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on 14 September 1999
To read this book is to have the experience of realising the obvious truth that you have ignored for so long. It is precise and powerful with a beautiful simplicity.
Nancy Kline has spent fifteen years developing the Thinking Environment™, a model of human behaviour that dramatically improves the way people think, work and live.
The book starts with the simple assumption that everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first and that our thinking depends on the quality of our attention for each other.
The opening section builds on this assertion by setting out ten components of the Thinking Environment™. If you do not read beyond these, you will have had a stimulating exposition of how we can be more effective listeners. But this isn't just another book about how to listen. It is a book about how to give people attention and help them to think, really think, creatively, powerfully and beautifully.
The second section shows how the ten components of the Thinking Environment™ can be applied in a variety of work and personal settings to enable others to think effectively for themselves. The simple assertion is made that, 'The brain that contains the problem probably also contains the solution,' and we are shown how we can help that person seek out the solution.
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the book is the approach to breaking down negative assumptions that people hold. These assumptions act as barriers to being able to think, and Nancy shows us the power of asking Incisive Questions to shatter those assumptions and free us up to think again.
Nancy also proposes some radical changes to traditional work and societal ethics. The removal of competition from the workplace is one such change. To quote the author directly, 'To compete does not ensure certain excellence. It just ensures comparative success.' Furthermore, she urges us to 'Focus on finding a good idea, not on winning' when we engage is conversation and discussion with others.
Simple, challenging and powerful, I can't wait to put the principles of the Thinking Environment™ into practice. I can't wait to see the difference it makes in others and in my relationships with them.
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on 20 March 2016
One of the most pleasant uses of language is giving a compliment. Yet many people are incapable of taking compliments. Tell them they look nice – and their hands will almost literally brush away the compliment. Nancy Kline offers great insight into this phenomenon in Time to Think: Listening to ignite the human mind.

In exploring why it is that so few people express appreciation for one another directly, Kline discovered that the problem lies partly with the people being appreciated. They do such a lousy job of receiving. Many people are taught that to be appreciated is the slippery slope of gross immodesty and out-of-control egomania. It’s as if when you hear something nice about yourself and don’t reject it instantly, you will become an egotistical monster.

This is ridiculous, says Kline. Being appreciated increases your intelligence. It helps you to think better. So don’t counter a compliment by uttering a shuffly, hissing ‘humph’ that is intended to be modesty, but is actually saying: ‘I’ve been told I’ll get ego inflation if I don’t dismiss compliments like that. And anyway, someone else any second is going to insult me so I might as well insult myself before they get a chance.’ Those dismissive responses actually insult the person who paid you the compliment. And insults are a thinking inhibitor. Just say thank you.

Kline is also very good on listening (or lack of.) How often do you find yourself finishing someone else’s sentences? How often do you rush to fill in the pauses with your own stories? How often do you look at your watch, sigh, frown, yawn or tap your fingers while someone is talking to you? How often do you read a newspaper, read a report or look at your computer screen when someone is talking to you? How often do you give unsolicited advice?

If you’re like me, the answer is probably “too often” – which is why I was drawn to Kline’s analysis of the art of interrupting. She claims that we interrupt because we think we already know what the other person is going to say, and in any case, why should they finish their idea when ours is so much better? We interrupt because we assess that there is nothing in the other person’s idea that can be positively developed. We interrupt because we feel we are more important than they are. We interrupt because it is more important that we are seen to have a good idea than it is for them to complete their idea.
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on 5 May 2014
Having spent a couple of decades working with teams on strategy and strategic thinking,
I know that the value of thinking and listening is significant. A friend of mine who is a coach,
recommended that I take a look at what Nancy Kline has to say on listening. This book is a
treasure and certainly one to go back to repeatedly.

I liked the way the writer first stated the process that she and her team developed over time,
with many clients. Refining and improving what became a ‘Thinking Environment.’ The book is
thoughtfully and logically constructed, with countless gems of advice and sufficient underlying
logic and anecdotes to make the implementation of the process believable and understandable.
I like the way the Thinking Environment is explained to be applicable in a variety of circumstances.
Making it a means to use anywhere and any time. With toddlers, teenagers, boardrooms and in
parliaments, all.

Quite simply the book shows how to unlock assumptions that hamper our decisions and activities.
This listening process helps to change our behaviour and consequently our results. Everyone is
able to learn this practical model. Some of the steps involve: Listening without interruption and
judgement, Allowing the Thinker to release all their ideas, Checking what the Thinker would like
to achieve, Identifying assumptions with questions and then writing down the Incisive ones. The
value of positive reinforcement is explained well and should convince even the cynics amongst us.
I don’t wish to tell any of the writers story as this could best be known from reading the narrative
ourselves. That said, I do feel that people in the services industry, particularly consultants, would
benefit from this book as it embodies a tried and tested process.

The Listener leverage's off the Thinkers ability to think for themselves. A simple concept,
but not easy to master relentlessly. Life throws us many challenges and many relationships
and there is no doubt in my mind that this book would enhance many aspects of our respective
lives. I am grateful that my friend introduced me to this book as I intend to start paying attention
to my listening and thinking skills because of it. I confess that I enjoyed the book so much that I
hardly put it down from beginning to end.

While I do understand the value in repeating the application of the principles on various
circumstances, I did on a couple of occasions feel that there some unnecessary repetition.
This is a minor criticism and did not detract in any way from the value of the content.

Could a Thinking Environment change the way we do things and improve our world? Starting
with our families, moving onto friends, firms and the future - certainly. I hope many more join
this credible thinker in improving our legacy. I liked this book and recommend it to anyone who
wants to save time, improve relationships and get better results.
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on 6 August 2005
A colleague introduced me to Nancy Kline'book and I have used it many times as a reference for planning meetings; presentations and marketing.
The way the sections and chapters of the book is laid out is easy on the eyes and mind. Sensible relevant titles to each chapter with personal anecdotes; thoughts etc that help you retain the information for future use.
As you recall your own frustrations about people who managed/supervised your work - you find encouragement in the form of well fomatted - bullet point text. It presented me with guidance that has radically altered the relationship I have with people at home and at work.
I use her book as a reference when I am planning meetings; Presentations; projects etc
Unusually I have re-read the introduction on several occasions - it is so interesting and informative.
A colleague introduced me to this book and I have not looked back.
I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who thinks they listen to others and can't understand why every day they face problems in the workplace and at home.
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on 19 April 2004
After having read Time To Think I couldn't wait to experiment it.
I tried to have a Thinking Session with my husband following the book's instructions. We didn't get the results we expected so I emailed to Time To Think Inc. asking for a consultant to do a Thinking Session. We did it and it was a deep experience for me.
I felt deeply heard first time in my life; time didn't existed while I was talking/thinking about my problem. Anne - the consultant- asked me the Incisive Question and in that moment my thinking was so deep I could heard my answer coming out from my body and I knew with no doubt it was the right answer/solution for me in this moment of my life.
Even it may sound silly I have to say that, because I found my own answer to my dificult problem, I feel more confidence.
Before this experience I thought the sessións where expensive.I was not sure if would work for me but after have seen the results I feel grateful to Nancy and her team. The Thinking Sessions really work.
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on 8 October 2000
This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in personal development, relationships or group dynamics. After I read it I went out and found myself a thinking partner who I now meet with once a week on the phone. This has proved to be an incredibly productive commitment for both of us. If you try the methods Nancy Kline recommends you will be amazed both at your own thinking and other people's!
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on 24 April 2002
Time to think enables leaders and managers to create an environment within which people can feel valued. I have worked with the material in this book for two years now and particularly I have used it to change meetings cultures, and for the power of the Thinking Partnership. The partnership work has brought out the most amazing transformations in peoples lives as a result of them being able to move past blocks to thinking and take control of their destiny. I had the great pleasure of working with Nancy Kline for a couple of days. If you knew the author you would understand immediately why the book contains the wisdom that can transform your workplace, or indeed your home. I have very much appreciated the things that the book has been able to help me to progress. In passing on the methodologies within it, it is possible to change work place profiles. Do not be fooled by its simplicity the outcomes can be amazing.
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on 16 June 2003
Am STILL reading Time to Think (a loan copy) but just had to buy it before I finished it! A refreshing read for everyone interested in better thinking and effective use of time (shouldn't that be all of us?). I like the way Nancy has adopted many of the Appreciative Inquiry concepts into her writing, and has loads of good 'one-liners' and questions one can use to promote her work and ideas.
Other reviews have covered the content well, so I just wanted to say that I've made loads of connections with other interests of mine - coaching, mentoring, running meetings, creativity, NLP, leadership, time management, diversity, etc. etc. Enjoy.
Peter
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on 26 February 2000
I have previously read Nancy Kline's "Women and Power" which I enjoyed very much. I was intrigued to see how Nancy had progressed her thinking on listening and also to discover just how powerful listening can be in helping others.
I've practiced the technique Nancy describes in her book, and I've tried teaching some of it to others in my workplace. The results are very interesting. I've had so many "thank yous" from people - for giving them the space to speak and think whilst I'm listening to them. I've also realised just how much I appreciate others listening to me in a way that allows me to think. I'm just about to buy a few more copies to give to my friends and colleagues! I highly recommend this book as an inspiring read.
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VINE VOICEon 9 March 2010
The author preaches the simplicity of the ideas in this book. I agree. The ideas are sensible, valuable and simple. My criticism is that the essence of the book could be summarised in about 25 pages - NOT 250. The book seems to me to very 'thin' on substance. Other coaching books cover this subject matter in one chapter which, I believe, is what it merits. I really don't understand the hype around this book - there are much better texts with far more substance and, dare I say, less ego - a hint of 'Emperor's new clothes"?
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