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Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  14,219 ratings  ·  1,433 reviews
Do you hunger for skills to improve the quality of your relationships, to deepen your sense of personal empowerment or to simply communicate more effectively? Unfortunately, for centuries our culture has taught us to think and speak in ways that can actually perpetuate conflict, internal pain and even violence. Nonviolent Communication partners practical skills with a powe ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Puddledancer Press (first published 1999)
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Claire As this book is simply an edition of an older book, it should be available in most public libraries (if not at your local library, it should be…moreAs this book is simply an edition of an older book, it should be available in most public libraries (if not at your local library, it should be available through inter-library loan). It is an incredibly old concept, so if not this book, you could likely find other on the topic quite easily.(less)

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Oct 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the type of book that I would never pick up in a store or library. The design (the earth inside a flower), the subtitle "a language of life," the emphasis on the "Phd" after the author's name - all cues to me of a likely unhelpful, overly cutesy "self-help" book. Blech.

But so many people have recommended this book to me that I looked past these things and recently ordered a used copy. For a moment, I thought I was about to be punished for relaxing my previous resistance. Bewa
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wish I had read this book a long time ago. "Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life" by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. is full of wisdom.

The book starts off by explaining the process of Nonviolent Communication which boils down to four steps:

1. Observe what's happening - what's really going on? What is happening or being said that you either like or dislike?
2. Identify your feelings about it - anger, joy, hopeful, inspired, lonely?
3. Figure out what need
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've read this book before, years ago and was enormously impressed with the ideas in it. However, I found it difficult to put the ideas into practice. Am now currently taking a course in Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication theory and have renewed hope about my ability to put the ideas into practice. I figure if I can learn to communicate with compassion it will be the first step towards being a wise person! :)

A warning about this book: If you'd rather remain blissfully ignorant of your own emo
May 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
I stopped at 100 pages in. I think it is important to point out that this method of communicating is decades old. It was not based on any research at the time, it has not been updated in accord with research, and it has not had any research verifying its effectiveness. There is no consensus, there are anecdotes and there are endorsements.

As a method, the process taught inside was not enough to fill the book and the description was padded out. As literature there were lengthy quotes o
Andy Lee
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The best book I've read about communication, interpersonal relationships, and resolving conflicts. I have a strong feeling that this will be the best I've ever read about the subjects.
In some of the circles I move, this book (or rather NVC in general) frequently gets a bad rap for being focused on communication and how sometimes it feels manipulative and stilted for those on the receiving end of someone practicing it. About 2/3rds of the content of the book is dedicated to the how's of the communication, so I think its easy to see why folks feel this way and to then dismiss it as a specialized form of talking. But focusing on the remaining 1/3rd of the book (which is spread o ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading even if I am like 2 decades too late to reading this. I've already started using it and though I probably sound like a moron, I'm confident I'll get better at talking through my needs. Everyone just wants to be loved and we just keep asking for it the wrong way.
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I listened to (i.e., did not read) this book in the car. Without any doubt, the concepts contained in it should be taught to the young in this country. And the old. And all over the world.

I'm not sure this was the best presentation of it, and the book is dated. The audiobook, in particular, was quite a struggle to get through. One of my pet peeves is when an author makes up stories and then claims them to be true when he tells them, pointing out how the story just so naturally fits i
Oct 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Keith by: Cheri Krause
While many of the techniques presented in this slim volume are entirely worthwhile and of great value in making oneself clear and defusing potentially tense communications, I still disagree with some of the author's fundamental categorization of "needs." While it may be useful, or even necessary under certain circumstances, to address the desires of another person in addition to, or even perhaps prior to, their needs, I continue to maintain that there is an important distinction to be made betwe ...more
Liisa Louise
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this life-changing book. It revolutionized my thinking. It's such an excellent guide to communicating, that I wish I had been taught this stuff in Kindergarten, and again in middle school and high school. The book emphasizes personal responsibility. It empowers one to fully experience one's emotions without being controlled by them. It gives you permission to experience the full spectrum of human emotions, not just the "good" ones like happiness. It integrates human rationalit ...more
Jan 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant handbook for how to talk to people without judging them, alienating them, or really pissing them off. The book is enlivened with a number of transcripts of conversations in which the author and his acquaintances get it right sometimes and fail at other times. The basic idea will be familiar to anyone who has had a little therapy or knows a therapist: you talk about your feelings, not what the other person is doing wrong. Of course, that is difficult to do under the best of circumstan ...more
Xavier Shay
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Life-changing. Everyone should read this. Rosenberg has well over three decades of experience and stories, and delivers it well.

My key takeaways:
* Using "I feel" for everything is a good start but doesn't go far enough. Still need to connect to self needs and specific actions of others.
* Use needs to find common human ground, especially when you disagree strongly with someone.
* Not everything needs to be "fixed". People want to be heard / listened to / empathised wi
Mar 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
While there are ideas that can be adapted to use in this book that make it worth reading, it makes a few claims that could be problematic. Full disclosure, this review is also based on my personal experiences with several NVC counselors.

First some positives.
1. It is is a good attempt at a listening tool to both interpret what others are telling you and in restating things back to someone so they know you understand them and can be worked into the BATHE technique of addressing problems.

Rod Hilton
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Nonviolent Communication" might be a bit eyeroll-inducing, the concept of "When you X, I feel Y" statements are a cliche at this point. But push through it, this book is invaluable in improving communication skills.

I'm not sure any book has had as much of an impact on my ability to communicate effectively with other people. True, it's not "in my nature" but I'm hoping to fake it until I make it with this stuff, because I've noticed a marked difference with how coworkers seem to view
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on audio book and the experience was very similar to learning a language with a great teacher such as Michel Thomas. I think this is a book I will return to several times in order to absorb the skills. Non violent communication seems to be a great deal about listening, keeping cool and using very specific language. This wouldn't necessarily be straight forward in dangerous situations so some way to practice it with repetition would be of enormous value.
The skills taught appl
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
I applaud Rosenberg's intention to bring peace and reconciliation through better communication. Rosenberg offers many potentially helpful insights in this book. His call for a therapist to bring him/herself into psychotherapy was refreshing. It could create less of a power differential and perhaps be more healing in its inclusivity and open acknowledgement of all individuals in the room. He also shows how we can get stuck in patterns that defeat the outcomes we're hoping for, and suggests, via M ...more
Mohamed Almahdi
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: relationship
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) by Marshal Rosenberg

I have just finished this book and I can see how it has positively influenced my day to day life once I started reading it. Among many books I have read slowly, reading this book has not been so slow.
More than any time in history in this modern era, we need to get exposed to ideas and practices that minimize resentment, malice, and envy. I am personally not sure if it is possible to eradicate hatred and harm from our daily circumsta
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I honestly loved this book. I think I might have gained 10 emotional IQ points just from reading it--this week whenever I interact with people I keep thinking about what they must be feeling and what need they were trying to express when they said that thing. (I think I still have a way to go before actually putting all of this into practice.) I'm also finding it quite helpful in thinking about myself, my self-image, my decisions and mistakes, etc.

I'd recommend it if you're intereste
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book in conjunction with a class I took on the subject.

Wouldn't it be nice if I could continue to practice what it preaches?
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The core ideas in this book are sound, and it does seem likely that someone striving to implement
them in the way they communicate, especially how they communicate when in conflict, will see some of their relationships improve and some conflicts resolved.

This review is for the BOOK not for NVC as such. The actual core ideas of this book I'd give 4 stars, it's the presentation in this book that I think is severly enough flawed to deserve a couple stars less.

On a positive
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
A great system for thoughtful engagement with conflict and also self-reflection, but falls into the self-help trap where everything is just a matter of a certain kind of positive thinking in a vacuum with no power dynamics/oppression-privilege insight (weirdly uses an example of someone being "racist" against a white person??). Also some questionable psychotheraputic recommendations, about sharing personal feelings during sessions and not diagnosing because diagnosing is a form of judgement. Som ...more
Jeff Saltzman
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anybody who speaks to people
I heard Marshall Rosenberg speak with Terry Gross last year and was captivated. I am still wrapping my head around the practice-- very difficult to break old habits-- but the few times over the last two days I've tried this, honest, constructive information burst out immediately. I will try to integrate these methods into the classes I am currently teaching-- this is communication gold.
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For me, life-changing.
Teo 2050
NVC is one of the books I wish I’d read years ago! It’s probably also one of those simple-to-read, lifelong-struggle-to-master things. Even so, let’s go! It’s never too late to turn our attention to the automatic programming/conditioning that by default often leads to all kinds of pain. Words & concepts are one of our most intimate cognitive and emotional tools, and it makes enormous sense to relearn to use them more consciously & compassionately both within ourselves & interpersonal ...more
Greg Brooks-English
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you want to learn to experience more connection of compassion, warmth, love, and understanding - read this book. This book is a great companion volume to any serious meditation or contemplative prayer practice. It will teach you how to spot the differences between evaluations and observations, feelings and thoughts, needs and strategies, and requests and demands - most of which people confuse unconsciously due to very old habit patterns of the mind. This book is for those who want to change t ...more
Iman Shabani
I'd say this is a good book to read, and I'll probably give it another read at some point.

However I can say NVC (NonViolent Communication) is way easier said than done. So far it seems the only way to learn it for real is through extensive practice, however I'm going to read more on this topic to see if there's something out there to help me get there.
Katja Vartiainen
This book/movement is amazing. And needed. A very healthy, down to earth way of communicating, resolving conflicts, learning about ourselves and others, and living according to our needs and healthy values. I've heard about NVC before, but never got reading it, until a recent family quarrel... Should have got the book a bit earlier, ha ha. The book is clear. It seems so simple, but man, no kidding, it is a bit difficult if you have like most of us grown up in the jackal society. But not impossib ...more
Adam Shand
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirit, facilitation
During the last couple of years of my marriage I understood that the only chance I had to save my marriage was to learn to use language more effectively. I began experimenting, initially subconsciously, with how I could express myself in ways which weren't destructive to the fragile remnants of our relationship. It was an ultimately doomed process but one that taught me a lot about the power of language. I learned a lot about why things went wrong, but never quite made sense of why things someti ...more
Jen Marin
This book is a fabulous introduction to the notion that we can help create a more peaceful world by improving our ability to communicate effectively and compassionately. Rosenberg points out a disturbing fact: we have more words in our language with which to judge each other (and ourselves) than we do to express our emotions. By learning to feel and express our emotions with words, we become less likely to act aggressively from these same emotions. When we can honestly say, "I feel angry when yo ...more
Dmitrii Rozhkov
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Reading this book I felt so grateful, because I've finally found the way t0 fix my communication with everyone starting from my family.
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Marshall Rosenberg was an American psychologist and the creator of Nonviolent Communication, a communication process that helps people to exchange the information necessary to resolve conflicts and differences peacefully. He was the founder and Director of Educational Services for the Center for Nonviolent Communication, an international non-profit organization.

In 1961, Rosenberg recei
“What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.” 565 likes
“All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished.” 137 likes
More quotes…