I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway and received a review copy from the author. This does not affect my rating or opinions.
Summary: What if making one tweak to your day-to-day conversations could immediately improve every relationship in your life? In this 3-hour, conversational read, you’ll discover the whats, whys, and hows of one of the most valuable (yet surprisingly little-known) communication skills — validation.
Whether you’re looking to improve your relationship with your spouse, navigate difficult conversations at work, or connect on a deeper level with friends and family, this book delivers simple, practical, proven techniques for improving any relationship in your life.
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Personal Development, Relationships
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The introduction was a little off-putting, in terms of writing style; Sorensen includes a disclaimer that he’s not a writer, and (being quite pedantic) I got a little tripped up by the overly descriptive language and cliches. Most relevantly, the suggested lines and dialogue samples don’t quite read as natural and border on generic, which doesn’t help the point about using them to replace the standard platitudes (“It could be worse,” etc).
But he’s clearly done some research — and admits upfront that the book is primarily based on personal experience rather than scientific backing, which doesn’t completely invalidate his advice but, in my opinion, does make it less credible, especially since the majority of his example conversations are theoretical.
Not that I’m an expert either, but I had some fundamental disagreements with some of the suggestions. Explaining that you relate to the other person’s experience is all well and good, but not enough emphasis was given to how easy it is to make it about yourself (and I thought his examples did fall on that side, even if he does “redirect” to his conversational partner at the end). And as I understand “I statements,” the point isn’t to preface exactly what you were going to say otherwise — “I feel that you never take out the trash,” for example, will probably still put the addressee on the defensive — but rather to reframe the situation: “I feel like my time isn’t valued because I end up having to do most of the chores. If you could take out the trash earlier, it would help.”
Thankfully this book was a short one, the kind you can get through in a single sitting. Which is intentional, so you can “immediately start applying” his Four-Step Method in real life — which I thought was a little presumptuous, but then again it’s a fair assumption that you picked up this book because you wanted to learn and apply its contents.