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VINE VOICEon July 31, 2005
Others have reviewed some of the specific details of the book so rather than repeat the same information, let me focus on what I found most useful.

While the parts of apology were interesting what I found most profound was the section on why apologies sometimes fail. It was enlightening to understand that an apology is not always a one time request for forgiveness, but often the opening of a negotiation between the parties. For example: When someone had hurt or betrayed us we need to understand that we really do share the same values otherwise we can't trust them and restore the friendship. Also the examples of failed apologies and how they can make thing worse than saying nothing and who amoung us has not recieved an insulting apology that hurt rather than healed.

I found myself mentally placing people I know into different situations portrayed in the book and could easly see why certain friends reacted the way they did to each other. I think you will do the same.

On apology is an invaluable tool in improving your own apologies and in understanding others. Be forewarned, you will never look at apologies the same again, never offer another flipant "I'm sorry" and never again accept one.

A honest and thoughtful book for those who really want to understand this most profound an potentially healing human interaction.
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on November 14, 2004
So much has been written in recent years about the need for forgiveness. In Dr. Lazare's groundbreaking book, he points out how so little has been written about apology (his is only the second book devoted to this subject to be published in the past decade!), and yet a sincere and honest apology is essential for complete forgiveness. It is one of the main reasons so many of us hold on to grudges for years. We cannot fully forgive without this missing piece of the puzzle.

Dr. Lazare beautifully explains the differences between a "false apology" and a true apology, why people (and groups and nations) have difficulty apologizing, what constitutes a satisfying apology, and what rewards both parties (the offended party and the offender) can get from an honest apology. Dr. Lazare has done his research -- there are extensive references throughout, and the book leans toward the scholarly side. Yet it is well-written, thoughtful, and personable, and the author often interjects a few engaging stories about his own direct experiences with the subject, making the writing warm and personalized.

This is a book everyone should read -- parents, spouses, children, siblings, employers, employees, managers, leaders, politicians, teachers, physicians, healthcare workers, and attorneys. The art of apology should be an integral component of conflict resolution, mediation, and restorative justice. For those who have been injured or offended by the deliberate or unintentional actions of other people (and that pretty much includes all of us), real healing cannot begin until we receive the sincere apology we need and crave. For those who have injured or offended others (again, that pretty much includes all of us), we can't begin our own healing process without completing the full requirements of a sincere apology.

This book is a testament to how the seemingly simple act of apology can heal centuries-old wounds, bridge cultural and international misunderstandings, dissolve bitterness and resentment, and restore relationships of every kind. This is a book you will want everyone you know to read, and one that you will remember the contents of long after you close the covers.
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on October 7, 2004
This erudite, informative and exceedingly engaging book On Apology almost seemed like a suspense novel, so much was my interest and involvement in the subject aroused. I am sure to refer to it repeatedly and expect to use it as a guide in many future personal and professional negotiations in my life. The universal application of the analysis to our daily lives as humans is striking. It also seems highly relevant for the times because of the many recent apologies being offered by well-known individuals, and even more so for the ones that need to be offered. The deconstruction process that the author takes the reader through is incredibly enlightening. Thanks to what I learned from this book, I can now see so clearly what is missing or self-serving in the statements made by for example, Dan Rather and Jimm Swaggert in the last few weeks alone. The outright lack of remorse and humility in these apologies is appaling and would have been missed by me previously. The book is also amazing in its scope and thorough research. I have particularly enjoyed the personal anecdotes and examples the author provided, which bring such a human touch to everything and is profoundly moving. It takes great courage to speak out about such things, and this author seems to do it so effortlessly. Bravo!
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on April 15, 2005
Quite recently, I've encountered several situations in which I felt I was owed an apology. When it became quite certain that these apologies were not forthcoming I grew resentful and angry. This book helped me to understand the different types of apologies (false versus real) and why some people are incapable of apologizing. The book was very interesting. It explored the concept of apologies in historical and cultural settings. I cannot say that this was an incredibly exciting read because it wasn't - it was very matter of fact and rather dry. What impressed me was the manner in which the author laid the foundations for his theories and then provided realistic dialogue that one might encounter. I think I may have learned to apologize better and if for nothing else I now know why "Sorry seems to be the hardest word"(according to Elton John at least). I would actually consider purchasing this book. It has a nice cover and would look good on a nightstand or side table (very Pottery Barn-esque) -- plus the content is pretty decent.
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on October 2, 2004
This book is a great read! I bought this book having no idea the impact it would have on my life. Dr. Lazare offers concrete tools and guidance to anyone who needs to make an apolgy (and who isn't in THAT boat?) and gives inspiration to strengthen relationships through examples of individuals, groups, and nations. I learned a lot on a personal level as well as gaining an understanding of global issues that have been impacted by apologies, or lack thereof. In a time when we all look for peace and search for hope, this book is a great place to start.
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on February 11, 2007
I read this book twice from my local library and finally had to buy my own copy, after sending it as a gift to grandchildren, clergy and friends. Now, suddenly, Dr Lazare's book is showing up on medical websites as a new concept for physicians dealing with mistakes before they become malpractice lawsuits. In fact even the lawyers who have counseled the "Do Not apologize, it will only be a legal admission of guilt" position for years are retreating and more and more state legislatures are passing laws that a physician's apology cannot be used in subsequent legal actions.

To me this is proof that a great book like "On Apology" can have a wider influence than we could ever imagine.

When we talk of a 'seminal' book, we mean that it carries within its pages the seeds for new thinking. This is a SEMINAL book.
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on December 20, 2007
If you believe that living is a relational practice, reading Chancellor Lazare's book "On Apology" is a must! In this easy to read book - filled with dissected example after example - the author allows us to appreciate how the `apology' works as a relational process - it is a negotiation that is completed when the needs of the parties are satisfied.

In general, the person or entity apologizing is driven to this relationship healing act in response to an internal need to relieve strong feelings, or by the need to relieve strong external pressures. And, the recipient of the apology will have one or more of the following needs:
* Restoration of self-respect and dignity
* Assurance that both parties have shared values
* Assurance that the offenses were not their fault
* Assurance of safety in their relationships
* Seeing the offender suffer
* Reparation for the harm caused by the offense
* Having meaningful dialogues with the offenders

The author suggests that the successful apology has four parts: 1) acknowledgement of the specific offense and the feelings of the other party; 2) communicating remorse and the related attitudes of forbearance; 3) explanation, and; 4) reparation.

He also suggests that apologies fail due one or more of the following: 1) offering a vague and incomplete acknowledgement; 2) using the passive voice; 3) making the offense conditional; 4) questioning whether the victim was damaged; 5) minimizing the offense; 6) using the empathic "I'm sorry"; 7) apologizing to the wrong party, and; 8) apologizing for the wrong offense.

And, while the jury is out on the timing of the process - after things cool, or in the heat of the moment; it is never too late to apologize, as the apology and forgiveness are inextricably bound together. Also, as the author says you cannot apology in advance of the offense, I now apologize for the length of this review. Dennis DeWilde, author of "The Performance Connection"
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on August 5, 2005
This is a scholarly and very readable synthesis of the process of apology and forgiveness. It is written by an expert in the field of communications and interpersonal skills; however, the author goes deeper into the sociology of recent history of public apology and weaves that story into a practical approach for dealing with interpersonal apologies. This is essential reading for nearly everyone.
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on September 3, 2015
I feel like this book could be for those that would like to get better at giving truthful apologies, AND/OR those that would like to be more deceptive and give off the appearance of an apology (without really doing so). Many examples on how to give sneaky apologies.
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on December 3, 2014
I received this book as somewhat of an anonymous gift in my mailbox today. There are some pages apparently qued for my attention and so far, it looks incredibly insightful. I plan to read it this weekend. I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the subject from both sides of an apology. One thing remains unclear as of yet, was this gift meant to help me understand myself or the one who has sent it to me? Perhaps both. Thank you, Jen. You are thought of and missed often.
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