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Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time Paperback – Jan 6 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (Jan. 6 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425193373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425193372
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Susan Scott believes that interpersonal difficulties--at work and at home--are a direct result of our inability to communicate well. Fierce Conversations is based on principles from her international consulting practice, in which she teaches executives how to conduct such exchanges more dynamically and ultimately more effectively, thereby improving the relationships they enjoy with their various dialogue partners "one conversation at a time." Using identifiable anecdotes from her experience to inspire and inform, along with a series of practical exercises designed to impart the requisite skills, Scott walks readers through the individual steps she's developed to build better associations through more robust and honest discourses. Addressing all aspects of the process, from several methods for listening more attentively to specific ways she's fashioned to confront and resolve issues "that stand between you and success," Scott offers the type of concrete advice and confidence-building counsel that should help even the most reticent improve their communication skills dramatically. --Howard Rothman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

An offshoot of Scott's international consulting firm, Fierce Conversations Inc., this book lasts as long as a Monday morning shuttle. Yet its thesis, that relationships both professional and personal hinge on how conversations go, and that the best conversations require determinedly gentle honesty and a willingness to listen, lingers long enough to make an impact. "It takes a certain fearlessness to make your private thoughts public. But if what you're thinking makes you squirm and wish to wriggle away, you are probably onto something," she says. On the book's Web site, a streaming-video talk feels fake and rehearsed. But Scott's written words contain substance and, as an author, she's levelheaded and funny. She quotes a wide variety of writers, from Ernest Hemingway to Maya Angelou to Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and clearly explains her key concepts, including "obey your instincts" and "let silence do the heavy lifting." Careerist marketing ploy it may be, but this cleanly written, if cliche-laden, book boasts enough psychological sensitivity to merit success. Those whose conversations with co-workers or family members aren't producing the results they want will find plenty of helpful tools and assignments in this succinct guide.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most breakdowns in life have some connection to conversations -- conversations not had, conversations that go poorly, or conversations not yet even imagined. There are a number of good books on conversations and this is one of them.
I tend to refer my coaching clients to "Fierce Conversations" when they are having trouble getting motivated and avoid a lot of uncomfortable conversations (compared to recommending other books for those who botch difficult conversations).
Susan's section on "stump speeches" is good for gaining clarity on personal vision (i.e., where are you going, why, who is going with you, and how will you get there?).
Once clear on "where you are going," it's time to start noticing and speaking about what "you're pretending not to know" (otherwise known as breakdowns -- yours or others).
Although "Fierce Conversations" doesn't cover the underlying emotions like "Difficult Conversations" or "Nonviolent Communications" do, or the styles under stress (silence or violence) as "Crucial Conversations" does, it does have some good discussion on "interrogating reality" (with an emphasis on questions and remaining curious) and identifying your own role in conversational breakdowns.
Fierce, difficult, crucial, nonviolent -- whatever you call these conversations, they're at the core of all meaningful relationships. I can definitely recommend "Fierce Conversations" to the mix of books on skillful conversations.
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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 13 2010
Format: Paperback
Note: The review that follows is of the Updated with New Material edition (2004). The "User's Guide" (Pages 267-287) has been added.

I read this book when it was first published in 2001 and then re-read it after reading Susan Scott's more recent book, Fierce Leadership. As she uses the term and explains in the first chapter of Fierce Conversations, "fierce" is synonymous with "robust, intense, strong, powerful, passionate, eager, unbridled, uncurbed, and untamed."

At work and in our personal lives, we engage in conversations (or at least have interactions) dozens of times each day. The challenge for us is two-fold: to always be truthful, and, to require others always to be truthful. Scott describes this as a shared, reciprocal "interrogation of reality" and suggests that it be guided and informed by seven principles. (She devotes a separate chapter to each.) As she correctly points out, most people prefer that others be completely truthful. In fact, that is a prerequisite for establishing and then sustaining trust. However, for various reasons, most people find it very difficult to be completely truthful. My own experience suggests that, more often than not, people are selectively truthful or evasive rather than dishonest. I am also convinced that, in face-to-face encounters, 75-80% of the impact is the result of body language and tone-of-voice, with only 20-25% the result of what is actually said. As Scott correctly suggests, it requires courage to develop and then strengthen a "fierce" mindset, one with strict accountability to ensure that whatever (and however) one communicates, the "message" (whether initiated or responsive) is honest. It must also be sufficient as well as relevant, given the situation.
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Format: Hardcover
"Fierce...robust, intense, strong, powerful, passionate, eager" - good words for real relating. Susan Scott puts it into her four purposes of a fierce conversation: interrogate reality, provoke learning, tackle tough challenges, and enrich realtionships. Like most really useful authors, she stresses individual responsibility. There are useful checklists and reviews. "Burnout happens, not because we're trying to solve problems, but because we're trying to solve the same problem over and over." This quote begins the 4th chapter - "Tackle Your Toughest Challenge Today," which has techniques for getting to the core of the difficulty in looking for a solution. It is one of many useful approaches in this book. I will share this book with others as well as continue to learn from it. Like all books of this kind (self help), only putting the ideas into action makes a real difference, however, the perspectives gained from reading are of value in and of themselves. The book is indexed, which I like, although not a great index. Occasionally, I felt the author introduced an idea without quite enough follow-through; still, I found a lot to value. Other books in the same vein that I value are the books from the Harvard Law School Negotiation Project (such as Difficult Conversations, and Getting to Yes), Tongue Fu by Sam Horn, and, to stretch the vein a bit, Everyday Ethics by Joshua Halberstam.
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Format: Hardcover
Fierce Conversation starts with the premise that "the conversation is the relationship" and we must have Fierce (robust) Conversation's in all of our relationships -- business and personal. It is far more encompassing then other recent conversation books on how to have "crucial" or "critical" conversations only.
It's a guidebook on how to make relationships meaningful and successful. It's simplicity of focusing on "one conversation at a time" avoids the pitfall of a relationship deteriorating in Scott's words "slowly then suddenly".
It's a book whose processes I am able to put into action immediately. I can readily see how starting with one conversation at a time will lead to mastery and enrich relationships. The examples are vivid and easy to visualize and remember.
I actually look forward to having Fierce Conversations with my colleagues, customers, employees, and family.
I highly recommend Fierce Conversations.
Philip E. Fine
Chief Executive Officer
Premier Distribution Services, Inc.
Somerset, NJ
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