The Book Club: Crucial Conversations

A recent Twitter conversation with @punkmik, @bangser.a and @jcharlton sparked the creation of this category on the Club and this very thread to help provide an online forum for a book club.

So, have you read Crucial Conversations? Would you recommend it to others? What parts of the book stood out to you the most?


I love love love Crucial Conversations. But how are we doing this book club thing? I finished it a few months ago, got tons of notes but don’t want to spoil it for those of you who are halfway through. My most memorable takeaway is the categorization of violence and silence. I have called out unsafe discussions and approaches in both categories that are not adding meaning to the pool of discussion much more after reading the book.

Fair question, I think as this is online, base it off the assumption that people here are okay with spoilers or else have read the book. Probably the easiest way to approach it :slight_smile:

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My boss suggested this book for one of my team so I’ve been meaning to read it. First problem is I’m terrible at finding time to read, the second problem is I’ve got three other books on my backlog :slight_smile:

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I recommend this book to testers (there are many such books on topics other than testing that I find a “good read” for testers).

I appreciate the framework of planning for a crucial conversation. It allows me to quiet my own thoughts and plan for an exploration rather than confrontation. I favor Start with the Heart which helps center what I need and think about the benefit I believe it can bring both parties.

I also recommend a Crucial Conversations mailing list. Weekly, they respond to scenarios with the tools outlined in the book.

Lastly, I recommend a book by the same authors called The Influencer.

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I’ve got the audiobook but only listened to about 30mins of it. This might be the nudge I need to get me listening finally


@mcgovernaine recommended audio books to me. I think they might be a better format because I can “read” while I make dinner or walk or something like that.

Audiobooks for the way forward. If something of interest comes up - I’ll also take a screenshot so I can come back to it, or mark it. If it sparks an idea I’ll record a quick audio into my evernote if I’m out walking or jot it down if I’m in the house.

OK, so I’ve just ordered it- once I’ve received it and had a chance to start reading, I’ll return with comments.

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I’m a huge listener of podcasts but I can’t listen to audiobooks as I struggle to catch up if I lose concentration for a few minutes :see_no_evil:

I listened to the audiobook during my long commutes probably over the space of a week, this book is just fantastic. The silence & violence elements were really interesting and the concept of creating a “safe” space to talk has really helped me understand why people can find some conversations just impossible (whether they are displaying the silence or violence traits). Also, I think the part where they discuss the notion of feelings and facts - that your feelings are created by yourself by the story you tell yourself based on your perception of facts - it’s made me stop and reflect a lot more rather than running off too far with overthinking.

I bought this book thinking it would help me in some career/professional way but in fact it’s helped on a personal level and I find myself using it to analyse situations and avoid unnecessary conflict - definitely recommend it!


Yay @heather_reid thanks for getting this started! I have been away for a week but am definitely excited to get some chat going on about this as I clearly am someone who would recommend it :slight_smile:

I haven’t read it in nearly 18 months, but am thinking about a 3rd go round soon so if we are planning anything as a “read and chat as we go” style book club I will for sure join. Do we have a way forward for the book club? Or just keep this thread going?

As for what “stood out” to me the most, I think mainly is the fact that it is so helpful to reread it when I am at new and different stages of learning/interaction. The most recent reading really highlighted for me how to identify when I am getting worked up in a conversation (my chest gets tight, my elbows start to hurt probably from tensing muscles) so that I can have a chance of overcoming that risk of reacting rather than discussing.

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This book has been extremely helpful to me the last two years. Read it, then use it as a manual to refer to from time to time. My only problem with the book was that the examples were a bit hetero-normative. Where it was usually a male/female conversation, I would like to see more examples relationships/conversations which are not in that context.


I’m about half way through this and I’m loving it. Noticing the heteronormative stuff as well @melthetester, but overall enjoying it. Noticing a lot of stuff (good and bad) in my own work and personal life. Definitely one to keep coming back to! I love the idea of people naming their feelings properly and openly, even if just to themselves.

I also really like the Clever Story -> Useful Story transformation. It’s something I’ve been doing a lot in therapy without really putting words to it. I find it really useful to do in general and definitely going to pay more attention to this going forward


At our company they provided the book and an interactive course to go along with it. It has been a huge help and I recommend this book.

First, really liked how this book helps you understand your biases and how that impacts communication. A lot of other books go into more detail, like Thinking Fast and Slow, but this summarizes the topic well. It will help you to focus on yourself as opposed to the other person. The tips for how to approach these conversations and how to adjust based on feedback are excellent as well. I am very big fan of the mirroring technique, has helped to continue to a crucial conversation to get to the root cause of a few problems. CPR is also a good technique focus in on a required conversation.