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Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan And Al Switzler—Book Review

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan And Al Switzler

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan And Al Switzler

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Rating: 5 out of 5

Most anyone can make small talk, but high stakes conversations are much more difficult and can make even the very brave freeze up. Crucial Conversations teaches you how to approach difficult conversations in a way that helps everybody win. The purchase of this book includes free access to an interactive website and supplemental education. It was originally written almost twenty years ago, and it was updated ten years ago. Today, the authors are still working on this project and regularly update their website with improvements and new insights.
The book also includes worksheets and tests you can use to assess yourself and build a plan to make yourself a better communicator during the crucial conversations that can change your life.


The skills in this book are powerful but they often require personal change that can be difficult. This book has a lot of science and a lot of art. As a result, once you learn the skills, you have to practice them regularly to keep them sharp and at their best.

Bottom Line

Crucial Conversations is one of the most important books I have ever read. No matter how many times I read it, I learn something new every time. If you want to improve your business and personal relationships, I would put Crucial Conversations at the top of your reading list.

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Why Read Crucial Conversations?

Learning how to have successful conversations when the stakes are high is a skill that will radically change your life. These skills are not just useful in high-stakes negotiations. They can help you build better relationships with family, friends, and intimate partners, too. When you understand what a crucial conversation is and how to have one effectively, you are more likely to find solutions where everyone wins. Millions of people have already benefited from the ideas in this book. Keep reading so you can find out what Crucial Conversations have to offer.

Crucial Conversations Book Summary – 2000 Books

Increase Your Understanding of How to be Persuasive

There are already hundreds of books on how to speak well, so why should Crucial Conversations receive more attention? While many useful books have already been written on the topic, Crucial Conversations uses cutting edge science to identify the areas most important to improvement. The authors have distilled their collective knowledge from more than twenty-five years of study on the subject to bring you something truly unique.

Two friends talking sitting in a couch in the living room with a window.
What Makes This Book So Valuable Comes From Where They Place Their Emphasis (Image Source: Shutterstock)

The skills you will learn in this book are well-known and have been studied in-depth. What makes this book so valuable comes from where they place their emphasis. All the hard work in the world won’t matter if you miss the crucial moments that have the most impact.

In order to be persuasive, you have to start with yourself. This will help you find out what you really want so you will know where to keep your focus. Once you know what you want for yourself, you will be better able to understand what others want and need. 

This inward journey is not easy, but it’s essential to improving your ability to communicate. How can you have a good conversation if you don’t know what you really want? I recommend finding a good wellness book to get started.

In order to have influence, you need to build a constructive dialogue. This requires using the safety-first approach. If someone doesn’t feel safe in your conversation, they will stop communicating and your dialogue will break down. You will find it easier to have a meeting of the minds when the person you are talking to feels like you share common goals and mutual respect.   

Learn How to Take Responsibility

Everybody wants to be in charge, but most people don’t want to be responsible when things go wrong. A crisis is a golden opportunity because there is a fine line between being responsible for a problem and having a job with a lot of responsibility.

Businesswoman talking to clients make business offer explain deal benefit.
When Others Feel Safe, They Will Be More Likely To Share Important Information (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Once you have taken responsibility for the problem, it will put other people at ease. You can then work on finding common ground and identifying areas of disagreement. When others feel safe, they will be more likely to share important information. The more you know about a problem, the easier it is to find productive solutions. 

My favorite method for learning how to take responsibility is to take control of your diet and exercise. 

I recommend this Thinner, Leaner, Stronger review to women who are looking to improve their physical health. It’s a great resource to help you get organized and on track. Another option is to participate in exercise groups like yoga, Tai Chi, or jogging and running groups.

Keeping track of your progress in a journal helps you be more responsible. This is especially popular with people who do yoga. As you learn more yoga forms and improve your flexibility, a journal helps you know what forms and poses you should try next. It also makes sure you know which forms are too advanced for your current level of development. A yoga journal not only helps you celebrate your progress but can help keep you on track and motivated.   Entrepreneurs can learn how to be more responsible by seeking out the best startup business book. If you are just starting out or don’t know where to begin, the right book may mean the difference between success and failure. Even if you’re already your own boss, the benefits of reading educational books can help you streamline your operation and achieve better results.

I have integrated Crucial Conversations as part of the 1AND1 Life corporate leadership training program. Along with other resources, our goal is to create healthier corporate teams to create better work environments and better outcomes for customers and employees.

According to the book, crucial conversations have three main ingredients: mutual purpose, mutual respect, and free-flowing dialogue. Under normal conditions, these ingredients are easy to acquire and maintain, but most people don’t even do it when it’s easy. Delivering bad news and knowing how to negotiate well are essential elements of crucial conversations. A good companion book that teaches related skills for entrepreneurs is Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

A casual conversation turns crucial when there is a difference of opinion, the stakes are high, or emotions are running high. Once one of these three elements emerges, the others are usually close behind.

The skills you need to have crucial conversations are easy to spot. They’re also not difficult to learn. So why don’t more people have these skills? They just don’t know. That is why this book is so popular. If you read it and follow the exercises, you will immediately get better. The deeper changes require a strong emotional investment and can be painful, but you can see positive results from just casual implementation. 

It’s important to know when something is going to have an influence on your life. The bad news you get can be very upsetting, so if you have to deliver bad news it’s important you be careful. 

Finding a mediator can be helpful if you don’t already have a relationship of trust with the other person. When that isn’t possible, there are still good tools you can use to have a productive conversation. I Hope You’ve Learned Something Today From My Crucial Conversations Book Review

Reading Crucial Conversations changed my life, and I’ve watched it transform people and businesses for many years. Once you have mastered the skills behind crucial conversations, I bet you will look back and say the same. This book doesn’t just teach you how to talk better, it teaches you how to listen better and have more self-control.

How good are you at avoiding arguments and having meaningful conversations? I recommend you get a copy of Crucial Conversations and start reading it today. Take notes, and come back to them often to check your progress. If you give it a try, it just might change your life.