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Saying What's Real: 7 Keys to Authentic Communication and Relationship Success Paperback – January 18, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Campbell's writing has been recognized by the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors; National Women's Political Caucus; the Sunday Magazine Editors Association, and the Connecticut chapter of Society of Professional Journalists. She was also a member of the Courant's 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning team for breaking news. She is co-author of a travel book, Connecticut Curiosities and she lives in Connecticut with her husband.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HJ Kramer/New World Library (January 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932073124
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932073126
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Sampson on September 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
I came upon this book the hard way. I was raised in a family that rarely showed emotion and never talked about feelings. Although my former girlfriend tried several times to get me to talk about my feelings, I refused to do so and told her that was silly.

After she left me, I tried unsuccessfully to win her back. That's when I realized how terrible my communication skills were. I communicated the only way I knew how, which was usually either by attacking or by being defensive. Yet amazingly, until reading "Saying What's Real," I didn't realize this. I just thought I was logical. After all, I could win any argument with her or anyone else.

This book taught me that healthy communication is not about being right or getting people to do what we want. The author, Susan Campbell, makes the case that most communication comes from the (mostly unconscious) intent to control through manipulation, trying to impress others, lying so as not to hurt another's feelings, etc. She says that, conversely, healthy communication is about, "Creating mutually beneficial solutions... and sharing what we feel and think." In other words, healthy communication is about relating, which Campbell says builds intimacy and connection.

Since I wasn't comfortable with talk about relating and sharing, I initially thought the book's advice wasn't useful to men like me. After all, what man on this planet talks about how something made him feel? However, I kept reading and eventually become convinced Campbell is right. It became obvious that had I been able to really communicate and relate to my former partner, things would have turned out differently. She once commented how we often didn't seem to "get" each other. Now I know why.
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Format: Paperback
It sounds cliche, but it is the truth - Susan Campbell saved our marriage. My husband and I have talked with therapists and read lots of books yet we never were able to get past certain difficulties. Using the simple, honest suggestions in this book and in "Getting Real" (also by Susan Campbell), gave us the vocabulary and tools to begin the journey of getting more connected to each other. We have learned that assumptions about the other persons feelings are very often inaccurate while being present and honest about ourselves and being OPEN to the other is almost magical when practiced by two willing partners. This is a practice....it takes time..."Saying What's Real" is a great start. I suggest reading it out loud together (and get "Getting Real" too).

I highly recommend both of these books.
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Format: Paperback
Having read Susan Campbell's 'Getting Real' (which is one of my top self-help books I recommend to clients) I wondered whether this book could be as good or as insightful. In fact, I think it's even better! Although reading 'Getting Real' kind of paves the way to being open to the shorter, more practical advice she gives in this new book.

Her 7 keys for mindful, present communications are excellent and easy to understand - putting them into practice may take more time, but with practice and persistence they could really make any relationship more meaningful and rewarding. I will be recommending this book to couples in conflict especially - there are some very powerful tips here that I believe could really help any troubled partnership.
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First, let me say that the ideas behind the phrases are amazing. I think that, if I use these things personally, they'll help me be much more authentic in my communication (which I know that I desperately need to do). I've become much more conscious over the past few months of the "white lies," withheld information, avoided conversations, and inauthenticities I live by in my relationships and exactly what it's costing me.

The fact is, there's an element of being authentic and telling the truth that's terrifying, and this book makes it much less terrifying. After reading this book, I started to feel like maybe, just maybe, I can actually be authentic in my relationships. Not perfectly, especially at first - but maybe with this book I can develop the courage and skills to actually be real. She makes it seem like it's something that's actually within my reach, like it's something that even I can learn to do (as opposed to something that only the "super-courageous" can do), even if I don't do it perfectly all the time.

With that said, in some cases the description of how to use these skills is, for the most part, quite good; however, my only issue is that the way she seems to advocate using them seems a little contrived at times. It seems like always using the exact phrasing she provides in the book, for example, would be pretty wooden (especially if you do it all the time), but I guess it's the concept behind the phrases that counts here. I think they provide a good framework if they're not always taken entirely literally - if you take them as "say these exact words" then it seems pretty contrived. She does provide good distinctions and cautions at times though that justify why she writes her phrases the exact way she does.
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