“Crucial Conversations”

By: Mike Schneid

In the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by  Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler, there are many different ways to communicate that are explored.  The book is a New York Times bestseller and is often praised for what it teaches.  To begin my review of this book, there is more of a learning reason to read this book than for pure entertainment.  However the things that are taught in the book can really help one learn to feel more confident and comfortable with all sorts of different types of conversation.  It also helps one develop skills to have positive relationships with other people. 

This book is very well written by all of the authors and really gives a nice step by step guide on how to perform all types of communication in many different circumstances.  This book also teaches you how to perform tough tasks such as ending a relationship and also talking about something important with your boss.  Its lessons help everyone who reads become a better and more confident communicator and it improves a skill that everyone can get a little improvement on and can teach people from any age.    

After reading each section of the book it summarizes all the steps you have to take to perform a certain task such as in the book such as a good time to know when safety could be a risk, the authors summarize the whole section called “Learn to Look” where it lists all the necessary steps to evaluate safety (Patterson,Grenny, McMillan,and Switzler 63).This can be very useful because each one of the sections has very important facts that are necessary to be learned for the final product which is how to converse and do it properly.  Also if something in the section was confusing the summary can usually help you figure out what happened in that section.

While teaching the steps to become a better and more confident speaker is a large portion of    Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, there are also real life scenarios that are presented to help you better understand exactly what is happening.  An example of one of these conversations involves a wife and husband discussing a suspicious bill from a hotel that is just down the street from their house the ending goes as; “Carol ‘I know that you have given me no reason to question your fidelity.  I don’t really believe that you’re having an affair.[Contrasting] It’s just that it might help put my mind to rest if we were to check on this right now.  Would that bother you?[Encourages testing]’ Bob: ‘Not at all let’s give them a call and find out what is going on.’ (Patterson,Grenny, McMillan,and Switzler 137).  Through this example one is able to take away how to handle a tough conversation without accusing someone of a wrongdoing, and instead trying to understand and discover a solution to a problem.  Also it gives the techniques used in the conversation by using the brackets.

The book also uses various charts and diagrams to show the proper order to go about each of the tasks that are presented.  An example is when it takes you step by step in a chart of how proper dialogue should occur in a chart called the “dialogue model”.  These can be very useful in the understanding how each of the ways to communicate work and the order that you when having conversation.

Other people who have reviewed the book have also been blown away with the real world applications that it brings.  In one book review written by Scott C. Smith, a managing partner at Tower-Hunter Inc. he describes how useful this book can be in the business world.  He says, “I have read or perused almost all of them, but Crucial Conversations is the first business book I carry with me because of its applications to all aspects of my life. I reflected on my marriage, my kids, my community obligations and my consulting practice while I read it” (Smith).   This reflection shows that even someone who is well versed can improve their communication in different aspects of their lives.

In conclusion I would not recommend this book for entertainment due to it having a feel of a textbook at some points.  However the lessons taught in it can be beneficial to any part of a person’s life and for that reason I recommend this book to anyone.  It is also relatively cheap and can be bought from Amazon from $0.18 used or $3.88 used.   Overall I would highly recommend this book as it is well worth the read for the cheap price.

Works Cited:

Scherffius Jakes, Susan. “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High.”FFCI ::. 1 Oct. 2009. Web. 3 Apr. 2015.

Smith, Scott C. “Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High.” People & Strategy June 2010: 62+. Academic OneFile. Web. 3 Apr. 2015.

Thurson, Elizabeth. “Elizabeth Thorson’s Book Reviews – Crucial Conversations By: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Granny, Ron McMillan & Al Switzler.” Elizabeth Thorson’s Book Reviews – Crucial Conversations By: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Granny, Ron McMillan & Al Switzler. Web. 2 Apr. 2015


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