One of my book addictions is books about communication. Whether it is as a librarian talking to patrons or communicating with my family, I want to be sure that I am being as clear and kind as possible. That’s why I am totally obsessed with the following books. Each of them has had a huge impact on me both in my personal life, my schooling, and my career. And what’s great is that they each have practical tips and steps to help make talking to each other much easier.
BRAVING THE WILDERNESS: THE QUEST FOR TRUE BELONGING AND THE COURAGE TO STAND ALONE
By Brené Brown
I’m such a fangirl of Dr. Brené Brown! You just have to watch one of her amazing TED talks to discover fascinating research about being vulnerable and communicating with others. In this book she focuses on four principles that challenge what it means to fit in, encouraging people to show up instead of staying quietly on the sideline, and yet do it with courage and vulnerability. This is a super helpful book when dealing with people who don’t share your same values.
CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS: TOOLS FOR TALKING WHEN THE STAKES ARE HIGH
By Kerry Patterson
When you know you have to talk about something hard or difficult do you get angry, go silent, or do you freeze? I hate confrontation and my own personal style is to get really quiet, even when I have something important to say. Now, what if you had a solid set of tools to help you navigate tough discussions while maintaining important work and personal relationships? That is exactly what this book is all about. With important principles to think through like “What do I want for myself, the person, and our relationship?”, this book has practical steps, even dialogues to use, to help you get through hard conversations. This book changed the way I approach the holidays and family reunions. It’s been a lifesaver.
CRUCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY: TOOLS FOR RESOLVING VIOLATED EXPECTATIONS, BROKEN COMMITMENTS, AND BAD BEHAVIOR
By Kerry Patterson
What do you do when your partner, roommate, or child says that they will do something and then doesn’t do it? In this follow-up to CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS, the author discusses how to hold people accountable without shaming them. It has helpful que-cards and dialogues that show you how to establish strong boundaries and hold people responsible if they break them. This book really helped me with family situations and when working in groups both at school and at work.
DARE TO LEAD: BRAVE WORK, TOUGH CONVERSATIONS, WHOLE HEARTS
By Brené Brown
I told you I was a fangirl of Brené Brown. Though this book is geared toward managers, the principles apply to any work or family situation. She says, “A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.” Dr. Brown outlines specific ways to engage in tough conversations without losing your temper, your authenticity, or your respect. Instead of running away from these conversations, she encourages readers lean in with curiosity and really get down to the issues. The examples of how to have a conversation changed the way I approach my spouse and my friends.
START WITH WHY: HOW GREAT LEADERS INSPIRE OTHERS TO TAKE ACTION
By Simon Sinek
Again, this is a management book that has a fabulous TED talk. Simon Sinek talks about that what makes a company great is they start with the “why” of what they do instead of the “how” and the “what”. He gives examples of companies like Apple and the way they make and market their products. He also identifies amazing managers that inspire people with the “why” instead of the “how.” I have learned that a family tends to run like a company and that the principles that help make a company great, can also help a family be great. Having everyone on the same page as to the “why” of our family has really helped with unity and communication.