It is much easier to learn the Krebs cycle than learning how to talk to patients.
This book is a great reference. It helps you structure your approach to different kinds of patient. From the ones, you think, are "great and compliant" patients but you cannot seem to get his/her blood pressure or blood sugars under control; to the ones you want to run away from whenever you see them on your schedule.
The book provides core principles on the the usual clinical scenarios, from obtaining a good history & physical, to providing a diagnosis, to discussing treatment options and following up on the treatment plans.
It also provides very difficult clinical scenarios, like dealing with an angry patient or giving a bad diagnosis, and even giving bad news to a family member.
You can easily master Bates' ;-) Learning how to understand and approach people in real life, clinical situations is not easy. The book provides basic knowledge, concrete tools/techniques to communicate with patients effectively.