Monday, December 1, 2014

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are HighCrucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This review is a little ironic because I have championed the content from this book for years. I first encountered it around 2006, and have shared some of its key messages with others ever since. I have even added it to our annual list of books we study together at work (along with Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Leadership and Self Deception.) So why am I reviewing it now? Well, it is because every other time I have been distracted and not finished it, or have just reviewed sections rather than read them word for word. This time, with an upcoming training session I was conducting on my schedule, I made sure to read every word, and finally add it to my "Read" list.

So the content in Crucial Conversations is transformative. The power is not in the idea that some conversations are difficult or crucial, or even that we generally handle them poorly. The value is in the clear description of the model for how to handle crucial conversations. It is still difficult, but I have told new stories to myself and supported continued dialogue in many situations. My results with the content have made me a firm believer that this book is a must read for anyone who wants to improve the quality of communication with those around them.

So why didn't I give 5 stars if I'm such a fan? Well, I believe that I got a lot of value from this book in part due to other content I have come in contact with. Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Getting Past No, and others have provided many frameworks and situations that leverage the crucial conversations skills. With a 4-star rating I'm admitting that there are some situational applications that aren't covered by this book. Add those other titles to your reading list, and you'll get 5 stars worth of value out of this one for yourself.