Books that I’ve finished recently

solving tough problems

Solving tough problems 7/10

“Our job as a facilitator is to help participants speak up, listen up, and bring all their personal resources to the work at hand”.


You don’t want to talk. You are always constantly reloading “my rebuttals”


In a dictatorship, the dictator does not listen and people are afraid to talk. The results are pessimism, cynicism, lack of self-confident and self-management.

“The root of not listening is knowing.”

Authoritarian rest on the assumption that the boss can and does know the right.

Some people “think”, other people “do.

How does one learn good judgement? Experience. And how does one learn good experience? Bad judgement.

A conflict that does not move positively, it does negatively.

Talking politely

Being an expert is a severe impediment to listening and learning.

Politeness is a way of not talking. “We say what we think we should say”.

Politeness maintains the status quo.


We are willing to expose ourselves to something new from others.

Deep and dangerous conflict isn’t usually the result of your “rational argument” versus my “rational argument”. It’s the result of your “rational argument” hitting my blind spot and vice versa.

We should [….] listen to those we consider “the enemy” with the same openness, non-judgement and compassion we listen to those with whom our sympathies lie.

“Peer only events.. have little effect on the larger system”


Receptive to new ideas and willingness to be influenced and changed.

Separate yourself from your ideas.

“I am not my ideas, and so you and I can reject my ideas without rejecting me”

It was a tragedy to lose the best days of your life, but you learned a lot. You have to think to stand away from the distance, to see yourself from the contradictions in yourself.

Scenarios are what-if stories to play with.

DYNAMIC: address the whole situation in terms of cause and effect.

GENERATIVE: address the ways the future might be different from the past.

SOCIAL: space for alternatives. Not just one “official future”. Different perspectives. Different people of the system.

We must see what we ourselves are doing. It’s not enough to be observers of the problem situation; we must recognize ourselves as actors who influence the outcome.

“if you are not part of the problem. You cano¡t be part of the solution”

If we are unable to see how what we are doing or not doing is contributing to things being the way they are, then logically we have no basis at all […] for changing the way things are except for the outside by persuasion or FORCE


Approach to leading workshops and affecting change did not work from the outside and the top, but from the inside and the bottom.

Empathy is […] not focus on ideas but also on feelings, values and intentions.

“I cannot interact properly with others unless we see the as fellow humans”


“The biggest challenge  of listening is quieting down our internal chatter”

The way to listening is to stop talking. One reason we cannot hear what others are saying is that their voices are drowned out by our internal voices.


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