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Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time Hardcover – September 16, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 207 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Susan Scott believes that interpersonal difficulties--at work and at home--are a direct result of our inability to communicate well. Fierce Conversations is based on principles from her international consulting practice, in which she teaches executives how to conduct such exchanges more dynamically and ultimately more effectively, thereby improving the relationships they enjoy with their various dialogue partners "one conversation at a time." Using identifiable anecdotes from her experience to inspire and inform, along with a series of practical exercises designed to impart the requisite skills, Scott walks readers through the individual steps she's developed to build better associations through more robust and honest discourses. Addressing all aspects of the process, from several methods for listening more attentively to specific ways she's fashioned to confront and resolve issues "that stand between you and success," Scott offers the type of concrete advice and confidence-building counsel that should help even the most reticent improve their communication skills dramatically. --Howard Rothman

From Publishers Weekly

An offshoot of Scott's international consulting firm, Fierce Conversations Inc., this book lasts as long as a Monday morning shuttle. Yet its thesis, that relationships both professional and personal hinge on how conversations go, and that the best conversations require determinedly gentle honesty and a willingness to listen, lingers long enough to make an impact. "It takes a certain fearlessness to make your private thoughts public. But if what you're thinking makes you squirm and wish to wriggle away, you are probably onto something," she says. On the book's Web site, a streaming-video talk feels fake and rehearsed. But Scott's written words contain substance and, as an author, she's levelheaded and funny. She quotes a wide variety of writers, from Ernest Hemingway to Maya Angelou to Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and clearly explains her key concepts, including "obey your instincts" and "let silence do the heavy lifting." Careerist marketing ploy it may be, but this cleanly written, if cliche-laden, book boasts enough psychological sensitivity to merit success. Those whose conversations with co-workers or family members aren't producing the results they want will find plenty of helpful tools and assignments in this succinct guide.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Group / Viking Studio; First Printing edition (September 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670031240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670031245
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Scott is a two-time best-selling author and recognized thought leader in the global business community. Susan and her company, Fierce, Inc., are committed to large-scale and individual transformation through the principles and models set forth in Susan's books and her company's corporate training programs.

Fierce, Inc. is a global leadership development and training company focused on developing conversation as a skill to drive measurable results for business and education. Fierce helps clients worldwide develop leaders, transform cultures, and create authentic, energizing and rewarding connections with colleagues and customers through skillful conversations.

Tailored to any organization, Fierce principles and methods translate across the globe, ensure individual and collective success, and develop skills that are practical, easy-to-use and can be applied immediately.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Susan Scott has written an outstanding book on how to use everyday conversation to cut through the politics of work relationships and start talking about what we are all "pretending not to know". I was consistently impacted while reading it, not so much that the material is brand new, but that it is presented in such a way that the opportunities and misses of my own interactions were obvious.

One of the topics discussed is called "Mineral Rights", a type of conversation designed to get deep, past the surface and into the truth of what is going on. The approach accomplishes four purposes: Interrogate reality, provoke learning, tackle tough challenges, and enrich relationships. It has been my experience that this rarely happens in corporate America, and is rarer still where I work now. The book uses examples from various companies that have identified their core values and been honest enough with themselves and others to start acting on them. The many questions posed throughout the book, and the sections at the end of each chapter are a great way to start interrogating reality in your workplace. The answers usually are "in the room" if we can really get honest and start looking for them.

In addition to some great business council, much of the book focuses on how we get honest with ourselves. Often we are the problem, and our own inability to truly understand where our own issues lie, is an essential journey to better facilitate the kind of change we want in our business or relationships. Another great approach used is the "Decision Tree" to help build empowerment in others. Communicate clearly what decisions can be made and what must be communicated to others. (Page 252).
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Format: Hardcover
Susan Scott was a corporate coach who realized that people are hungry for authentic communications. She takes the concept of authenticity and mixes it in with good leadership practice to produce a book that is filled with practical advice in one's professional and personal conversations.
I am generally put off by simple "formula" approaches to dealing with tough issues, but Scott mixes the importance of reflection and courage along with a simple structure. As a corporate consultant who was using this book as a resource, I was prepared to write it off as too "pop" or simplistic, and instead found solid reference to the importance of showing onesself, understanding the value in recognizing that each party to a conversation brings their own set of "truths," and grounding our conversations in a solid understanding of who we are and where we want to go. Furthermore, she makes a point of using listening as a key strategy for leaders -- one that is often talked about, but rarely reinforced as ably as it is here.
Some of Scott's examples are stilted and overly simplistic,she holds herself up as a model of perfection a little too often, and she ocassionally lapses into self-help verbiage that is annoying, and a distraction from a solid product. Nevertheless, for those of us who need to persuade others about the importance of authentic one-on-one communication, or for those of us who forget the magic of intense one-on-one communication with those we care about, this is worth reading and acting upon.
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Format: Hardcover
If we have ever needed a book like this, now is the time. Just think what could have happened at Enron, WorldCom, etc. if people had been willing to talk to each other about what was really going on? This is both a "think about this" and a "here's how to use it" book that can give people the courage and tools to tell others what they are seeing and believing. Don't be put off by the title, Fierce does not mean you get to beat everyone up - it really is an invitation to, as the author says - interrogate reality. Susan Scott does an effective job in weaving her three big ideas about conversations through the book. The ideas are simple yet powerful and can change the way we talk both to ourselves and to others. She captured me right away with the first concept; that our lives (and work) succeed or fail one conversation at a time, including those conversations we don't have. The book is an easy read. The concepts are clearly presented both in theory and with amusing stories and, best of all, there are practical tips on how to use the information. I enjoyed reading it and putting the principles into action. I'll be giving copies to friends and colleagues. This is one of those books that belongs both at home and the office.
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Format: Paperback
This is a worthwhile book for personal and leadership development. It contains practical tools such as:

1) The Decision Tree for delegation and professional development

2) A confrontation model

3) Questions for one-to-ones (fuel for discussion with colleagues and direct reports)

4) A Leader's Stump Speech: Where am I going? Why am I going there? Who is going with me? How will I get there?

5) The concept of our "Emotional Wake" - worth reading and pondering about. "An emotional wake is what you remember after I'm gone. The aftermath, aftertaste, or afterglow."

6) The image of the crucible to remind us that our job is "simply to hold, so that whatever needs to be said, what needs to be heard, can safely be said and heard."

And much more....

There are also many fresh metaphors -- one is tempted to keep highlighting the book. Rich quotations, references to books, music, poetry.... good examples and stories.

I also appreciated the "Assignments" and Brief Summaries at the end of each chapter.
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