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Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High Paperback – 1 Jul 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Contemporary; Later Printing edition (1 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071401946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071401944
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Offers an approach to handle difficult conversations with confidence and
skill
-- Financial Times, September 2006

The book helps you talk honestly to anyone about anything, resolve the
problem and build relationships at the same time.
-- Edge, September 2006

From the Back Cover

"Most books make promises. This one delivers. These skills have . . . generated new techniques for working together in ways that enabled us to win the largest contract in our industry's history."
--Dain M. Hancock, President, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Learn how to keep your cool and get what you want when emotions flare.

When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the consequences; or read Crucial Conversations and discover how to communicate best when it matters most. This wise and witty guide gives you the tools you need to step up to life's most difficult and important conversations, say what's on your mind, and achieve positive outcomes that will amaze you. You'll learn how to:

  • Prepare for high-impact situations with a six-minute mastery technique
  • Make it safe to talk about almost anything
  • Be persuasive, not abrasive
  • Keep listening when others blow up or clam up
  • Turn crucial conversations into the action and results you want

Whether they take place at work or at home, with your neighbors or your spouse, crucial conversations can have a profound impact on your career, your happiness, and your future. With the skills you learn in this book, you'll never have to worry about the outcome of a crucial conversation again.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am still around chapter 8, but I find it extremely useful and I wanted to second others' recommendations for checking out this book. I never thought that I was an expert on conversations, but I had the impression about myself that I was at least "ok". So, I didn't experience it as an enjoyable reading (especially at first), because it reminded me of so many crucial conversations in my life where I did all the wrong things, injured relationships, and got exactly the opposite results of what I intended out of a conversation or for not having the conversation at all. So it was more of an emotionally painful but sobering reading, and with some hope at the end of the tunnel, as I continue to read. If nothing else, I am now more aware than before that my skills in this area are certainly in need for improvement.

And the authors' entire premise and set of techniques are described very simply and clearly, without all the heavy wordiness and theorizing that social scientists usually use in their books. It's very practical, short sweet and to the point, which I personally appreciate very much. I understood better through this little book what Kaheman tried to bring across in his large book "Thinking Fast and Slow" regarding the interaction of System 1 and System 2, even if the authors did not use these terms at all.

I am not promising that we won't be struggling with improving our crucial conversations for as long as we live even after reading the book, but even if we are able to remember even a couple of the tips and implement them during our next high-stakes conversation, it might make a big difference to an important relationship in our lives. And there lies my hope.
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Format: Paperback
The best part of it is that it really helps, it doesn't read like your classic self-help book either. The analysis comes off as scientific and intelligent, not your average "I think it's like this" book. The downside is that it also gets a bit boring and lengthy at points - once you've gotten the point it often continues five more pages. Some points in the book I found hard to apply, but around 80% of the advice is directly applicable. It is full of examples - but they are served exactly the same way everytime : short and heavy handed. I'd rather see some more real-life examples with all the subleties we use in our language.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
What is a crucial conversation?
According to the authors, opinions vary, the stakes are high, and emotions run strong. This can involve ending a relationship, asking a friend to repay a loan, giving the boss feedback about bad behavior, critiquing a colleague's work, or giving an unfavorable performance review.
You have three choices about such conversations. You can avoid the conversations, face them poorly, or face them well.
This book focuses on the last, providing practical advice about how to keep your own cool while encouraging everyone else to do she same. You can save a lot of time in reading and understanding the book if you look at figures 10-1 through 10-4 beginning on page 182 before you get very far. It's a helpful overview of the authors' point of view.
The book's strengths come in the authors' sympathy with those who have trouble holding such conversations, the many examples and advice on how to deal with difficult situations.
The book's main weakness comes in a desire to encapsulate the key lessons into ACRONYMS like STATE and ABCs. While they are nifty acronyms, I couldn't remember what they stood for by the next page. Something more visual at each stage would have helped me out.
I also think that the book would have benefited from more advice on how to be empathic with the other people involved.
But if you normally handle such situations by running the other way, screaming or slamming the door, this book will help you develop much more constructive habits that will leave you feeling better about yourself.
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Format: Paperback
This book was recommended by someone who told me it was lifechanging, an opinion which could be bolstered if one believes the jacket blurb. I was disappointed. Having read similar books and attended a few courses of the popular psychology type, I didn't find this book particularly novel. Much of the advice could be summarised by saying 'listen to the other person', or else it gives common sense advice like 'don't get angry' or 'think before you speak'. Yes the book does have interesting nuggets of advice and it does suggest approaches which some people may find useful. All I can say is that it didn't do much for me.

The two most important things about this book are its extremely American tone and its emphasis on the business environment. My criticisms of the authors are perhaps as much a criticism of American culture as they are of the authors themselves. The amount of aggravation, competitiveness, unhappiness, frustration, even nastiness, reflected in these pages is surely not healthy. It is as if the backchat, argumentation and oneupmanship reflected in certain American films reflects actual reality. In a British context, it is as if we all act like television 'East Enders' characters.

The whole environment represented in this book is difficult for me to immerse myself in and I don't want to. In any case I suggest that the book may be of more use to people with problems in a business environment than to those who have communication problems in their personal lives. For such people I expect there are better books.
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