August 27, 2010

Book Review: What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication (Judith Hanson Lasater and Ike Lasater)

What We Say Matters:Practicing Nonviolent Communication draws from Marshall Rosenberg’s work with Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and builds on it by connecting NVC to concepts within both yoga and Buddhism.

The book includes a basic introduction to NVC for those not familiar with it that can serve as a reminder for those who are, as well as a discussion of how NVC connects to ahimsa and satya of yoga as well as the principle of right speech of Buddhism. Each chapter ends with suggested exercises for practice as the intent of this book is that the reader implement the lessons into his or her life rather than acting as an academic text for study.

The book is written in the first person, which is not a problem in and of itself, but the frequent identification of the speaker through the use of “I (Judith)…” can be distracting at times and is largely unnecessary. There is a list of reading and NVC resources at the end of the book, but a more extensive list beyond the NVC center in New Mexico and the NVC group in Oakland would have been useful. Additionally, there is no small irony in having a book about NVC printed and bound in China, a region of the world not exactly known for its use or encouragement of free and supportive communication.

In spite of these shortcomings, What We Say Matters is definitely recommended for those who wish to more fully implement ahimsa and satya, or right speech into their lives, for those interested in NVC, or for anyone looking for a better way to communicate in their relationships with others.

From Rodmell Press and available at your local, independent bookseller. (Shop local, shop independent, and tell ‘em you saw it on Elephant Journal!)

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