cover image A Good Apology: Four Steps to Make Things Right

A Good Apology: Four Steps to Make Things Right

Molly Howes. Grand Central, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5387-0131-7

In this inviting debut, clinical psychologist Howes uses her experience to provide advice for better apologies. She argues that “relationships are like a contact sport: We frequently bang and bruise one another, often without meaning to cause harm. If we want to participate fully, we need to develop the skills to recover from the inevitable hurts and get back in the game—hopefully together.” She guides readers through the steps of a good apology—listen, sincerely take responsibility, make amends, and make changes to reduce future mistakes—and explains potential pitfalls in the process and reasons why the seemingly simple steps can be so difficult to institute. Throughout, Howes illustrates her principles with stories of clients who have repaired serious relationship rifts. She also provocatively explores incidents in which apologies, successful and unsuccessful, have played out on a public stage, such as apologies professed during the #MeToo movement and debates over racial reparations. Each chapter concludes with a box of straightforward summary and practice scripts—which are worth the price of the book in themselves. Those looking for a way to say sorry and mean it will learn much from Howe’s approachable demystification of the art of the apology. (July)