Summary

One person talks; the other listens. It's so basic that we take it for granted. Unfortunately, most of us think of ourselves as better listeners than we actually are. Why do we so often fail to connect when speaking with family members, romantic partners, colleagues, or friends? How do emotional reactions get in the way of real communication? This thoughtful, witty, and empathic book has already helped over 100,000 people break through conflicts and transform their personal and professional relationships. Experienced therapist Michael P. Nichols, PhD, provides vivid examples, easy-to-learn techniques, and practical exercises for becoming a better listener and making yourself heard and understood, even in difficult situations.
©2009 Michael P. Nichols (P)2016 Tantor
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Critic reviews

"This is more than a good book; it is a vital manual for any of us who would either like to feel good about our relationships or avoid dying before the end of our lives." (Carol M. Anderson, MSW, PhD, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Prof. Mark S. Reed on 18-03-17

Well researched and written

It wasn't clear to me that this book would focus so much on listening to partners and family members, but although I had bought this to help with listening in work settings, I found it so useful for my personal life that I listened to it all.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By R.A. on 28-04-17

Enthralling, powerful and practical - a must!

Any additional comments?

At the time of writing, I have ~200 audible books and have subjected myself to more books on relationship dynamics and psychology than I care to admit. Frankly, I was growing tired of the formulaic approaches that seem so at odds with the complexity of human relationships. >> This book was a delightful change of pace.

About the pace: the narrator is slow, but it's okay. We all know you can adjust the speed as you see fit, and he nails the delivery. I actually thought he was the author because he delivers the content so successfully and convincingly. I think that reflects the quality of the content, itself, as well.

Why so good? The author draws on personal experience both as a therapist, but also as a person who has made mistakes, responded inappropriately and failed to listen; this makes it so much easier to hear him and lends powerful credibility to his message.

& the message is convincing:
- listening doesn't come to us naturally;
- you're probably not as good at it as you think;
- it is *incredibly* important to all your relationships;
- it can be very hard to do; you'll get better with practice;
- it's worth the effort.

All of this is richly illustrated with recognizable examples from very different parts of our lives (family, friends, work, partners etc).

He also introduces many fascinating (and practical) ideas for thinking about relationships and the patterns of communication that can become entrenched in one's life (& how to get out of them).

Despite having read widely, and being very interested in psychology, a few of these ideas / models were completely new to me (in particular the idea of the self as constituted from sub-personalities) - and it was really enjoyable to discover such intuitive and powerful ideas, communicated with such clarity.

Honestly, without providing a thorough analysis of the book, I don't think I could successfully convey how good it is. Suffice to say, I listened to it in 2 days, practically nonstop. I've started to implement some of the exercises he suggests and have seen immediate results in the relationships I value most.

Re: Length & "Repetition"
I know some feel this book was repetitious, but I found the different sections to be
complementary, and any repetition to be functional and valuable.

The editorial choices made mean that the chapters stand well on their own (so one can
easily dip back into a particular chapter and be reminded of key points), and the most
important ideas are revisited, with nuances for different situations being emphasized and
clarified at each stage. Especially valuable are the numerous examples from all sorts of
different types of relationships. I don't have kids, but found myself fascinated by his
explanation of parent-teen dynamics and the traps that we can so easily fall into.


IN SUM:

Important, practical, concise (and yet well-illustrated) & with far-reaching applications from the personal to the professional. Less literary than Irvin D. Yalom's works, but also more down-to-earth, practical & relevant (and I love Yalom's works). & just the right amount of humour sprinkled throughout. Truly one of the books I have most enjoyed since joining Audible.

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73 of 76 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Gillian on 24-04-17

From Tuning Out to Tuning In

Seriously, my husband talks so much I generally listen to only 1/3 of what he has to say. Unfortunately, I noticed this habit has spilled over into other areas of my life. You have to practice the art of listening, and I've been getting sloppy.
"The Lost Art of Listening" is absolutely essential for good relationships. It covers how communication breaks down, why people don't listen (we struggle to suspend our own needs, our biases filter what we hear, emotionality makes us defensive and what we expect to hear clouds what was actually said), to actually getting through to people and making those all important connections that make us feel like yes, we're human, and yes, we count. We need empathy and that only begins with letting go of our assumptions and with being open.
The book also covers how to listen in context: how to communicate with partners, family members, children (even teenagers!), and friends and colleagues.
While this is an essential book, please note that it truly could've used some editing. You'll hear a lot repeated but, as someone who tunes out two-thirds of the world around her, I guess that's kinda necessary ( >sheepish grin< ).

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88 of 94 people found this review helpful

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