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Heart of Conflict Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1997

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mediation can be a singularly successful way of helping individuals in conflict who are paralyzed or driven by quarrels, suffering or hate. However, this book is not likely to convince anyone of that. Although Muldoon, a lawyer and the cofounder of a mediation firm, demonstrates that he knows his business in one convincing chapter entitled "Mediation: Impasse and the Third Force," one chapter out of 10 is not enough to redeem a text characterized by inapt locutions, failed metaphors, a windy style and flaccid reasoning. Throughout the book the author drags in literary, scientific or philosophical references without a sense of logical concurrence. In one fairly typical paragraph, he cites chaos theory, the second law of thermodynamics, the Norse god Loki and the forces of darkness and light?all in four short sentences. Nor does Muldoon always make clear how mediation actually worked in the many lively anecdotes he relates. We are presented with the details of an intractable dispute, and suddenly there is harmony, as if a curtain had been hastily lowered and raised. It is unfortunate that this professional could not make a clearer case for so effective a procedure.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

If conflict is inevitable, even desirable, what is the best means of resolving it before it mutates into a malignant, inoperable mass of ill-feeling? Muldoon, a professional mediator by trade, shares insightful stories from his experiences. From tales of tragic medical malpractice to ugly divorces, Muldoon points out that there is naturally an element of chaos in everything that is interesting or complex. Conflict itself, Muldoon writes, is morally neutral; it simply happens. The real cause of conflict is moralism: the habit of dividing the world into those who are right and those who are wrong. This work sometimes reads like a primer on mediation, sometimes like a cross between New Age philosophy and Eastern theology. In any case, Muldoon has written a very readable, nonthreatening, and nonjudgmental book that should appeal to combatants and noncombatants alike. Recommended for all public libraries.?Randy L. Abbott, Univ. of Evansville Libs., Ind.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Trade (October 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399518959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399518959
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,217,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Alejandro Teruel on July 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a very uneven book by a US lawyer turned mediator. Contrary to what one of the jacket blurbs advertises, this is certainly not a road map on mediation. In fact if you are looking for a how-to book on negotiation or mediation, you would do better to start with Roger Fisher and William Ury's "Getting to Yes" and "Getting Past No" or "The Mediator's Handbook" by Jennifer E. Beer and Eileen Stief.
Muldoon's book is divided into two parts. The first part of the book is the closest he gets to a tutorial on mediation. In it, he describes four useful strategies for managing or resolving conflict: containment, confrontation, compassion and collaboration. Each chapter on these strategies usually starts by describing one of Muldoon's fascinating mediation experiences and describes the possible patterns that can help resolve the conflict. However I would have liked the author to go into more detail on the mediation process by fleshing out the strategies with more specific tactics.
The second part of the book is more difficult to describe and it is where I feel the book becomes more personal, less well written and probably says more to readers with mediation experience. It is an attempt to philosophize about conflict: is it necessary? should it always be resolved? what can be learnt from it? It is clear that Muldoon has read widely but not deeply on the subject: there are many throwaway pointers to buddhism, chaos theory, and self-help authors like Thomas Merton but very few to, psychoanalysis or mainstream philosophy, for example.
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By A Customer on November 5, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have spent 3 decades in the analysis, characterization, and attempted resolution of conflicts of various sizes and complexities. Mr. Muldoon has put into clear and engaging words what I learned the hard way. This book should be required reading for lawyers, diplomats, ministers, judges, doctors, and managers.
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