Saturday, March 10, 2012

Book Review: Crucial Conversations



It seems like every business book nowadays has a foreword by Stephen R. Covey.  It’s almost like – if he didn’t endorse it - it’s not worth reading.  

This book is not an easy read like Leadership and Self-Deception, Who Moved My Cheese, or The Myth of Multitasking.  It is however worth reading because it has many gems and pearls of wisdom along the way.  

A few of them I already knew:
        Remember, to know and not do is really not to know. – p. xvi
        “He that complies against his will is of his own opinion still.” – Samuel Butler p. 23

A few startled me as I read them because I realized they are problems I have but never noticed:
        Do you hold in ugly opinions only to have them tumble out as sarcastic remarks or cheap shots? – p. 13
        Labeling is putting a label on people or ideas so we can dismiss them under a general stereotype or category. – p. 53
        By employing a handy label, we are now dealing not with a complex human being, but with a bonehead. – p. 108

Some were very humorous:
        Individually smart people can do collectively stupid things. – p. 22
        If others would only change then we’d all live happily ever after. – p. 29

Some felt like ancient proverbs that had been modernized:
        “Lord, help me forgive those who sin differently than I.” – p. 72
        Respect is like air.  If you take it away, it’s all people can think about.  The instant people perceive disrespect in a conversation, the interaction in no longer about the original purpose – it is now about defending dignity. – p. 71
        When you feel a measure of respect for the other person, you’re ready to begin. – p. 195
        You and only you create your emotions. – p. 94

And of course – there are the rest of the quotes I loved that don’t fit in a prior category:
Most people have trouble pulling themselves away from the tractor beam of the argument at hand. –p. 55
When you tell a “Victim Story” you ignore the role you played in the problem…you speak of nothing but your noble motives. – p. 107
We cite information that supports our ideas while hiding or discrediting anything that doesn’t. – p. 138
Our honest passion kills the argument rather than supports it. – p. 139
Back off your harsh and conclusive language, not your belief. – p. 140
Don’t pretend to consult – p. 168
When you find yourself saying “All right, we’ll never agree so let’s vote” you’re copping out. – p. 171
Nothing is quite so annoying as having someone agree on a choice (their second choice perhaps) and then cry “I told you so!” when it doesn’t work out. – 173
People often assume that trust is something you have or don’t have…Trust doesn’t have to be universally offered.  In truth, it’s usually offered in degrees and is very topic specific. – p. 200

1 comment:

Zohaib Akhlaq said...

The conversational tools described in the book are very valuable, but will require effort to master. This is not a book to simply read through once and put on the shelf. It's a system that requires some training, be it in a classroom with simulated situations or with a trusted friend, spouse, or perhaps a small group. All in all, a nice little gem worth the effort.