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Drawing on advice from the world’s leading experts on conflict and communication—from relationship scientists to hostage negotiators to diplomats—Ian Leslie, a columnist for the New Statesman, shows us how to transform the heat of conflict, disagreement and argument into the light of insight, creativity and connection, in a book with vital lessons for the home, workplace, and public arena.
For most people, conflict triggers a fight or flight response. Disagreeing productively is a hard skill for which neither evolution or society has equipped us. It’s a skill we urgently need to acquire; otherwise, our increasingly vociferous disagreements are destined to tear us apart. Productive disagreement is a way of thinking, perhaps the best one we have. It makes us smarter and more creative, and it can even bring us closer together. It’s critical to the success of any shared enterprise, from a marriage, to a business, to a democracy. Isn’t it time we gave more thought to how to do it well?
In an increasingly polarized world, our only chance for coming together and moving forward is to learn from those who have mastered the art and science of disagreement. In this book, we’ll learn from experts who are highly skilled at getting the most out of highly charged encounters: interrogators, cops, divorce mediators, therapists, diplomats, psychologists. These professionals know how to get something valuable – information, insight, ideas—from the toughest, most antagonistic conversations. They are brilliant communicators: masters at shaping the conversation beneath the conversation. They know how to turn the heat of conflict into the light of creativity, connection, and insight.
In this much-need book, Ian Leslie explores what happens to us when we argue, why disagreement makes us stressed, and why we get angry. He explains why we urgently need to transform the way we think about conflict and how having better disagreements can make us more successful. By drawing together the lessons he learns from different experts, he proposes a series of clear principles that we can all use to make our most difficult dialogues more productive—and our increasingly acrimonious world a better place.
Everyone is born curious. But only some retain the habits of exploring, learning, and discovering as they grow older. Those who do so tend to be smarter, more creative, and more successful. But at the very moment when the rewards of curiosity have never been higher, it is misunderstood and undervalued, and increasingly monopolized by the cognitive elite. A "curiosity divide" is opening up.
In Curious, Ian Leslie makes a passionate case for the cultivation of our "desire to know." Drawing on fascinating research from psychology, economics, education, and business, Leslie looks at what feeds curiosity and what starves it, and finds surprising answers. Curiosity is a mental muscle that atrophies without regular exercise and a habit that parents, schools, and workplaces need to nurture.
Filled with inspiring stories, case studies, and practical advice, Curious will change the way you think about your own mental life, and that of those around you.