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Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
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Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  8,026 ratings  ·  483 reviews
Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist, business consultant, and coach, author Mark Goulston combines his background with the latest scientific research to help readers turn the “impossible” and “unreachable” people in their lives into allies, devoted customers, loyal colleagues, and lifetime friends. Just Listen does this by providing simple but powerful techniques r ...more
Hardcover, 234 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by AMACOM (first published September 1st 2009)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  8,026 ratings  ·  483 reviews

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Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
My first ever self-help book that I finished and actually enjoyed. The advice in this book was original and the conversation examples were wonderful. The authors stress that the techniques offered in this book must be used out of sincerity and not malicious reasons. I even recommended this book to a few of my high school teachers when I finished it. This book deserves all the praise it has received.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book, I'll probably buy it in paperback and re-read it periodically.

Some reminders of what it says:

Stop trying to be interesting, be interested instead.

Practice moving quickly from: Oh fuck! (reaction) to Oh God! (emotional release) to Oh Jeez (re-centre yourself) to Oh well (re-focus) to OK (you are ready to fix this).

Everyone wants to feel "felt".

Letting a person in crisis exhale: they vent, be quiet, they stop, say "tell me more", don't engage or debate or offer solutions, just l
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Just Listen" is an outstanding, practical how-to guide for becoming a better face-to-face communicator. As a professional communicator, I often find it easier to write for an amorphous, anonymous large audience, or speak in front of a large room, rather than work one on one with people who are resistant or difficult. Dr. Goulston's book is for people like me, who are friendly, sociable and articulate, but need to refine their personal leadership skills. Sometimes I am prone to thinking that som ...more
Erika RS
Jul 22, 2012 rated it liked it
The core message of this book is sound: getting people to listen to you requires you listening to them. Effective communication requires work to understand the person you are trying to communicate with. Beyond the core message, this book had a lot of practical tips with something of a laundry list feel to their presentation.

I like a lot of the tips, but I sometimes felt the author did not really address the concerns of an average person trying to learn how to listen and communicate better. If y
May 26, 2013 rated it liked it
There are a lot of interesting and salient points made in this book about connecting with people. Some of it seems like common sense, and some of it seems truly novel. At times, though, while I was reading certain chapters, it felt more like a guidebook on how to manipulate others and less like suggestions or recommendations on how to connect with people in a genuine, authentic way. That troubles me and that's why I gave this book 3 stars instead of 4 or 5.

To be clear, the author is definitely a
Farnoosh Brock
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business-spirit
This is going to the list of my top recommended leadership and self-growth books both for corporate professionals as well as business owners. When my business coach casually mentioned the book, I didn't think much of it so I just ordered the Kindle version and started reading. I had to STOP reading so I could get the physical paper copy of the book and sit up and take notes as I read. And I hardly buy physical copies of books these days, much as I love them, so you know this was special. It has ...more
Tom Foreman
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business, psychology
Stating the obvious and stretching it into a book. An article would have sufficiently covered the context.
Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku
I read this book for a book club at work. Since COVID started, my coworkers started this book group to help connect us more deeply while we learned things relevant to our jobs - expect a handful of book reviews that are business books in the future!

This is an easy book to read and understand. I like that Goulston gives us many practical techniques and provides case studies at the end of the text. But, while he addressed how to apply these techniques, I didn't learn about what missteps might be e
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great, but I wish it talked about confrontation, religion, and politics. In other words, the most difficult bits.
Norm Konzelman
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I need this book as a must have, to aquire the skills/habits the author presents. The principles he lays out are profound, and yet when you give them thought, you realize it's just common sense, often times you could even say "common courtesy" in the respect it gives another.
The author presents his work with a worldly view that at times was weird to hear, as in "reptile brain, mammal brain, human brain", but when taken in a biblical context, he borrows what God laid out in His word ages ago.
I ha
May 30, 2020 rated it liked it
TL;DR Describes strategies on how to be a better listener and communicator.

My favourite is the strategy of focusing your full attention on the other person in a conversation, not preparing your own response/rebuttal while they are speaking. As Goulston says, "Be interested, not interesting".

I'm definitely going to try out the section where he talks about getting through emotionally charged situations: "Practice moving quickly from: Oh f***! (reaction) to Oh God! (emotional release) to Oh Jeez
Vinit Nayak
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked it because not only did it explain at a high level the difficulties that happen during communication and what our brain is going through at those times, but he also gives actionable tasks to help one control oneself and the person they are trying to get through.

Sure, the communication examples are very trite but it does give you a platform on where to start.
David Manley
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book contains some excellent advice but generally might just be a showcase for how much easier it is to get through to people when you're a brilliant psychiatrist. ...more
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
This book is a very practical, applicable, "how to" on getting people from a defensive position to one where they may listen to you. Most of us won't have to deal with a hostage situation but at times we may feel like the idiot we're trying to help has us held hostage as they are reacting defensively to a situation and failing to act logically. Goulston does a marvelous job of explaining ways and methods to approach these delicate situations. Hint, don't call the person an idiot. He also does a ...more
Chad Crosson
Oct 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
Not a very good or helpful book. Seemed to be more about the author and how good he is at communicating and moving people to do what he wants (manipulating) then it is about providing helpful information that can be applied in the day to day. I feel like the title should have been something like “Just how great I am”.

If you liked How to Win Friends and Influence people then you might enjoy this book.
Anton Antonov
Apr 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
Not a book for the everyday person. I expected a simple and unobtrusive "self-help" book, instead I get the hostage negotiator's pocket guide.

I like my books straight to the point without needlessly cliched stories.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-dev, psychology
well, it's quite pretty much useful book, won't disappoint you ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership, favorites
This book is excellent. It’s a step above how to win friends and influence people with some psychiatric science thrown in for good measure. A true how-to for emotional intelligence development. If everyone read this, and adopted its advice, the world would be a better place. And Mark is the first to call out the nut jobs that will abuse the techniques he shares. Recommended reading for anyone in a management position or wanting to be in a management position.

Notes for me:

Mirror feelings. We do
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My second time around although I can't say I remembered much about it from 201o (9 years ago). it has bubbled to the surface again based on the Sandler Training I am now involved with and it's emphasis on listening and authenticity . There is a connection shared ideas to Voss negotiation book as well.

Also these are good:


This is a very strong pragmatic book about listening and gettin
Nick Jones
Overall it was good. There are some really helpful questions/strategies that can be useful in conversations. There was also a good deal of pseudo-science. Though the author doesn't say so, it seems as though much of his approach is dependent upon his personality. ...more
Mario Tomic
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very cool book on empathy and managing relationships with people practically in all areas of your life. I'd say it's a must read for anyone dealing with people, for me it was interested as it helps me become a better coach for my clients. If you're a manager, CEO, doctors, attorney, parent or any similar position this book will teach you the exact skills to master the art of maintaining win-win relationships with people you interact with. The only reason why I don't give it 5 stars is because it ...more
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of those rare books I listen to and then buy a hard copy so I can reread sections. This really spoke to me, I appreciated the authors tone and ideas. Many of the examples he uses come from the business world, but then he would throw in these gem stories on interacting and listening better to teenagers. I’ve already started incorporating his techniques with my children and have found them much more pleasant and effective over arguing and lecturing. Wish I had learned these things 10 years ago ...more
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in a few hours from my college online library. I just ordered a copy from amazon, this book has so much information that will help me in my personnel life and professional life. Looking forward to getting my copy! there is a lot i want to highlight and re-read. I highly recommend.
Mar 25, 2019 added it
Did not finish. I've seen interviews with Goulston before, and there's nothing new here. However, I'm not rating this, because, if you haven't heard Goulston before, this may be a useful source for you. ...more
Joe Reddington
Feb 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gave up after 18% of really poor quality writing.
Melisa Harvey
Mar 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Listened to it while asleep. this book I totally disagree with.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best communication books I've ever read, and always a go-to recommendation. ...more
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There are several points made this book become one of my favorite book. How this book organized is so effective for learning.

1.Always inroduce concepts with mini stories from the author's real life. This not only attracted the audience
but also showed how he is real great communicator who care reader's think, for example from Sect I: chap 2
"..I got the point. Most poeple reading this book don't care about neurons and neurotransmitter.."
Therefore the scientific part in this book comprise Three
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
If you want to learn how to reach out to people in your family, work, community, or even total strangers, you will definitely learn a lot of useful lessons from Mark Goulston in his book Just Listen. The title itself makes it simpler by saying exactly what you need to do. However, what this book is all about is on how exactly will you listen.

I find this book very interesting because I did not expect that it will be different than other books about interpersonal relationship. I am assuming that t
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic book, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is one area everyone could improve on. It offers real practical advice that make you think and put into action.

- Just let people talk and be excited,
- Try not to judge but rather facilitate their expression of that emotion because it helps move alleviate their minds from a primal mindset to a thinking mindset. Its technique used for hostage negotiations, so it works!
- Control the pace of conversation through powerful engaging questions
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MARK GOULSTON, M.D., is a business psychiatrist and consultant, author of the bestselling Just Listen, and subject of the PBS special “Just Listen with Dr. Goulston.” He writes a Tribune syndicated career column; blogs for Fast Company, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and Psychology Today; and is featured frequently in major media including The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fort ...more

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