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The Lost Art of Listening, Second Edition: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships Paperback – February 16, 2009
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"Dr. Nichols writes as if he is speaking directly to us--and he speaks in a way that makes us not only able, but eager, to listen. What happens between him and his readers embodies key elements of what he wants us to learn about listening. Along the way, we learn about much more."--Thelma Jean Goodrich, PhD, Family Institute of Westchester"I use this book in teaching first-semester graduate students counseling micro-skills. The students endorse it as the best of the texts I use. The Lost Art of Listening uses pragmatic examples from real life to illustrate active listening. This approach makes the material come alive for students who are just learning active listening, and is a great refresher for those who are already familiar with it. In addition, I often recommend the book to couples I see in my private practice."--Iverson M. Eicken, PhD, Adjunct Instructor, Department of Counseling, California State University, Fullerton
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An interesting trend among the reviewers I have noticed is that many are students, educators or counselors. I am also a communication student, so this book fit wonderfully into the existing theoretical framework that I had by also providing highly detailed, practical advice. One of the major strength of the book is that it makes material very easy to digest, despite the seeming density and looming 300 pages. Quotes, summarizing the main points, examples for the writer’s own life and from the lives of his patients and exercises at the end of the chapter are great for self-reflection and for practicing what you have learned.
However, because the author tries to appeal to readers outside of psychology and communication disciplines, some details might seem unnecessary or sometimes a little simplistic, maybe because the author tries to avoid using unnecessary terminology – it is not a textbook after all. However, the intent to make it more accessible to all the readers is understandable and admirable. But if you are a scholar, sometimes it is helpful to just go ahead and name something familiar in your head, for example when the author is establishing link between communication and the overall “feeling” of the relationship – whether it is fulfilling or not, speaking about communication climates.
I found the book to flow well and make numerous effective connections to real life through situations and dialogues (or monologues, if the receiver is not listening). I think the best aspect of this book is that even though it might require mental work from the reader, it has a transformative power: to be able to listen to yourself a little better, to communicate with co-workers or family members, to take responsibility for how you handle conflicts to be heard and hear – beyond just having the sound waves hit your eardrums.
Once again, I highly recommend this book, especially if you have some prior knowledge of psychology or interpersonal communication: it is written in a very accessible way, flows well and provides very tangible advice.