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Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most Paperback – 3 Nov 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (3 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670921343
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670921348
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

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


Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By - on 29 Jan. 2009
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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