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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2009
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
on 1 July 2010
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
on 16 October 2013
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
on 21 July 2001
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
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2014
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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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2001
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2010
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. The straight talking evidence based review of two contrasting stereotypes of conversation method works really well. Combined with the Harvard connection the book becomes easy to recommend even to those less inclined to read personal development books. I usually show the table on pages 18 and 19 (search for "battle of message" with look inside) to have people get a enough of a quick sense of what the whole book is about that it's clear if they'd want to read it or not.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 1999
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2011
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. Some of the points could be described as 'common sense' but it's enormously helpful to have them put into words, and backed up by examples. Other parts of the book will mean looking at yourself in a different and more positive way. The emphasis away from 'I'm right, you're wrong' is well explained. I've now recommended this to other people, all of whom have found it valuable and I'm about to give a copy to a friend as a present.
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