oh man I wanted to love this. The premise is so great. Their ideas for kind and curious dialogue are so great. But the whole premise of the book assumes that all sides are able and willing to adopt nuance (which I think we all desperately need) and there is VERY little here about how to deal with the obstinance that is completely pervasive. And so the book ended up feeling like I was being lectured on how to pacify people who truly think facts don’t matter. I just... don’t think that further nor ...more
I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of this book and I cannot wait until it enters the world. Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland have reminded us that talking politics shouldn't be taboo because it is all about living in community with one another. Please go pre-order this book for yourself and all the people in your life that you've avoided talking politics with because in the words of Beth and Sarah, we've all "changed 'you shouldn't talk politics' to 'you should only talk to peopl ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers, hosts of a popular podcast, discuss the importance of engaging in meaningful political discussions with those who don't agree with your political views.

In an age when most of us shy away from political conversations, this book encourages the reader to engage with friends and family members on opposite sides of the aisle--and provides helpful techniques for doing so.

This book is a great resource for anyone who wishes to have worthwhile dialog about politi
Kaytee Cobb
Update: just completed a month-long buddy-read read-along (how many hyphens can I fit in here?) with 120ish bookstagram friends! So excellent to get to process this with others.

This book has all the right stuff. Sarah and Beth already captured my attention with their fantastic podcast. I have learned so much through listening to these two brilliant and nuanced women chat twice a week. But this book? This book takes it to the next level. I got to pre-read it as an ARC, but true story: I went and
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
In this well-written guide, Sarah and Beth broach ways we can communicate respectfully while discussing critical issues. Instead of being instantly combative, we can listen and empathize. Try to understand rather than insult. We are not enemies, we are citizens. We are capable of having respectful conversations, even if we disagree, and still be civil. The reminder that our differences are not more important than our similarities had a profound effect on me. And while the faith pieces do not app ...more
Melinda Wedding
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book so far gives serious food-for-thought for engaging in those awkward conversations with people you know can be combative. I've used ideas presented by the authors successfully in a couple of discussions.

We all don't have to agree on everything. There are absolutely places where I will not budge my convictions, but seeing both sides can help break our ideological logjams and find some middle ground. That's a solid place to start to getting this country back on track.
Jessie Heckenmueller
I received an advanced reader copy of this book. I believe the books content and encouragement toward nuance in political conversations is important and necessary. They had good pointers along the way of how to practice what they are talking about and questions to get you thinking. I enjoyed the specific examples of how they approached political topics and what they learned throughout the process. The chapter on getting out of your echo chamber seemed especially helpful. I think many people will ...more
Rachel SV
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it
As a progressive surrounded by conservative friends and coworkers I thought this book would have been perfect for me, but I didn’t learn anything I haven’t learned by just being a person in the south with different political opinions from the majority of the people next to me. I agree with the fundamental premise that we should treat others with dignity and learn to communicate about politics in a more empathetic way, but there was a veneer of white southern Christian privilege that sometimes fe ...more
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, non-fiction
If you have any interest in America as an entity right now you should probably read I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations. Don’t worry it’s short and fast. It’s part how-to manual and part open discussion of some of the issues plaguing the political divide right now. Only two people with this kind of respect for each other and themselves could have written this book.

I know it is so necessary right now. I don’t believe it could have been written
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Do you feel, as I do, deeply frustrated with the lack of civil talk in our democracy? Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth A. Silvers felt the same way. Both Sarah and Beth are trained as lawyers, and both are now focusing their energies on raising their young children, and they remind us that they are not experts but simply citizens who love discussing issues, but they have come together to create a podcast where important issues in American can be talked about in a civil fashion. Sarah comes from th ...more
Anna Smith
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book. The authors are the hosts of the podcast Pantsuit Politics. “Sarah from the left” and “Beth from the right” give us very timely reminders in this book. Reminders like:

- It IS ok to discuss politics
- It IS ok to voice your opinion on polarizing issues.
- It IS ok to disagree with someone politically and still respect them as a human being.

Beth and Sarah also remind us that politics is not the team sport we tend to see it as. It is not id
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm so grateful for this book. Yes, it's a guide for how to have more productive political conversations, but it's more than that. It guides you through examining yourself and your motives. It challenges you to rethink assumptions, embrace curiosity, and "get comfortable with being uncomfortable." It's given me a new way to think about myself and others, and a new way to think about and approach politics and political engagement. I especially appreciate the way Sarah and Beth demonstrate the pri ...more
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I THINK THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED. I've been vaguely interested in politics without feeling like I could talk about it in most situations and without feeling like I could escape the bubble of people who agree with me. Sarah & Beth are leading a whole movement of people who aren't afraid to talk about the controversial topics and aren't sacrificing their relationships to do it.

It's a joy to read and makes me feel hopeful that we can move past this stalemate of hyper-partisanship.
Nov 21, 2019 marked it as could-not-finish
DNF at 30%. Really silly. “The founding fathers had friendly cordial debate, so can we!” Yeah, they were like 99% the same- white, educated, wealthy, British, men (and even they still had to end things with a duel sometimes). That’s nothing like the situation with today’s political foes who often times have little to no common ground. So, no, it’s not odd political parties don’t interact like the founding fathers did.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I was excited about reading this book. America has lost its love of civil discourse, and I hoped to learn useful ways to examine all sides (there are almost certainly more than two) and dig deeper into national issues. We aren't solving our problems by insulting each other, refusing to listen, and insisting on 'my way or the highway.'

Some parts of this book are great for working toward this goal. They offer tips on questions to ask, how to respond to confrontational comments with grace, and feel
Gary Anderson
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Before explaining my reaction to this book, I should provide a little personal context. On the political spectrum, I place myself somewhere between moderate and progressive, and I’m a lifelong Democrat.

There have been twelve presidents in my lifetime, and I have either studied or hold vivid memories of eleven of them. Of those eleven, there are five Democrats and six Republicans. Even though I’m a Democrat, I have areas of disagreement or disappointment with Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Carter,
Jill Kleis
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
My first book of 2019 was a true revelation. Coming off a fraught midterm election season, and perhaps a holiday where you cringed at the thought of talking politics with your family, I’m here to tell you there is a better way. I genuinely think this is a must-read for everyone who has felt overwhelmed by how divided our country seems. It is a guide map for progress instead of gridlock.

I was given an advanced copy, but you can get your copy on its release day, February 5 or preorder it now. And
3.5 stars...beyond that, I have to think for a little while before I write a longer review.
Nov 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I had heard such great things about this book and I so wanted to like it. But sadly it didn’t quite hit the mark for me personally. I haven’t ever listened to the author’s podcast so I have no affinity for them and therefore no emotions are invested.

My main critique of the book is that it was elementary. Simple concepts like how our brains work with what we perceive as “enemies”, biases and prejudices, etc. is peppered throughout the book in relation to whatever political policy or issues the au
Erica T
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really appreciated their insights. Very timely to read now with the contentious political climate around so many things right now.
Lisa notes
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is how books on politics should be written. Yes, talk about the issues. But also yes, talk about HOW to talk about the issues. With dignity. With openness. With suggestions on how to listen to the other side.

If we could follow the advice given in this book about how to talk about politics, we would have much better conversations. And actions. And relationships. These are things that matter to all of us, regardless of which political jersey we wear.

My thanks to the publisher for the review
Kat Coffin
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I'll admit I was pretty disappointed by this book. It has some good ideas and encouragements, but it's written from a very deep place of privilege--two white women from Kentucky. As my best friend wisely noted, both writers grew up in their respective parties, and I think it's important to include the large amount of people who grew up in conservative cultures and strayed away from them due to gaining critical thinking and reasoning skills. When you cross party lines, your perspective is enhance ...more
Emma M.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This little book took me a solid two weeks to read, mainly because it made me think and examine my interactions in regards to politics.
The truth is that I'm tired. I'm tired of the extremes found on both sides of the aisle. I'm tired of the villainizing of those with whom you don't agree. I'm tired of feeling like one of the few who tries to look at things from different angles. I'm tired of people not being able to see past a party label to really see who they are sending to represent them. I'
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Last month I listened to an episode of my favorite podcast where the authors of this book (also the hosts of the Pantsuit Politics podcast) were guests to discuss how to have grace-filled political conversations with family and friends. The advice was so timely and helpful, and it left me wanting more.

I’m at the point in this election cycle where I feel totally fed up with politics, so I almost didn’t want to read this once I was finally first on the holds list. I’m glad I read it though, becaus
Jan 03, 2021 rated it liked it
Some parts of this book I found really helpful. Others felt like they were unclear of their root message/veering off track?
I will admit that sometimes I wanted this book to be more than it was. It is NOT a book that will help you talk to people who don’t agree what a true news source is or who don’t agree on some basic tenants of human dignity and rights. It WILL offer ways to potentially diffuse some social media tension or even some in person debates between more centrist people who happen to
Janelle Oppenheimer
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much! What Beth and Sarah have to say is so important to the political climate today. The issues we are facing are not simple, black and white issues as some would prefer to believe. Learning how to value your own experience and perspective while being mindful that it is not the only valid one is a lost art that this book aims to help us regain.
Erika B.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was really good. I’m a huge fan of Beth and Sarah’s podcast, and I feel like their book really examined and built on what they do on the podcast. I liked to read this slowly, a chapter or two at a time, so that I could think about and absorb the ideas. All in all, a really helpful and encouraging book!
Kelly Stulce
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If ever there was a time we needed healing in political culture, across our communities and even within our families, that time is now. In I Think You’re Wrong, But I’m Listening, Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers present a prescription certain to build bridges across the political divide. Known to fans of their Pantsuit Politics podcast for their gift of seeing the gray in issues often presented in stark black and white, their voices challenge the reader from the page to forsake his or her ...more
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Before turning to the mic as the cohost of the political podcast Pantsuit Politics, Sarah wrote about parenting and politics on her blog bluegrass redhead. Her writing has also been published in the Atlantic, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and BlogHer.

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“Somewhere along the way, we lost our revolutionary passion for talking about the issues that affect our country and our lives. We decided that conversational conflict is impolite at best and dangerous at worst. Unfortunately our attempts to avoid these uncomfortable moments have backfired. In our efforts to protect relationships from political tension, we have instead escalated that tension. Because the reality is that we never stopped talking politics altogether—we stopped talking politics with people who disagree with us. We changed “you shouldn’t talk about politics” to “you should talk only to people who reinforce your worldview.” Instead of giving ourselves the opportunity to be molded and informed and tested by others’ opinions, we allowed our opinions and our hearts to harden.” 6 likes
“We don’t want to be challenged or even questioned, because we believe there is too much at stake. We have tied together our religious beliefs, our pride in our upbringings, and our policy positions until they’ve become like a tangled mess of necklaces that we shove in a drawer—still treasured but unwearable.” 3 likes
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