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Showing 1-10 of 34 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on September 3, 2009
There is no doubt in my mind that anyone who takes the time to write a book about interpersonal skills as this one has at least one good point to talk about. There are indeed a few points in this book that are helpful, for instance they say that the way you interpret a person is often flawed because the conclusions (or "stories" as they call them) that you draw when you interact with people are often flawed and need to be confirmed through dialogue first. So there is some good advice in this book but the problems are as follows:

Information is hidden in all kinds of common sense garbage that goes on and on about the same thing. The authors invent all kinds of catchy ridiculous terms to represent their ideas, as if they are trying to set some kind of standard, they want people to remember their acronyms (maybe it helps some people but not me, I remember the ideas themselves). The most annoying part was the conversation examples they made up. They always build up to them and they tended not to have a good conclusion or moral to them. It's like when a teacher teaches his first year and doesn't have any good stories yet so he makes up all kinds of stuff that has no depth to it.

I don't wish to bash a book, so buy it if you want to draw your own conclusions. But I think there is much better out there on the same topic and I will be more careful when going by reviews next time. Nevertheless, my advice, do not buy it! It is a waste of time to read endless gibberish before someone is getting to the point, unless you are good at skimming and extracting useful information.
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VINE VOICEon September 5, 2007
Do we need a book to tell us that if we and/or our conversational partners are overly emotional or argumentative, create an uncomfortable or unsafe setting, clam up, will not listen, are incapable of adaptation or appreciating other views, or are not overly bright that chances for conversational success are greatly diminished. The author's message is that in the absence of these negativities, that basically free-flowing dialog where all the relevant information is brought into the open will result in effective communication. The emphasis in the book is within business organizations, in particular between employees and employers, although the ideas pertain to all other so-called high stakes conversations between various persons. However, the book absolutely fails to deal with conversational reality.

It is readily obvious that the authors are consultants to the business community (managers), because of their dismissal of the power differentials in the workplace. Their citing of a few brave employees who questioned or contradicted a top manager, serves merely to reinforce the hazards to employees for speaking out in the workplace. Of course, such non-controversial topics as safety, productivity, or where to have the company picnic can be broached. Fundamental topics such as policies, strategies, products, marketing, structures, or personnel are invariably off limits. If the authors wanted to be serious about conversations within businesses, they would propose democratic participation structures, where workers or their elected representatives could freely, without fear of retribution, address any and all issues, not just the safe ones. Bravery or putting one's job on the line would not be necessary.

It is hardly just within businesses where crucial conversations are prevented despite one's best efforts. Bureaucracies and other barriers are often initiated specifically to prevent conversations. Try talking to an insurance company about drug or treatment denial. Try talking to a sales person about a corporate product or service. Try getting through a telephone answering system only to be stonewalled by an "associate." Try talking to a doctor about treatments or, better yet, fees. Try talking to a department head about the nature or conduct of your education. The list is endless where most people do not have a chance of a meaningful or effective conversation.

This book is like so many other "blame the victim" notions. If you are not having good conversations, it must be because "you" don't have the right "tools" to converse. It can't be that the person you are talking to has the power to inflict damage or is within a structure where they can simply ignore you or dispense pabulum. A democracy is based above all on wide-ranging conversation among equal citizens with hopefully widely accepted resolutions. Maybe some day in the US we will try a form of democracy within all of our organizations in which "conversations" are not one-sided with the possibility of punishment for even speaking. Now there is an idea for the authors to grasp.
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on July 26, 2013
This book, though it claims to help everyone is mostly geared towards angry bosses who go crazy on their staff.To be honest it's probably helpful for people who lose their temper with their employees but there are more than just bosses and people of authority who are targeted in the marketing of this book.

There's a help website where u can ask questions on the things you're struggling with but you only get an automated response that says you inquiry is being looked into. Then their website stalks you for a while sending ads to your email even after you remove yourself from the mailing list. I read this a while back but am now deciding to do my review as I am now deleting it from my kindle. There has been nothing so spectacular that I have kept with me from this book. Wish I hadn't have bought it. Oh well.
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on May 10, 2016
A really great trainer referred to this book often in an HR seminar so I bought it. Very disappointing. I couldn't get past the first few chapters and the vanilla scenarios. The author's conversations put me to sleep. Concepts are solid but the synopsis is enough on this one.
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on July 28, 2015
The book reads like an add for the company that produced the books - seminars, website, additional resources. And used a lot of cheesy sayings... not my personal style. Have been exposed to several leadership, communication books and this is not my favorite - recommend you keep looking.
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on November 13, 2015
The Kindle edition of this book is terrible. Tons of spammy links to hosted videos that are then referenced in the text of the book. I'm getting the first edition in paperback instead. I wish I could get the first edition on the Kindle.
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on January 16, 2014
The entire book repeats itself - it basically just tells you to see the big picture, come off as slightly tentative - "it appears that..." vs "you did this wrong", and state your intentions.

I mean, it appears that this book is promising more effective communication skills. But the book repeats itself over and over and over and over. I intend to not recommend this book.

...and that's how this books taught me to communicate
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on September 23, 2015
This is as poorly written a book as I've read in quite some time. Though it may contain useful information, I simply could not get through the abysmal writing, which makes a technical manual seem riveting.
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VINE VOICEon October 31, 2010
I've based my choice of books many times on fellow reviews and I was let down big time on this one. Normally a book with 4 or 5 stars as the average has some great ideas and it is at the very least, interesting..Well, I found one that isn't. I simply didn't care for the style of the book. It's written by several people and not in an essay format so the style of writing never really reveals a pattern to follow the author's thoughts. It's confusing yet overly simplistic too. I do feel I took away a couple of ideas but not worth the investment of my time.
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on February 1, 2016
I am honestly surprised at how many positive reviews this book receives. I like the occasional "self help" book, and am willing to get something good out of the few that I read. Typically I also feel some type of response that makes me want to keep reading. None of this happened with Crucial Conversations. I found it to be oversimplistic, as if a Crucial Conversation will solve almost any problem, when in reality there are so many situations where a Crucial Conversation cannot take place due to the amount of risk to the person initiating it (politics, power situations,etc).

Not only that, I found the book had very poor flow to it. I felt that it jumped around from concept to concept without bridging them together very well, and some of the concepts made little sense because they had no examples to represent the concept.

In the very beginning of the book, they actually had a good example of a Crucial Conversation and how someone in real life did it very well, but they neglected to tell the reader what the person actually said--they only stated the person said it in a way that was direct but didn't make the other person feel uncomfortable. Great, but what did he actually say so we can get an idea of how he did that?

In the back of the book where the authors state how they have used the concepts, finally one of them admitted that you cannot have dialogue with someone that does not want to dialogue. He does make a good point that if you stay in the relationship and make small, honest attempts that over time you might be able to dialogue... I can buy that. I just wish more of the book had addressed this key issue.
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