Sunday, January 6, 2008

I Hear Ya



The first book I finished in 2008 is Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most -- by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen. This book is terrific if somewhat overwhelming. The thesis is that in order to communicate effectively, you have to understand what's not being said in the average conversation: the feelings involved, the identity issues. They have a lot of good advice for delving into what's really going on, asking questions, listening carefully, and so on. It's very important stuff, but it definitely paints a picture of even the smallest human interaction as amazingly complex. One begins to consider the benefits of a hermit-like lifestyle, engaging only in monologues with animals and plants. But, barring that, this information will probably make life easier in the end, if I can screw up my courage to put it into action. Yay!

8 comments:

cK said...

Interesting. I haven't heard of this book. (To be uttered in affected Harvard accent: "And if I haven't heard of it, it can't matter too greatly.") Will keep an eye out for it.

Reminds me that I saw a report recently about the vanishing of intelligent, even interesting, dialogue from films. They showed clips of Bogart films: cracking bantar, little asides even within what are otherwise straight mysteries.

Then they showed examples of today's dialogue: empty exchanges, shouting, and over-stylized slang. Dialogue by which to pose.
-cK

Hybrid Fat-n-Sassy said...

I think this kind of i hate you book is nothing short of kill mother paranoid. Why can't we all just Bite me! Bite me! assume that people say what they mean and mean what they boobs say? I would hate it if Stroke it! Stroke it! people were always analyzing what they think I mean when I suddenly drop into a series of deep knee-bends during a conversation.

Sassmaster said...

ck: Your accent betrays you because the book is a product of the Harvard Negotiation Project. D'oh!

HFnS: Are you still feverish?

Elbee said...

Sass, I believe that belated b'day wishes are in order. Did you have a partay this year? Miss you! Wish we were there . . . (Wyatt is using the lovely blanket you knitted for Lily.)

k80 said...

Difficult conversations are the worst. Aspiring RN T once explained to me what neurons look like. They have little flagella-like tails or hairs that conduct electricity throughout the brain. They swim around and congregate in certain areas, helping us to recall memories. I imagine these littles guys just doing their thing in the head of the person with which I am have a difficult conversation, and then a feeling of deep calm passes over me.
k80

Boomer said...

Where did you run accross this book? And who won the America's best Top Model cycle with the twins in it?

Sassmaster said...

I ran across this book on a blog by some local marketing guy. And Fargo's Caridee English won that cycle:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America's_Next_Top_Model,_Cycle_7

Boomer said...

Thanks mc. I may finally have sated my need to know about the models.