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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Redesigning Conversations by Bill Ash is a non-fiction self-help book and 'A Guide To Communicating Effectively in the Family, Workplace, and Society.' In short, knowing how to communicate is not the same as knowing how to communicate effectively, and most of us are guilty of speaking in a manner that does not meaningfully convey our message and, therefore, our message is not heard. As the Nobel Prize-winning playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Ash builds the framework of change into five distinct and interconnecting parts, each with an exhaustive degree of case studies, personal scenarios, verifiable resources, and actionable guidance that falls into The Evolving Family, Workplace and Society, Noticing and Re-authoring Our Scripts and Opinions, Learning, Our Listening and Speaking, and Conversations in Society.
As someone who was born and raised in one English-speaking country and moved to another as an adult, I had to basically learn an entirely new way of communicating. I often joked that the source of stress in my marriage was that we were divided by a common language. He once stood on a ladder asking for a torch and I was unable to assist because I called it a flashlight. I argued why calling it a torch made no sense and it inevitably lead to frustration, which turned into an argument. I was simply unwilling to learn to communicate in a new landscape. I hadn't expected to connect in this way, but in chapter eight Bill Ash goes into detail about his journey of awareness and empathy when he and his wife were expecting a child, and where his roadblocks are in releasing systemic patriarchy from his mindset and communication. My 'enemy of learning' was releasing decades of American exceptionalism that were so ingrained in my psyche that I wasn't totally willing to learn, adapt, and grow in this country, or with this man, both of whom had openly embraced me. The reality is that redesigning our conversations is more intense than I believed before reading Redesigning Conversations, but the work starts now. Today. And I am grateful to have found my guide. Very highly recommended.