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Review: Crucial Conversations

Crucial Conversations

By: Patterson, Greeny, McMillan, Switzler

This has been a highly impactful book for me and is one of my favorite books to recommend.  Even if you only spend an hour or two in it, you will learn to recognize a crucial conversation and have some techniques to help navigate it successfully.  I even asked my sons to read this book, and they both thought it gave them some valuable insights. 

I consider this an important “finance book” because the ability to manage difficult conversations about money in a marriage or negotiating salary at work can have a high impact on our financial outcomes. 

The authors begin by defining a crucial conversation as a situation with: opposing views, strong emotions and high stakes.  These are situations where the consequences of handling them poorly can have a high impact on our quality of life.  Additionally, when stakes are high, emotion generally doesn’t help us successfully navigate these situations.  Essentially, as the authors put it, “when it matters most, we tend to do our worst.” 

The techniques and concepts in this book are great for a couple wanting (or needing) to discuss finances together in a constructive way.  Discussions of money can quickly become difficult as there are usually all three parts of a crucial conversation: opposing views, strong emotions and high stakes.

In these crucial conversations there are three end results.  1) We have the conversation and it goes well.  2) We have the conversation and it doesn’t go well or makes matters worse.  3) We simply don’t have the conversation.  The authors of this book found that there are a few skills that can be used to help have better conversations and have better outcomes. 

This book is for:  Everyone!  The techniques in this book will help anyone better handle a difficult conversation or actually have a conversation they have been avoiding.