“Crucial Conversations” by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler

Subtitle: Tools for talking when stakes are high

Recommended to me by: Pair Programming is Built on Crucial Conversations

The first chapter made me wary, trying too hard to convince me that dialogue is important. I already knew that. But then the book started offering new ideas.

Crucial conversations have opposing opinions, strong emotions, […]

“The Radical Acceptance of Everything” by Ann Weiser Cornell

Subtitle: Living a Focusing Life

Recommended to me by: Ann Weiser Cornell’s website

I bought this book because of my excitement about The Power of Focusing. I was not disappointed.

These essays by Ann Weiser Cornell and her working partner Barbara McGavin describe both the theory and practice of Inner Relationship Focusing, as well […]

“The Mother’s Voice” by Kathy Weingarten

Subtitle: Strengthening Intimacy in Families

I read this by coincidence, and it fits perfectly with themes I’ve been thinking about lately. Kathy Weingarten, a family therapist, addresses double binds that society creates for women around acceptable roles and definitions of success. She talks about dominating behaviors in men and how to address them. She weaves […]

“I Thought We’d Never Speak Again” by Laura Davis

Subtitle: The Road from Estrangement to Reconciliation

Recommended to me by: Laura Davis’s website

Laura Davis is co-author of the classic book about healing from incest, “The Courage to Heal.”

This book is written with compassionate awareness that not all stories have happy endings and not all estrangements can be reconciled. Nevertheless, I cried […]

“Undefended Love” by Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons

A thought-provoking book, more profound than I expected. Refreshingly, both same-gender and opposite-gender couples are used for the examples.

The authors warn several times to be sure a relationship is not abusive before using it as a crucible for personal work. This is a warning that’s missing from most relationship books I’ve read, which […]

“The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman

Subtitle: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures

Recommended to me by: Emily Ross

This is a beautifully written history of the Hmong people from Laos in the 20th century, interwoven with the story of one Hmong family who took refuge in Merced, California. Their daughter Lia Lee had […]

“Nasty People” by Jay Carter

Subtitle: How to stop being hurt by them without becoming one of them

Re-read while writing my double bind article.

The first half of this book talks about invalidators and how subtle and awful they can be. The tone is affirming and validating for those who have been invalidated in the past.

The second […]

“Writing the Other” by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward

Subtitle: A Practical Approach

Recommended to me by: reading Nisi Shawl’s other book “Filter House”

I felt so warmed and included by Nisi Shawl’s writing in “Filter House” that I was eager to read “Writing the Other.” I wanted both to learn how to write inclusively, and to experience more of that included feeling.

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“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria” by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.

Subtitle: And Other Conversations About Race

Recommended to me by: Kate Nepveu’s article How to Discuss Race and Racism Without Acting Like a Complete Jerk

Dr. Tatum, a research psychologist and current President of Spellman College, answers the title question compassionately and thoroughly, creating a framework to think and talk constructively about race. She alternates […]

“Totally Tolerant” by Diane Webber and Laurie Mandel

Subtitle: Spotting and stopping prejudice

A brief, photo-filled book with concrete advice for teens on embracing diversity and overcoming prejudice. Adults can benefit from this book as well.

As you can see on the cover, the photos strongly support the book’s message, showing people of a variety of skin colors, genders, and ethnicities.

Diversity […]