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Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time Hardcover – Sep 2002

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Hardcover, Sep 2002
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books; First Printing edition (Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670031240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670031245
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.6 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,861,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bestselling author Susan Scott has been working as a leadership development architect for more than two decades. She is the founder of Fierce, Inc., a global training company that helps Global 1000 companies generate significant results by transforming the conversations central to their success. Fierce, Inc.'s clients include Yahoo, Starbucks, Cisco, Nestle, and Coca-Cola. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Product Description


[Susan Scott is] the master teacher of positive change through powerful communication (Peter Neill, Executive Director, AT&T Wireless) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Susan Scott has spent sixteen years training clients in the art of fierce conversations. She maintains an international consulting firm Fierce Conversations Inc. She provides programmes to CEOs and executives. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jan Hills on 20 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
Fierce Conversations is a guidebook on how to make relationships meaningful and successful. It's simplicity of focusing on "one conversation at a time" avoids the pitfall of a relationship deteriorating in Scott's words "slowly then suddenly". The idea that our lives (and work) succeed or fail one conversation at a time, including those conversations we don't have is compelling.
The case studies from her consulting practice are reasonably instructive. Some of the models such as Mineral Rights and the Decision Tree are practical and useful to managers and coaches. This is both a "think about this" and a "here's how to use it" book that can give people the courage and tools to tell others what they are seeing and believing.
We can all think of relationships that will benefit from applying some of these ideas and organisations that need to adopt them. Just think what could have happened at Enron, etc. if people had been willing to talk to each other about what was really going on? However one of the best concepts in the book is the notion of having "Fierce Conversations" with yourslef before having them with others.
The ideas are simple yet powerful and can change the way we talk both to ourselves and to others. The examples are rather better applied to business than to personal situations and the chapter on “ let silence do the heavy lifting” covers some important ideas but seems a little muddled. Apart from that the book is an easy read. Well worth having as part of the "tool kit"
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Many Beans VINE VOICE on 12 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
If you work in a bureaucracy, or have read Jack Welch's autobiography, here's a how to get on with it guide - or at least, a big chunk of it. If you haven't read Jack Welch's book - go take a look (try "straight from the gut"). The reference here is to the one regret Mr Welch admits to: not getting on with some things sooner. At the heart of Fierce Conversations is a practical model for doing just that, and in particular handling the difficult people stuff you might rather avoid and put off. And it's not a bad model at that.

The book is written in the "American Business Book" style - chatty, with lots of anecdotes - so on first glance feels a bit lightweight. I prefer my knowledge to be well polished and structured, ideally with evidenced research, and in contrast this book comes across as rather haphazard and slapdash. But if you can stand the American style, there's gold in them thar hills.

Susan Scott's model offers a good way to make sure you deal with the things you need to deal with in conversations, and critically shows how you can avoid the collateral damage it's easy to inflict when doing so. That's the real essence of the book - how to navigate through the difficult conversations you need to have. "Fierce Conversations" is perhaps catchier than "A practical way to have the hard conversations without getting into an argument", which is what this is really about. The principles here actually offer ways to avoid dangerously wild, hostile, or vicious behaviour, which "fierce" might suggest. The model Ms Scott presents to do this is a good one. This reflects the wider trend in academic and business thinking about how to get things done - which is to recognise that it's about people, stupid.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Jun. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book offers numerous useful principles that will help anyone become a better conversationalist and a more responsive listener. Read carefully because gems of very valuable content are scattered through the entire book, a sentence here, a quotation there, buried in long, interesting digressions about the author's life, people she's known and clients she's worked with over time. A judicious editor could have made a very sharp and effective pocket book out of this material, which is about managing intense, strong discussions with skill. As it is, you'll have to do some digging, but you'll have a perfectly good time doing it, particularly if you are a fan of New Age mantras and can handle a little touchy-feely vocabulary. We assure you that the lessons you'll learn about conversations - including fierce ones - will stand you in good stead.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 14 Sept. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book I recommend to all my executive coaching clients, and they come back and tell me how useful it is.
How many times have you experienced problems at work because someone isn't getting a message that they need to be told? Whether it's because of fear of that person, or because we are reluctant to 'hurt their feelings', or because we worry that they are so fragile that giving them this essential feedback will send them off the rails, very often we suppress what we want to say.
Susan Scott makes the case for authenticity as the essential characteristic for a healthy workplace and a successful business, and gives useful pointers on how to deliver difficult messages without an accompanying emotional payload.
Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER on 13 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Note: The review that follows is of the Updated with New Material edition (2004). The "User's Guide" (Pages 267-287) has been added.

I read this book when it was first published in 2001 and then re-read it after reading Susan Scott's more recent book, Fierce Leadership. As she uses the term and explains in the first chapter of Fierce Conversations, "fierce" is synonymous with "robust, intense, strong, powerful, passionate, eager, unbridled, uncurbed, and untamed."

At work and in our personal lives, we engage in conversations (or at least have interactions) dozens of times each day. The challenge for us is two-fold: to always be truthful, and, to require others always to be truthful. Scott describes this as a shared, reciprocal "interrogation of reality" and suggests that it be guided and informed by seven principles. (She devotes a separate chapter to each.) As she correctly points out, most people prefer that others be completely truthful. In fact, that is a prerequisite for establishing and then sustaining trust. However, for various reasons, most people find it very difficult to be completely truthful. My own experience suggests that, more often than not, people are selectively truthful or evasive rather than dishonest. I am also convinced that, in face-to-face encounters, 75-80% of the impact is the result of body language and tone-of-voice, with only 20-25% the result of what is actually said. As Scott correctly suggests, it requires courage to develop and then strengthen a "fierce" mindset, one with strict accountability to ensure that whatever (and however) one communicates, the "message" (whether initiated or responsive) is honest. It must also be sufficient as well as relevant, given the situation.
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