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Book cover for Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
When competent, sensible people do something stupid, the smartest move is to try to figure out, first, what kept them from seeing it coming and, second, how to prevent the problem from happening again.
Neil Gaiman
“As we age, we become our parents; live long enough and we see faces repeat in time.”
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Robert A. Heinlein
“Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.”
Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Neil Gaiman
“Sometimes strong tastes fit strong emotions, and this was one of those times.”
Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

“Sometimes life deals us a blow that we can’t cope with on our own. What constitutes such a blow is different for each of us. It may be something as undermining as rape or as horrifying as war. It may be a physical or mental illness, an addiction, or a profound loss. Or it may be something that would not disturb most other people but does disturb you. We sometimes ascribe valor to those who suffer in silence. But when suffering is prolonged or interferes with accomplishing what we want with our lives, then such suffering may be more reckless than brave. Whatever it is, if you’ve worked to get over it and can’t, we encourage you to ask for help. From friends, from colleagues, from family, from professionals. From anyone who might be able to offer a hand.”
Douglas Stone, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

“Ten Questions People Ask About Difficult Conversations 1. It sounds like you’re saying everything is relative. Aren’t some things just true, and can’t someone simply be wrong?   2. What if the other person really does have bad intentions – lying, bullying, or intentionally derailing the conversation to get what they want?   3. What if the other person is genuinely difficult, perhaps even mentally ill?   4. How does this work with someone who has all the power – like my boss?   5. If I’m the boss/parent, why can’t I just tell my subordinates/ children what to do?   6. Isn’t this a very American approach? How does it work in other cultures?   7. What about conversations that aren’t face-to-face? What should I do differently if I’m on the phone or e-mail?   8. Why do you advise people to “bring feelings into the workplace”? I’m not a therapist, and shouldn’t business decisions be made on the merits?   9. Who has time for all this in the real world? 10. My identity conversation keeps getting stuck in either-or: I’m perfect or I’m horrible. I can’t seem to get past that. What can I do?”
Douglas Stone, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

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