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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 31, 2014
Brilliant! I have been looking for ways to improve my interpersonal skills and my communication skills. This book is written well, its an easy read and offers great examples to accompany the text. It also has links to free online resources (videos) but I didn't try them.

If you're looking for a way to make difficult conversations easier to tackle, I'd highly recommend this book. There is room for improvement in everyone.

I gave it one less star than perfect as it gets a bit redundant at times, but this could be a plus for some as repetition makes concepts stick better.
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on June 1, 2015
This is an absolutely fabulous book that everyone should read. Patterson, et al have written a masterpiece that clearly and concisely explains how to master crucial conversations. There are several books on how to handle conversations that are difficult, but none do so in such a concise and easy to consume manner as Crucial Conversations. It's not enough that this book is available for anyone to buy, it should be part of our high-school curriculum - that skills taught in this book are that essential to success in life.
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on April 13, 2015
To survive in this world, we all have to communicate effectively. "Crucial Conversations" is an essential guide to doing just that. I love this book! It's written in a clear, step-by-step manner with great examples and simple exercises. As I read each page, I could clearly remember my past conversations that had gone off the rails, simply because I didn't know how to express myself any better. This book has shown me how to correct those mistakes.

If you want to take the "confrontation" out of your crucial conversations, buy this book - you deserve the gift this information provides!
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on July 12, 2013
I am still around chapter 8, but I find it extremely useful and I wanted to second others' recommendations for checking out this book. I never thought that I was an expert on conversations, but I had the impression about myself that I was at least "ok". So, I didn't experience it as an enjoyable reading (especially at first), because it reminded me of so many crucial conversations in my life where I did all the wrong things, injured relationships, and got exactly the opposite results of what I intended out of a conversation or for not having the conversation at all. So it was more of an emotionally painful but sobering reading, and with some hope at the end of the tunnel, as I continue to read. If nothing else, I am now more aware than before that my skills in this area are certainly in need for improvement.

And the authors' entire premise and set of techniques are described very simply and clearly, without all the heavy wordiness and theorizing that social scientists usually use in their books. It's very practical, short sweet and to the point, which I personally appreciate very much. I understood better through this little book what Kaheman tried to bring across in his large book "Thinking Fast and Slow" regarding the interaction of System 1 and System 2, even if the authors did not use these terms at all.

I am not promising that we won't be struggling with improving our crucial conversations for as long as we live even after reading the book, but even if we are able to remember even a couple of the tips and implement them during our next high-stakes conversation, it might make a big difference to an important relationship in our lives. And there lies my hope.
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on June 6, 2016
This book doesn't really talk too much about the 'how'. Instead, it gives you a lot of examples of how conversations got heated up.

Although the author did give examples about how to have crucial conversations, the amount is actually very small. I find myself flipping through pages trying to find the 'how', but only found numerous embarrassing and awkward situations with no solutions attached.

Not satisfied at all.
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What is a crucial conversation?

According to the authors, opinions vary, the stakes are high, and emotions run strong. This can involve ending a relationship, asking a friend to repay a loan, giving the boss feedback about bad behavior, critiquing a colleague's work, or giving an unfavorable performance review.

You have three choices about such conversations. You can avoid the conversations, face them poorly, or face them well.

This book focuses on the last, providing practical advice about how to keep your own cool while encouraging everyone else to do she same. You can save a lot of time in reading and understanding the book if you look at figures 10-1 through 10-4 beginning on page 182 before you get very far. It's a helpful overview of the authors' point of view.

The book's strengths come in the authors' sympathy with those who have trouble holding such conversations, the many examples and advice on how to deal with difficult situations.

The book's main weakness comes in a desire to encapsulate the key lessons into ACRONYMS like STATE and ABCs. While they are nifty acronyms, I couldn't remember what they stood for by the next page. Something more visual at each stage would have helped me out.

I also think that the book would have benefited from more advice on how to be empathic with the other people involved.

But if you normally handle such situations by running the other way, screaming or slamming the door, this book will help you develop much more constructive habits that will leave you feeling better about yourself.
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on June 11, 2004
I bought this book after I heard Dr. Glickman, the author of Optimal Thinking-How To Be Your Best Self, recommend it during an Optimal Thinking seminar. When I read that Dr. Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, recommended this book too I knew that this was going to be a life-changing book for me. I was right. This book has given me a formula for handling myself and others correctly during tough interactions. I am embarrassed to admit that I sometimes yelled and degraded people when I did not get what I wanted from them. Now I use optimal thinking to put my best self in charge, start with heart, look for safety problems, make it safe, retrace my path, and take the other steps recommended in this book. The steps are simple and clear. I am not perfect at them yet, and might never be, but I have already come a long way. You can't go wrong with this book, so press the "Buy" button right now, and if you want to optimize your effectiveness in all areas of life, buy the other books I mentioned.
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on August 28, 2014
I did not enjoy this book. It went on and on and on about how wonderful the book is and how everyone would benefit from the gems in this book the author never got down to explaining what the gems were. I kept waiting for the information that was promised but it was not at all what I was looking for. One more self help book for the recycle.
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on January 11, 2016
This book is tremendously helpful. This is the book team leaders, coaches, parents and serious partners read and then refer to over and over. Good book. I have the Kindle version. Glad to have it close.
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on August 2, 2009
I ran across this book in the business section of my local bookstore while looking for help in having some difficult conversations with people who I like very much. I noticed that the forward to the book was written by Stephen R. Covey, authour of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which made me more comfortable in reading this.
This book brings interesting insights and easy readability together. Some many years ago, Howard Hughes hired a group of gifted engineers and told them that he wanted them to create a steam-driven car. After working for a number of years on the project they came up with a car which had a large piping system throughout the vehicle so that it could travel long distances. When they presented it to Mr. Hughes, his first question was 'What happens to the passengers if there is an accident?' The answer was that they would be scalded to death. Mr. Hughes had them cut up the prototype into pieces no bigger than three inches across.
We all have trouble starting and maintaining important conversations. Do you think the fault was in Mr. Hughes instructions or in the engineers forgetting that this was to be used by human beings? This intriguing book walks us through good crucial conversations, better crucial conversations and best crucial conversations.
It discusses to all kinds of situations from talking to your teenager to telling the boss something unpleasant about his/her behaviour. There are many actual tools to help you start the conversation, make it safe for everyone involved, ways to actually get a consensus of everyone's opinion and how to use the results to make better, more compatible relations with those concerned.
The reason that these conversations are so difficult is that the human system has been wired for survival. When we are faced with stressful situations we physically pour adrenaline into our systems in the fight or flight response. When that happens adrenaline sends blood and energy to our arms and legs and actually sends less to our brains. Our ability to think rationally is lessened and we don't control ourselves well. Humans tend to either become silent or violent when threatened. Neither of these helps to solve a problem or find a solution.
There are a number of tools to take back the situation so that you can all feel safe and take the time needed to find real solutions which work.
In this mode we also tend to extrapolate a lot of things from very little evidence and then make stories in our heads about the other person's motives. What about the wife who sees a bill on their credit card from the Good Night Motel? Her first thought may be that her husband is having an affair. If she allows herself to become upset and continue this story in her mind then she may be very angry when her husband comes home. The conversation will not be very logical or pleasant and may affect their lives for many years to come. What if the truth is that the same person who owns a Restaurant elsewhere in town also owns the motel and uses the same credit card system for both? That would be a very different situation.
To become a master at talking about the really important things and help you get the things you really want in life, this book is a must read. Prepare for high-stakes situations and transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue while making it safe to talk about almost anything.
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