From Publishers Weekly
The former "head of Social, Political, Economic and Technological Scenarios" for Royal Dutch/Shells London office, Kahane is now an international mediation consultant. He offers problem-solving guidance by way of narrative biography, describing his extensive experience in defining and tackling tough problems, those that "usually dont get solved peacefully. They either dont get solved at allthey get stuckor they get solved by force." The details of his interventions may be fresher than the advice they can be boiled down to: the most important problem-solving components, Kahane says, are talking and listening openly, reflectively and empathetically. Yet when Kahane describes the 1996 and 1997 meetings he helped convene in Colombia between the government and armed factions on the left and the right, the fragility of his concepts and the importance of committing to them in good faith become clear. A workshop he describes at the University of the North in South Africa, "a rural, apartheid-era institution with a history of conflict between radical black students and conservative white faculty," makes for another of many compelling object lessons. Companies and individuals who dont face potentially violent disagreement or carry bitter histories of violence will still find thought-provoking (occasionally verging on spiritual) discourse on handling difficult situations gracefully, productively and calmly.
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"Kahane has written a brave and powerful book. He argues convincingly that winning solutions are found by listening, not by telling. Leadership is important, but the best leaders are good listeners. I have worked with him and he is right. Simply put: it works!" - Len Lindegren, former Global Strategy Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers "There are no magical solutions here. This is not another "how-to" book. Instead, Kahane provides us with the very personal story of how he grew from a young expert convinced of the need to provide the "correct" answers, to an effective facilitator of positive change - by learning how to create environments that enable new ideas and creative solutions to emerge. This book explores the connection between individual learning and institutional change, and how leaders can move beyond politeness and formal statements, beyond routine debate and the defense of their positions, towards deeper and more generative dialogue. It should be read by anyone who is concerned with the quality of decision-making in today's democracies." - Elena Martinez, Assistant Secretary General, United Nations"