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Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most [Paperback]

Bruce Patton , Douglas Stone , Sheila Heen
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.99
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Book Description

25 May 2000

What is a difficult conversation? Asking for a pay rise, saying 'no' to your boss or spouse, confronting a friend or neighbour, asking a difficult favour, apologizing. We all have conversations that we dread and find unpleasant. But can we develop the skills to make such situations less stressful and more productive?

Based on fifteen years of research and consultations with thousands of people, DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS pinpoints what works. Use this ground-breaking, step-by-step book to turnyour difficult conversations into positive, problem-solving experiences.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (25 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014027782X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140277821
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen work for the Harvard Negotiation Project.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Jack is about to have a difficult conversation. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous 29 Jan 2009
By -
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is simply brilliant.
I would reccomend it to anyone involved in management of people and/or negotiation.
The final chapter that puts everything in perspective is one of the best piece of management consulting that I read so far.
It can also be very useful in your private life.
It is definitely one of the top 5 books in my library.
Read it
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, accessible and relevant 1 July 2010
By cholser
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a succinct insight into the type of conversation we potentially have with a difficult family member, the server who gives you a cold coffee or a tricky business situation. The layout is well structured, breaking each of the main points down further and further to create an easy to follow guide to understanding and navigating an aspect of daily life that most of us evidently don't manage very well.
I read it from perspective of the dispute resolution work I do and it is highly relevant to anyone who works with the general public in any context. It is also clear that what great books like this with universal truths tend to reveal is that it is applicable to all aspects of life, none more so than our closest relationships when we tend to throw all logic and reason out the window in difficult conversations.
Pertinent and varied examples illustrate each point and unlike many of the snake oil 'improve your life in 7 steps' type stuff out there this book is relevant, intelligent and I got to the finish feeling like I'd learned something to use in my daily life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I recommend the reading of this book because it will help you how to better handle difficult conversations in a constructive way.

The author defines a set of 3 dimensions of a conversation and that is the start point for the conversation analysis.

You may achieve a better way of understanding conversations.

One note: I think it is difficult to adopt quickly some of the techniques presented. From the theory to practice it is not easy and takes time to learn.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and practical book. 21 July 2001
By A Customer
An extremely useful book which should be compulsory reading for anyone who has experienced difficult conversations in their personal or professional life which I suspect is all of us. The "identity conversation" in particular is of crucial importance and often neglected in other books on interpersonal transactions and negotiations.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
You will face difficult conversations throughout your life, but now you can learn how to cope with them. This book provides a framework and various strategies for achieving better outcomes from hard exchanges. Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen use principles, illustrative stories and charts to teach you how to understand the components of challenging conversations, and how to prepare for them and transform them into something constructive. The language of the book is clear, insightful, concise and always helpful. You can use these principles in business, but the stories also concern relationships in your everyday life. We say everyone from teenagers to mature adults can use the communication skills discussed in this wise book.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Difficult Conversations gives you an excellent introduction in simple language to interpersonal skills. If you read through it and think about the lessons and anecdotes you get real insights into how you can resolve pointless conflicts and live a happier life! For Psychology PhDs this may seem dumbed down but for the average punter it could be worth its weight in gold.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this for learning to communicate better in my professional life; turned out to be a great asset for my personal life. I can highly recommend it.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is a helpful book. The authors draw from a variety of conceptual frameworks on behavior but blend them skillfully to present a coherent work. I have already re-analyzed the difficult conversations I had had in the past in light of this book and even used some of the techniques in real life situations. I wish I had read such a book years ago which would have spared so many difficult conversations. Some readers may recognize some of the theories (the authors do acknowledge Argyris et al. in the Foreword) but it does not lessen the quality of the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read!
Published 1 month ago by Dionne
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 3 months ago by Ann Knight
1.0 out of 5 stars Pedestrian
Not a particularly easy or engaging read and its get a bit pedestrian half-way through. It should be half the length.
Published 4 months ago by Samuel Barber
2.0 out of 5 stars A bad book
There are a lot of books about difficult conversations, and this is one of the most boring. I was very disappointed in the dull style of the writing. Read more
Published 5 months ago by John Rowan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very valuable
I've read this book twice, and wish I'd done so before having a major falling out with a member of my family, because I don't think the falling out would have happened if I had. Read more
Published on 10 Nov 2011 by Nina Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars Talking to other people
One of the best simple books I have read on the topic of talking to other people.

Some great insights. Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2011 by Pete Burden
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
Product arrived very quickly. Only just started to manage reading but have found the first few pages interesting. Thank you.
Published on 17 Oct 2011 by Nevada
1.0 out of 5 stars great book but badly crushed in the CD case
Would buy this book as its invaluable information but not off this seller as the one from book depository I recieved is completly smashed with the case luckily the cd's were all... Read more
Published on 6 Mar 2011 by steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to recommend
I've just bought my fifth copy; I keep lending them/buying them for friends. It's a powerfully simple read to get a boost in how you handle communication when it matters most. Read more
Published on 1 Sep 2010 by M. M. Hussain
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
This book was recommended for my work but I have found it invaluable for most situations in life. I now look at problems/confrontations/disputes entirely differently.
Published on 13 Aug 2010 by Queenofjive
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