Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review: Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 2 edition (August 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071775307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071775304
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1 inches 
  • Buy now at Amazon.


The authors of Crucial Conversations didn't set out to write a book on communication; rather, they began by researching the behaviors of top performers. They found that most of the time, top influencers were indistinguishable from their peers. But as soon as the stakes grew high, emotions ran strong and opinions differed, top performers were significantly more effective than everyone else. What the authors observed during this study and captured in their blockbuster hit, Crucial Conversations, is a distinct and definable set of skills that produce professional and personal results.

Over the past 10 years, more than 2 million people and 300 of the Fortune 500 have used the skills in Crucial Conversations to successfully navigate life's most difficult moments. And the most influential gurus and leaders of our time consider Crucial Conversations a staple of effective management:

  • Author and management guru, Tom Peters, listed Crucial Conversations as one of three "must reads for change agents"
  • #1 New York Times bestselling author, Stephen R. Covey, calls the work a "breakthrough book"

Now, 10 years later, the authors have written a second edition. Join the millions worldwide who use the skills in Crucial Conversations to realize significant professional and personal results while improving the relationships that matter most.

What's New in the Second Edition?

  • Preface by the authors
  • Foreword by Stephen R. Covey
  • Updated statistics, facts and figures
  • Research conducted by VitalSmarts and others
  • Skill applications from Crucial Conversations® Training
  • Corporate case studies of Crucial Conversations in action
  • Reader's life-changing Crucial Conversations stories
  • Links to new videos and other online resources
  • Afterword by the authors summarizing important lessons learned in the past 10 years
My Thoughts:

Do you remember the last time you had a conversation that didn’t end up well? Five minutes into it the shouting and finger pointing exploded like fireworks on the 4th of July.   Let’s face it, whether we like it or not,  we have these types of conversations with our business partners, distributors and even loved ones from time to time.  What really triggers a conversation to go arie? And, what can we do to avoid this in the future?

The book “Crucial Conversations” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler, answers these questions and more. At first glance this book looks like they are referring to conversations that happen in the business world, where stakes are high, but as the authors point out crucial conversations can happen to you anywhere.

The book is easy to read and well organize into 4 important parts. In the first section,  the authors examine what a crucial conversation really is and why they happen. For example, one of the reasons a conversation turns from normal to well, difficult, is because either party forgets the purpose of the conversation. In the second part, the authors go into detail about the basic techniques one can use right away to ensure that at the end of the conversation both parties are the winners.  And, in the last two parts of this book,  the authors dive into advance techniques that involve what to do when you are addressing an audience and you are about to share bad news with them.

Aside from techniques explained in the book, the authors have done a magnificent job by referring to real life situations and showing how the techniques can be applied. We all want to avoid getting into crucial conversations.  But, the truth of the matter is that we face them every day. Whether you are talking to your partner about introducing a new product to the market, to having a conversation with your significant other about what to do Friday night, by applying the suggestions from this book, we can make a situation less stressful.

If you are looking for a book about dealing with and having meaningful conversations in the workplace and in your personal life, then you should definitely pick up a copy of this book today.  It has helped me participate in conversations much better, since I learned the proper techniques in dealing with different situations that arise when we are dealing and conversing with others.

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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