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Being Genuine: Stop Being Nice, Start Being Real Paperback – May 28 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Puddledancer Press; 1 edition (May 28 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892005212
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892005212
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #123,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Thomas d'Ansembourg is a former lawyer and legal advisor who now helps at-risk youth.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I selected this book based on the comments found on Amazon and found that it was true. This is a really good book to help oneself to be oneself.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A thought-proving read for all of us who want to be genuine with ourselves as well as others....a testimonial to non-violent communication.
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Very good book. Glad I bought it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa18c1528) out of 5 stars 25 reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ff94a08) out of 5 stars NVC plus reality! June 12 2008
By Seven Kitties - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication. I enjoyed Rosenberg, but said, hey, if I started talking like this people will think I've lost my mind. And, to be honest, Rosenberg does spend a bit too much time painting himself as super-facilitator-to-breakthrough in his book. D'Ansembourg falls into this trap himself in recreating conversations (one point, the person he's speaking to does not respond, and the text reads 'obviously moved'), but nowhere near as often.

So, the big question is: is this NVC all over again, just translated from French? Yes, and no. D'Ansembourg is a big believer in NVC, but his approach is a bit more pragmatic. Instead of talking out all of the steps of NVC, D'Ansembourg recommends thinking them through both for yourself and the other person. He also goes into the finer points of creating reasonable requests, the fact that people sometimes just need recognition (to be *heard*) more than anything else, and how 'being nice' backfires both in one's relationships and in one's head. It builds off of Rosenberg's work, and adds a level of social consciousness and personal responsibility that Rosenberg touched on. D'Ansembourg goes into detail. He's obviously committed to this program, and offers his own insights and experiences with NVC. It's a deep book that bears re-reading, or at least re-browsing.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd do what I did: Rosenberg, and then this. It's the next step in turning one's communication skills from getting what one wants (peace, security) to giving what the world needs. A lovely book.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa01af750) out of 5 stars The best book I've read all year Feb. 4 2009
By Bradley Foster - Published on
Format: Paperback
Being Genuine is simply stated, one of the best books I have read all year. It very clearly and effectively conveys a process for communicating with others in a genuine and non-judgmental way. Thomas D'Ansembourg is a student of Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication Process but rather than simply restating Rosenberg's principles, he enhances and adds a new dimension to non-violent communication based on his experience as a psychotherapist and youth counselor. Anyone who learns and practices his four simple steps will quickly discover that their everyday communication becomes clearer, less judgmental and less conflictual because they are taking responsibility for their feelings and actions and creating a space to connect. I have never come across an easier way to show people how they can get their needs met without fear of conflict.

Originally published in France in 2001, the English translation has only recently been published in North America. As D'Ansembourg cares deeply about the language he uses, the book is beautifully and elegantly written, a joy to read with a terrific translation. He wears several hats at appropriate times in the book. As a psychotherapist he delves into the psychology of why and how we become disassociated from ourselves. Being nice is a function of neglecting our needs, of not listening to ourselves so we can fulfill the needs of others. As a philosopher, D'Ansembourg examine larger theoretical issues of the individual in society and the meaning and value we place on language. As a coach, he is gentle and thoughtful but persistent as he guides us through our confusion and anxiety with practical, easy to follow steps and appropriate actions.

As one who reads a lot of self help books (and contributed to the genre) I am happy to say that this book is a cut above the rest. The principles he outlines are so basic and so crucial to good communication, every child should be taught them at an early age. He makes the point that if a fraction of military budgets were devoted to teaching communication skills, there would be fewer conflicts and less crimes of aggression. So go our priorities. The basic problem is more of us are taught to `be nice' rather than to be genuine. The result is that we grow up servicing the needs of others and even when we know something is wrong, we lack the language and the skills to be our authentic selves. As a coach I see this "servicing" behavior all too often. Having a resource like Being Genuine makes my task of transforming clients easier.

I can best describe Being Genuine as a highly readable manual of authentic communication, full of examples, theory and genuine warmth. D'Ansembourg describes the four steps:

Observation: We are reacting to something we observe, we hear, or we're saying to ourselves

Feeling: The above observation generates within us one or more feelings.

Need: The feelings guide us to our needs.

Request: Aware now of our needs, we can make a request or implement concrete action.

That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. The trick for the learner of being genuine is to break free of old beliefs and patterns but this can be done with a bit of awareness and some practice. D'Ansembourg believes that what passes today for communication is aggressive and violent. For instance when judgments and blame come up, it's like slamming a door in the conversation. The receiver of this treatment usually responds defensively and often returns the blame and aggression. His method of communication is like opening a door and inviting your partner through it to come in and have a chat by the fire. But rather than waiting on them hand and foot, it's about articulating your needs and feelings to help ensure that you get seen by the other. If their needs are not the same as yours then a compromise can be negotiated, but this is only possible when each side is aware of each other's needs.

Although his respectful techniques may be a bit too touchy-feely for the office bully, the spirit of his teaching can easily be adapted and integrated into a clearer awareness of how humans communicate or more likely, fail to communicate. I have integrated D'Ansembourg's simple and effective techniques into my coaching with great success, especially for clients who have spent too much of their lives being nice at their own expense. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn how to communicate authentically or to any professional who is in the business of working with clients who can use a boost in the communication area, which in my experience is just about everyone.

Bradley Foster is an experienced Toronto-based life and executive coach with clients on three continents. He is the author of Deep Coaching: A Guide to Self Directed Living and regularly contributes articles and reviews to magazines and journals. He can be reached at [...] or you can visit his website at: [...].
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe675b8) out of 5 stars Stop being nice, start being real....yes for real April 10 2011
By Caufrier Frederic - Published on
Format: Paperback
When applying empathy in our communication we have 3 options:
- Listen to others with empathy
- Speak to others with empathy
- Self-empathy

This book starts with the self-empathy stand and explores from that angle the empathic (nonviolent) communication towards others (by listening and by speaking).

Thomas D'Ansembourg does an excellent job here to go beyond the "it-looks-good-on-paper-so-it-must-be-good" phase and explores and suggests ways to ingrate this method in our daily thinking, relationships, business and social context.

Empathic communication or nonviolent communication (NVC) is the opposite of the judgmental style of communication. And this judgmental communication style is something most of us have been brought up with and use in (work) relationships. The main issue with this judgmental style of communication is that it results in a loss of connection (within us or with others) and therefore results in a loss of authenticity.

The NVC communication model based on 4 steps gets covered in detail (Ref Marshall B. Rosenberg):
- To observe, without judgment, analysis or evaluation
- To express feelings following up on this observation
- To express the needs connected with these feelings
- Making a request (towards ourselves or towards the other person) such these needs can be met within reason

The nice element of this book is also the focus on authenticity itself and the (self-empathic) way of getting a more authentic person, therefore the subtitle "stop being nice, start being real". It is in part autobiographic as Thomas describes his own experiences in becoming more real and this through honest and "real" communication towards himself and others.

Highly recommended!

Related suggestions:
- Words that work in business, a practical guide to effective communication in the workplace (Ike Lasater)
- Non violent communication, a language of life (Marschall B. Rosenberg)

Preface - Moving from being nice to being genuine
1 - Why we are alienated from ourselves?
2 - Becoming aware of what we are truly experiencing.
3 - Becoming aware of what others are truly experiencing.
4 - Creating a space to connect.
5 - Emotional security and meaning: Two keys to peace.
6 - Sharing information and our values.
7 - Method
Epilogue - Cultivating pease
How to use the NVC process
Some basic feelings and needs we all have
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fcf2738) out of 5 stars I have read it twice and gifted it to many ... Jan. 7 2015
By Rand Whitney - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read it twice and gifted it to many. If you find you are having, or seem to regularly have, discord with other people you may have your life changed by this book. Founded on the principles of "Non-violent Communication" or NVC* it goes into effective detail about how to cure more than half of your interpersonal issues.
But don't go into it believing it will magically change everything, it requires some effort on your part - as does anything worth accomplishing. As the old joke goes: "it only takes one psychologist to change a lightbulb, but the lightbulb has to really want to change"

*I much prefer the later label of "Compassionate Communication".
HASH(0x9fcef870) out of 5 stars beautiful and deep April 18 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an engagingly readable book where the author speaks of his own experience and why he turned to using nonviolent communication in all his life situations. I so enjoy reading his dialogues with his family and other people. If you are familiar with Marshall B. Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication, you may still find this book and author worth your while. I especially enjoy his varied experiences and how the power of empathic connecting can be so healing.