Optimal Outcomes: Free Yourself from Conflict at Work, at Home, and in Life

Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler. HarperBusiness, $29.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-289365-9
Organizational psychologist Goldman-Wetzler (Emotions in Long-term Conflict) delivers a crisp, all-bases-covered look at reframing and redirecting conflict-driven conversations. Her focus is on intra-group conflict, beginning with examples from her family—she recounts a seemingly anodyne phone call from her mother that led to a weeklong tiff—before moving on to disputes that arise between colleagues in the workplace. Conflict can’t, and shouldn’t, be avoided entirely, she asserts, but the anger that fuels it has to be dealt with productively, lest it turn into aggression. For the conflict management course Goldman-Wetzler teaches at Columbia, she has developed a set of eight practices for breaking the “conflict loop.” The book feels like a handbook from one of her classes, as she guides readers through her process, from identifying habits that come into conflict with others, to (literally) mapping out the players and causes in a dispute, and setting out a plan for avoiding conflicts in future. Framed with directions to additional online resources and a kind but no-nonsense tone, this succinct and focused guide is a boon to anyone looking to turn arguments into negotiations and negotiations into agreement. Agent: Lisa DiMona, Writers House. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/19/2019
Release date: 02/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-06-289366-6
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