The more emotional you feel about an issue, the more likely you are to get into a heated argument over it. —Jerry Manney
1. The Author’s Backstory.
The author, Jerry Manney, is currently working as a Psychotherapist in Drug and Alcohol counseling. Throughout his counseling career of over 35 years, he has counseled thousands of individuals and families to improve their lives.
He has also taught graduate and undergraduate level courses at two colleges for seventeen years.
Jerry Manney is originally from Passaic, New Jersey and he now resides with his wife in a small New England town.
2. Why did the Author write the Book?
Jerry Manney is a counselor for over 35 years, during that time I believe he came across many solutions to difficult scenarios that might be applicable to a wide array of people.
Throughout each chapter, he references many strategies that he used while working with individuals during his counseling practice.
Thus, I believe he wrote this book as a way to package his knowledge of conflict resolution into a guide, that can be easily accessible and used by many people to improve the relationships in their lives.
3. What is the Author’s Thesis?
A guide to navigating disagreements, managing emotions, and creating healthier relationships.
4. What is the Author’s Purpose?
The author’s purpose is to help the reader analyze their own behavior through a wide array of activities and to create solutions for improvement.
5. What is the Author’s Conclusion?
I believe the author’s conclusion came from the last few paragraphs of the book. He talked about how we can’t control others’ actions, we can only control our own.
He encourages us to adopt a more positive communicative style with those around us, and as we do, our actions will create a ripple effect. This ripple effect will then encourage future encounters to be more positive than those of the past.
6. What is my Conclusion about the Book?
A strength of the book is that he gave the reader word for word verbal responses to say in different scenarios to improve their relationships.
In Chapter 2, page 20, he talks about the usefulness of a time-out before an argument gets too heated.
He shared that we could respectfully say something like “I know I get off-topic when things get heated;” “I really want to improve our communication, and I think It would be better if we took a break and talked after we’ve both had a chance to cool off.”
In this sense the book is a valuable tool in overcoming specific scenarios, all you have to do is follow the provided scripts you believe in until they become part of your natural behavior.
More than half of the chapters in the book had over 10 subtopics per chapter, making each subtopic in most cases less than or roughly a page. This could be a weakness or a strength depending on the reader.
For me, I prefer to have greater depth from points that are defending the argument of the chapter. Thus in my opinion some ideas weren’t developed as well as they could have.
The subtopic ‘Dealing with Silence‘ on page 78 had only two paragraphs, he gave a short description of what it was and gave instructions on how to deal with it, he said: “When you need a period of silence, briefly state your reason constructively rather than giving a defensive response,” he then went on the give us what we could say in this situation.
I liked this topic because this is something that I have encountered in the past within my own relationships, so I would have appreciated a more detailed story than the one he gave.
I believe the intended audience is anyone who values having positive relations with those around them.
I believe conflict is an inevitable part of life, but with this book, you will be better able to manage it in a positive way.
I found the book to be highly effective in many ways because he not only gave us great insights into the psychology of conflict and how to avoid it, but he also gave us many different action items on how to improve. These action items came in the form of:
Self-reflection questions and activities throughout each chapter
Recording your thoughts in a journal
An example of an activity he gave was the ‘Why do we Argue Questionaire’ in the first chapter. The questionnaire took the form of filling in the missing information, an example includes:
“When I believe I’m right and the other person is wrong, I think I can change their mind, and so I’ll often [insert your pattern]. I tend to do this with [name, relationship]. I would like to [insert your goal]. (page 11)
He then encouraged us to write our thoughts from this questionnaire in our journals. I believe this is quite effective because not only is journal writing a therapeutic exercise, but it also enables us to flesh out situations in writing to get a broader few of what might be wrong and how to fix it.
Overall the book was short and to the point with only 157 pages. The contents were relatable and so it was very easy to read.
WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT TO GET OUT OF THIS BOOK?
You should expect to engage in lots of self-reflection exercises as you read this book, many of which he encourages you to record in your Journal.
Expect many conflict resolution/prevention strategies for adults, teens, and children. I found his insights very realistic and relatable, I could tell that he has had many years of experience on this subject. Overall a great read!
I would give this book a rating of 4.6/5.