Top critical review
27 people found this helpful
weak introduction to a strong technique
on 6 April 2009
As a couple with seemingly chronic communication problems, my partner and I were keen to get our hands on anything that would really help us, and in fact, this little book has helped us to an extent. For those not familiar with Non-violent Communication (NVC), it is a technique for dealing with potentially hurtful interpersonal situations in a positive way through awareness of feelings and unmet needs. The book communicates the essence of NVC quite clearly. We were already starting to apply it when only a few pages into the book, with surprisingly positive results. The book includes a sort of reference page at the back, which is useful enough for warring couples to copy, laminate put up in their kitchens.
There are one or two drawbacks with the book, though. First of all, the content did not originally take the form of a book, but of a seminar with Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of the movement. The text is simply a transcription of dialogue. Unfortunately though, Rosenburg often plays several roles simultaneously - himself, a bad-tempered boyfriend, a positive voice in the bad-tempered boyfriend's head - which doesn't make for easy reading, and particularly not for easy reading TO SOMEONE ELSE, which many of the couples who buy this book may have in mind.
Secondly, although the book does make several concessions to NVC newcomers, it still has rather an insider feel, with undefined NVC phrases and concepts mentioned in passing every few pages.
To sum up, NVC is clearly a powerful technique which can really help couples. This book seems to be aimed at couples, and many of the anecdotes relate to couples, but perhaps couples would be better advised to go for Rosenberg's "Non-Violent Communication, A language of Life".