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Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
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Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

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4.05  ·  Rating details ·  7,590 Ratings  ·  533 Reviews
The 10th-anniversary edition of the New York Times business bestseller-now updated with "Answers to Ten Questions People Ask"

We attempt or avoid difficult conversations every day-whether dealing with an underperforming employee, disagreeing with a spouse, or negotiating with a client. From the Harvard Negotiation Project, the organization that brought you Getting to Yes
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Paperback, 315 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Penguin Books (first published April 1st 1999)
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Slappy
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Difficult Conversations is a how-to self-help book on negotiating conflict in emotionally-loaded discussions between two people. Authored by members of the Harvard Negotiation Project (which sounds awfully prestigious), the book is lucid and accessible.

A "difficult conversation," according to Stone et al, is "anything you find it hard to talk about":

Sexuality, race, gender, politics, and religion come quickly to mind as difficult topics to discuss, and for many of us they are. But discomfort and
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Otis Chandler
I read this on a recommendation from a friend who gave it to me on a list of business books to read. But it was so much more. It gives you a great framework for thinking through why people have communication issues - whether in personal or professional relationships.

The best piece of advice that stuck with me is to always explain where you are coming from in a discussion. "I did it this way because...". Sometimes we think its obvious and it isn't, and it always helps the conversation when people
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Jaclyn
Aug 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My husband and I both have ADHD, and that makes for some major communication challenges. This book will help anyone get a better handle on tricky interactions. It should be required reading for anyone who hasn’t done mediation or communication training (I have, but still learned a lot).

Difficult Conversations separates readers from our own narrative and reveals the reasons underlying others’ hot-headed — and often baffling — reactions.

Buyer beware, though: this isn’t the only book you’ll ever ne
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Jessica
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I constantly recommend this book to friends, family and colleagues. It was introduced to me in a negotiations class and I learned the most from this book over any other book I was made to read in my graduate studies.

Although everyone would benefit from this book - I especially recommend this book to women for a particular reason. Female characteristics and emotions such as empathy and sensitivity can be great assets in life (don't let men tell you otherwise). However, especially in the male-dom
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Adam Wiggins
Solid advice, illustrated with copious examples, on how to tackle emotionally-charged conversations in the workplace, romantic life, and family life.

As always, examples are worth a thousand words of exposition. The examples in this book are extremely well-done -- in fact, I suspect if they were extracted to stand on their own without any of the accompanying explanation, the book's thesis still would have come through quite clearly.

My takeaways:

Break down your thoughts (and the conversation) into
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Philipp
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
A good guide to 'difficult conversations' with boss/spouse/people, i.e., clashing stories, themes that endanger your self-image, and emotions, it contains some valuable advice on how to incorporate everyone's and your own feelings in a mature way during a conversation.

But: For the love of all that is holy, do not follow the advice contained in this book with children. I had teachers who went to university in the 'progressive' 70s, so what they talked about all day is your feelings and their feel
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Debra
Jul 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone!
Although some of the tips may sound a little corny, I think this is a great book for pretty much everyone to read. I definitely noticed a lot of the negative traps I fall into and I want to try some of the new tips suggested in the book.
Kirtida Gautam
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
It's a brilliant book that tells how humans sometimes fail to create impact in conversation because they fail to see the point of view of other people.
Mark
Mar 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read at the insistence of my wife. I think she was trying to tell me something. Not sure what it was. Back to nerd fiction!
Suzy
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am very glad that I read this book, and I feel sure that it will have a positive impact on all difficult conversations I have from here on out. I tend to be a conflict avoider who puts off (or stuffs) difficult conversations, but now I feel that I don't necessarily have to view difficult conversations as conflict. In many difficult conversations I have had in the past, I have felt variously that the other people are trying to win by being loud, emotional, interruptive or verbally manipulative. ...more
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Human Resources B...: Book Discussion: Difficult Conversations 6 2 Jan 16, 2018 01:16AM  
  • Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations
  • People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts
  • Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate
  • Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior
  • The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense
  • The Skilled Facilitator: A Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers, and Coaches
  • The Temperament God Gave You: The Classic Key to Knowing Yourself, Getting Along with Others, and Growing Closer to the Lord
  • The Secret Handshake: Mastering the Politics of the Business Inner Circle
  • Harvard Business Review on Effective Communication
  • The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate
  • Fierce Conversations (Revised and Updated): Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time
  • Influence Without Authority
  • That's Not What I Meant!
  • Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes
  • The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict
  • Working with Emotional Intelligence
  • Make Peace With Anyone: Breakthrough Strategies to Quickly End Any Conflict, Feud, or Estrangement
  • You Can Negotiate Anything: The World's Best Negotiator Tells You How To Get What You Want
“The single most important thing [you can do] is to shift [your] internal stance from "I understand" to "Help me understand." Everything else follows from that. . . .

Remind yourself that if you think you already understand how someone feels or what they are trying to say, it is a delusion. Remember a time when you were sure you were right and then discovered one little fact that changed everything. There is always more to learn.”
13 likes
“The urge to blame is based . . . on the fear of being blamed.” 5 likes
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