Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fierce Conversations -- Susan Scott ---------------------- 3.5 Stars

This book was on my list of a work type book that still might be an interesting read.  As you can imagine from the title, Fierce Conversations, this book is about having more open, and forward conversations in work and in life.  It had a pretty good model on how to do that but one that if you followed all the way through, might make life a bit crazy.

So, this is a sort of typical self-help book with a bit more flavor to it with the author giving some interesting anecdotes from her time helping people be more open.  Basically, the book is suggesting that in all conversations, people should be honest and to the points; always considering 'what is the most important thing we should be talking about right now'.  The book has about 6-7 chapters that help explain how to have these conversations and what happens after.

On a positive, her very clearly detailed explanations for how you have a 'fierce conversation' was excellent.  She literally explains every step and how to prepare prior to the conversations and how to have them.  I also really enjoyed the later chapters in the book about dealing with the 'emotional wake' of these conversations and allowing silence to have some value and importance.  The book is told in a pretty easy way to understand and her use of stories from her experience teaching people how to do this, really did make the book more enjoyable.

What wasn't great about the book was the intense focus in the first half about the actual conversations.  I am all about being open and truthful but it sometimes felt like the author was living in a world where pleasantries and small talk don't exist.  To say some of her ideas are a bit 'intense' is an understatement.  Again, the general idea is good, but it was kind of overwhelming to read page after page about how to change conversations to be 'fierce'.  Frankly it would be exhausting to do at all times (both mentally and emotionally).

Overall, this is a book that is definitely worth the read if you would like some useful and practical strategies to better set up and have good conversations.  Although a bit intense and very detailed and clear with suggestions, there are some good ideas, especially in the last part of the book.  Just be careful not to go too crazy with the suggestions or you might find that the friends you had might not be as friendly any more. 

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