A while back, I was looking for books about dealing with confrontation. I ended up finding one on Amazon that had really great reviews: Crucial Confrontations by Kerry Paterson et al.. I picked it up from the library and excitedly started to read.

It started off on the right track – promising that I will learn various techniques on how to deal with sticky situations. Confrontations don’t have to be aggressive or scary (which is what I’m always afraid of), that they are merely interactions in which one holds someone else accountable for their actions.

However, as I continued to read, I noticed a common theme: they were great about defining what problems people encounter in confrontations, but not specifically how to address them. They would say that the problems should be addressed, but no concrete advice was given.

A lot of the information is also plain common sense. What I ended up learning was that my confrontation techniques were just fine. It’s more that I need help when other people have bad techniques (such as abuse of power/authority, choosing wrong issue to confront, confront for no reason or don’t give reasons, etc..). The book did not address this whatsoever.

I noted a couple weeks ago that I’m starting to realize that self-help books aren’t helpful at all (unless you’re the 1% of people that the advice is tailored specifically for). This books was one of the reasons for that post. I was questioning my confrontation abilities, and thought I could learn about this from a book. But, when I read the book, nothing helped, and then I felt even more confused!

I think this will be my last “self-help” book I read in a while. I just think they make me question my abilities too much, and that’s a bigger problem than where I started!

I would not recommend this book to anyone, but there were a couple of interesting nuggets. 2/5.


Comments on: "Crucial Confrontations: A Book Review" (3)

  1. I think you hit the nail there. It's not a problem havinga confrontation is the other party is ok with have the discussion/talk. Or you being in the control situation.

    It's just that most of the times, it's the aviodance or the “other people” who are creating the main problem that will make it hard on you…and yes, if you come up with how to deal with that, let me know 😉 I want to know.

    (and now you have a squash 😀 )


  2. I believe that personal experience is the best self-help tool. Seeing how others handled similar situations also helps, but my own style that I've developed over the years usually works best and feels most comfortable. This is especially true when dealing with confrontation, when so many ways can be “right”, depending on your personality. Books seem to offer either a quick fix (that doesn't work) or no fix at all.


  3. What I ended up learning was that my confrontation techniques were just fine.
    Sounds like the book did help, if not quite in the way you were hoping for.


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