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Taking The War Out Of Our Words (2009 Edition) Paperback – 1 Jan 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing; 4th edition (1 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982051824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982051825
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 703,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must have for anyone who may be having communication problems in their relationship. It is easy to understand and provides advice on how to communicate non defensively and build more trust in your relationship. Especially good for people who lose their temper and get into arguments easily. It has really taught me a lot about why this may happen and how its normally down to self protection. I'd highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book on helping us all have better relationships with family and work colleagues. Working through these lessons and guidance can make significant changes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews
59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A radical, life-changing, world-changing paragigm and method - Awesome! 9 Feb. 2009
By Eileen Hale - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For anyone who wants to learn to talk to others (and themselves, as well!) in a more open, more relaxed, less defensive way, in a way that makes it easier for people to speak openly to each other, I find Sharon Ellison's book a very clear, complete, powerful and effective paradigm and method for a better model of communication than the one we've all learned and grown up with. I find her book very well written - grounded, balanced, clear and enjoyable. I also highly recommend her CD sets, since voice tone is an important aspect of distinguishing defensive and non-defensive communication. (You can find them on her website, at pndc.com.)

For anyone who has tried out Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication before finding this book, I'd like to say that while I have found some value in his lists of feelings and some of his exercises, I respond to some of his dialogue (his own NVC words, not just others' untrained dialogue) as if there is judgement hidden within it, and I find his methods rather cumbersome and incomplete.

Taking the War Out of Our Words gives me a very different, very positive experience. In the presence of Ellison's writing - explanation, description, exercises, examples, and so on - I find myself relaxing, and feeling safe even while I confront and acknowledge the ways in which I myself act defensively. Her book is very rich in detailed examples, and alive with individual voices. (It also has a wonderful index to the examples, so you can follow them from one part of the book to another.) I find encouragement and acceptance, as well as simple, clear steps I can immediately begin to apply to the way I say things. It has been my experience that these small changes often make a rapid difference.

Ellison's process speaks much more strongly to me than Rosenberg's, and I find it more gentle as well as clearer. I believe that her framework is simultaneously both more radical and simpler than Marshall Rosenberg's. To me, Rosenberg's system nibbles at the edges of our difficulties in communicating with each other, where Sharon Ellison's sweeps the rubble out of the center and starts rebuilding the structures of our communication, but in a way that makes an intuitive kind of sense.

Ellison examines and identifies the fundamental structures of our languages (not only English, but many other languages as well) which, it seems, almost inevitably cause defensiveness between us, even when we don't mean them to. I find her tools profoundly practical and useful, and I find it easy to begin applying them; and even though the process of becoming significantly less defensive is a long one, and not very easy, the encouraging experience of little successes, here and there, helps keep me going. It also seems to me that achieving the very smallest changes, working with everyday issues, is in the end what creates the deepest shift.

For anyone who has previously tried Rosenberg's program, and possibly experienced difficulty in applying it, I would urge you not to give up on the hope of learning a more peaceable and open way of communication, but to have a look at Ellison's book and see if you find it more helpful. I love it, and recommend it highly.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I was looking for! empowering book for me. 10 Jun. 2011
By Laura E. Riggs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I love this book. It provided me with REAL steps and techniques for how to change the way I had been reacting and responding to others. It also gave me a very effective and simple technique for setting my boundaries and limits. I have known for a while that this was a problem I had, but I did actually know how to do it. I felt like everywhere I turned I was getting feedback from the world that my lack of boundaries were holding me back. I knew it, but I had no idea how to change that fact. By learning and practicing the techniques in this book I feel SOO much more confident holding my own voice in a conversation. It has taken away the fear that I always felt which was to often avoid the argument, go in with guns a blazing, or beg, cry, plead, for the other to see my side of the position. All this is part of being defensive, and I am so glad to finally learn techniques to communicate in a new and exciting way. It is to say the least, empowering.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent communicating - finally! 14 Feb. 2011
By redsprings - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WIthout doubt the best book I have read on why we talk the way we do and how to change it and the outcomes you get. It makes brilliant logical sense that we are taught sometimes and in some families to come from a defensive standpoint. What if you don't? What if that is all you know? This book will teach you to change it and to stop the negativity that is defensive communication. It will help you stop trying to convine everyone that your opinion is right and they should think like you! Brilliant, can't rave enough. Wish I knew this from a young child. We are such a product of our environment and you don't know what you don't know, until you read a perfection description of yourself and your behaviour in a book - and then make the connection.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Advanced boundaries and assertiveness 7 Aug. 2011
By Avid Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have read a lot about boundaries and assertiveness (Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, Verbal Self Defense) and this book goes beyond. It introduces the concept of non-defensive communication, using the question, the statement, and the prediction. But it is much more complex than those three words. There are types of questions, specific ways to make statements, and ways to design an effective prediction, all of which require normal vocal tones.

In this book, the author goes into depth about why defensive statements don't work, why these work, and then has a chapter on each one for formats for making them. Repeatedly through the book she tells us what she's going to say, tells us, and then summarizes it. There are many examples, including relationships, unclean housemates, and supervisors that don't listen to us, to help one learn how to do this.

Like others have said, I'll have to read it several times. I regret that I had the book for two years (won it at a Toastmasters event) before I read it. I wish there were some local group of people where I could practice the teachings of this book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly is a unique self-help book 17 Dec. 2012
By youcantryreachingme - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Taking The War Out Of Our Words" stands apart from a large majority of other self help books.

At the heart of its message is the notion that much of our communication is rooted in self defensiveness. Without judging or condemning the reasons for this, Ellison demonstrates how this foundation for any kind of relationship is fraught with risk and unlikely to lead to individuals or relationships flourishing. In contrast, a model for "powerful non-defensive communication" (PNDC) is described at length and in detail.

Where other books may give the appearance of providing guidance - for example, through suggesting one may need to "restore a relationship" or "set a boundary" - they are really just describing broad goals for desired outcomes. In contrast, "Taking The War Out Of Our Words" excels in describing *how* to achieve these goals and *why* some approaches are more constructive than others.

This distinction alone makes the book worth reading. Yet even beyond this the book implicitly speaks to such many and varied topics of interest as boundary setting, codependency, dating, aggression and violence, addiction, same sex relationships, parenting, the workplace and bullying. This is because "Taking The War Out Of Our Words" goes to the heart of relational issues by examining the mechanics of communication itself, together with the motives, heart and attitudes underlying our communication.

"Taking The War Out Of Our Words" truly is a unique book - a powerful, hands-on reference guide that gives you clear, practical steps which encourage you toward healthier perspectives, attitudes, communication styles and relationships.
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