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The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships

30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1572301313
ISBN-10: 1572301317
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What is true listening and why, the author asks, has it become a near-rarity in modern life? Nichols (Family Healing) shows how to utilize this "art by which we use empathy to reach the space across us" to improve and repair relationships with spouses, lovers, relatives, children, friends and colleagues, and even how to boost one's own "listenability." He also explains what listening isn't, explaining why people don't listen and listing obstacles to listening (especially defensiveness owing to emotional overreaction). Humor, true-life examples and simple exercises make this a practical and even entertaining self-help guide, although Nichols can be a bit long-winded and preachy.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Scientific American

Lily Tomlin once advised that we `listen with an intensity that most people save for talking.' Michael Nichols, in The Lost Art of Listening tells us how. This is a very special book which distills years of clinical wisdom into practical advice about improving our most important relationships and, ultimately, who we are. Through the lens of the importance to us all of being heard, Dr. Nichols tells us how genuine listening can prevent broken connections and dried up relationships. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Guilford Family Therapy
  • Paperback: 251 pages
  • Publisher: The Guilford Press (May 3, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572301317
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572301313
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Edward Lewis on May 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
When my wife left me, instead of telling me there was another guy, she was grasping at straws when she blurted out, "You never listen to me." She didn't have the guts to tell me there was someone else, so I thought this was something I could fix. Lost Art was one of many books I bought in an effort to "fix" myself and save my marriage.

Of the books I purchased about listening, this book was the only one worth what I paid for it. There are some really terrible books out there on this subject.

Part two of my story.....

My father was a man of few words......especially over the phone. When I read Lost Art, I finally understood the "dynamic" between him and I. Phone conversations which used to last a minute or two were now lasting thirty minutes. One conversation we had was about an hour long and at the end of it, he told me that he loved me (which is a big deal in my family).

A month later, my father went into intensive care. Three months after that he passed away. I'm so happy that we had those conversations because I don't feel like we left anything unsaid between us.

As for my marriage, it's over. However, my soon to be ex and I get along very well. I won't say that we are good friends because that would be a lie. But I do beleive we are getting along a lot better than we would have if I had never read this book. I don't believe she left me because of my lack of listening skills, but I do believe that we are getting along so well because of these new skills.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Sir Bowen on March 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There's probably nothing in our lives that brings us more pain - that could easily be avoided - than the breakdown of communication with our loved ones and others around us. Very few topics are more important, but few of us receive any education in this field.
I would like to see all high schools have a class in effective communication, and when that happens this should be the textbook. It would save a lot of suffering.
The coverage of the topic is extremely complete, the points are directly on-target, and the material is very accessible.
The author has not used many of the stylistic methods of the mass-market self-help books, with cute catch-phrases and lots of bullet lists. With this book, you have to be ready to sit down and concentrate on reading. But for your trouble you will get life-changing information presented in a clear and interesting manner.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
Michael Nichols' book, 'The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships', is a wonderful tool for making listening, which is so often taken for granted and so often misunderstood, a truly effective tool in your hands.
--Why is listening important?--
A basic question, and on the surface, a rather simple one. But too often we are preoccupied with ourselves to hear and give sufficient empathy to the other to really hear what is being said. Most of us think we are better listeners than we in fact are, but of course, most of us assume we are better communicators than we are. Quite often we fall into competitive conversationalism; we are busy thinking about our next statement rather than listening to what is being said.
Being heard also means being taken seriously. It is a true hearing, not a simple reassurance (which may not be warranted or realistic); it helps to shape self-respect, and makes the difference between being accepted and being isolated. This means that the listener must be keyed in to her or his own experience and 'listening agenda', those unspoken and subconscious assumptions being made that fill in the gaps when a conversation is going on.
'There is a big difference between showing interest and being interested.'
--Why don't people listen?--
Listening requires a suspension of self, which is very hard to do. It requires suspending judgement, which is often counter-intuitive. 'But they asked my opinion', might be the reply. Of course they did, because our conversational conventions require that, but in fact they often didn't want an opinion, but rather a listener.
Nichols gives a few examples of this non-listening, which often involve the following phrases:
'That reminds me of the time...' (i.e., 'I can top that...
Read more ›
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Adam Khan VINE VOICE on November 18, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked up The Lost Art of Listening immediately after reading Love and Survival. Those two books, in that order, were the perfect one-two punch. In Love and Survival, I learned how important it is to be close to people. Closeness has an enormous impact on your heatlh. And greater closeness makes people happier.
So I realized how important closeness is, but then I realized I didn't really know HOW to get closer to people. I know how to get along with people and how to make them feel good about themselves and how to get them to like me, but I didn't know how to really become close to people, and I had never thought about it. Love and Survival gave some good pointers, but The Lost Art of Listening goes all the way. This isn't a book about business negotiation or anything like that. It's about how to reach that wonderful state of being intimate with someone, really knowing them and being open to them. Listening is the key.
Nichols covers the subject very well with lots of good examples and good humor too. And the book is very practical. When you're done, you'll know what to do to become a better listener. You'll know how to become closer to the people you love. I've been putting the suggestions into practice and I'm definitely closer to my friends and family, and happier too. My wife has noticed the change in me (it has been pretty dramatic) and said she didn't know our relationship could be like this. She's ecstatic about it and it's great to see her so happy. Listening well isn't really that difficult, but there's an art to it, which you learn all about in the book. I'm the author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, and Nichols' book qualifies: This is listening-coaching that really works.
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