Review: Crucial Conversations

Months ago I shared my difficulties with leading others and sharing opinions effectively with Josh Little from Bloomfire. He recommended I pick up the book Crucial Conversations and even mentioned he has had to re-read it many times over the years. It was the first book I finished on my vacation, and I am very grateful for his recommendation.

After the first few pages, I was initially put off by the number of buzzwords and new vocabulary (e.g. "shared pool of meaning"). I often get turned off with authors who would rather invent vague terminology than give clear meaning. However despite the capitalization, I felt the book provided great insight.

Some especially key take-aways for me were:

  1. Reaffirmation to first improve myself especially since it's much easier than trying to change others.
  2. The differences between content and context. I certainly get bogged down with specifically what someone says rather than thinking about their frame of mind. Or what they're not saying and merely hinting at.
  3. Highlighting the connection between open dialogue and a safe environment, with steps on helping set the context in a safe way.
  4. The differences between apologizing vs contrasting, and when apologizing is and isn't appropriate. This book helped me realize that I've used apologizing as a social crutch rather than expressing regret over a transgression.
  5. I liked the authors opinion on attitude, and how someone else doesn't change your attitude, you ultimately control your attitude and your actions that result from it.
  6. I think the authors did a great job emphasizing the scenarios of how conversations could be handled better. They didn't just throw out their points for their readers to interpret alone.

And for my biggest take-away: I appreciated that the book focused more on positive, open-minded dialogue and not subversive techniques to manipulate someone else. The points in the book were meant for the contentious and not for the silver-tongued. That just feels right to me.

So along with Josh, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I feel it can help bridge communication break downs between couples and peers alike.