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Book review: Crucial Conversations

This book is so great that you should buy two copies of it. Seriously. Start with the audiobook. After all, this is a book about conversations, so listening and thinking in terms of conversation makes sense. Then, pick up a copy of the book to read so that you can review the book’s frequently used acronyms and conversations methods. Put those two ways of learning together and Crucial Conversations is a powerful set of tools for improving your communication at home and at work.

The trouble with a book like this is that it’s a set of guidelines for a daily practice. You can’t just read the book, start implementing a method, and roll from there. Instead, you now have the responsibility to reflect on conversations while you’re having them which is super-hard. But the results? They can’t be beat.

My favorite sections from the book include Chapter 7’s advice on how to use the STATE method (S – Share your facts, T – Tell your story, A – Ask for other’s paths, T – Talk Tentatively, E – Encourage testing) and Chapter 10’s examples of extra-tough conversations, especially the advice on what to do when someone isn’t showing initiative (hint: deal with the overall pattern of behavior, not a specific instance). Want a pithy Twitter thread? There isn’t one. Just my heartfelt recommendation that you read this book.

Book: Crucial Conversations
Authors: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
Get the book: Bookshop Santa Cruz, Amazon, Google Books

Review by Abi Jones

Abi Jones is the UX Manager for Imaging & Diagnostics in Google Health. She leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers and designers focused on using artificial intelligence to assist in diagnosing cancer and preventing blindness.
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