There are so many great books on conversation, related to conversation, which inspire great conversation… where to start?

Here, I’m simply listing some of the books I’ve found interesting.

On Dialogue by David Bohm, 2004 — Never before has there been a greater need for deeper listening and more open communication to cope with the complex problems facing our organizations, businesses and societies. Renowned scientist David Bohm believed there was a better way for humanity to discover meaning and to achieve harmony. He identified creative dialogue, a sharing of assumptions and understanding, as a means by which the individual, and society as a whole, can learn more about themselves and others, and achieve a renewed sense of purpose.

Dialogue: The art of thinking together by William Isaacs, 1999 — Dialogue provides practical guidelines for one of the essential elements of true partnership–learning how to talk together in honest and effective ways. Reveals how problems between managers and employees, and between companies or divisions within a larger corporation, stem from an inability to conduct a successful dialogue.

Listening by Jonathan Cott, 2020 — “All I really need to do is simply ask a question,” Jonathan Cott occasionally reminds himself. “And then listen.” It sounds simple, but in fact few have taken the art of asking questions to such heights–and depths–as Jonathan Cott, whom Jan Morris called “an incomparable interviewer,” one whose skill, according to the great interviewer and oral historian Studs Terkel, “is artless yet impassioned and knowing.” Collected here are twenty-two of Cott’s most illuminating interviews that encourage readers to listen to film directors and musicians, actors and writers, scientists and visionaries

Community by Peter Block, 2018 — As a response to the increasing violence in our culture, the widening ideological divides, and the growing gap in economic well-being, there is greater awareness that a deeper sense of community is desperately needed. But even as we acknowledge the need to build community, the dominant on-the-ground practices about how to engage people, civically and organizationally, remain essentially unchanged. We still believe community is built with better messaging, more persuasion, and social events for people to get to know each other better. All of which is naïve.

The Advice Trap by Michael Bungay Stanier, 2020 — The Advice Trap is about getting to grips with how to actually change your behaviour so you stay curious a little bit longer. It sounds like it should be easy, but it’s not. You have to tame your Advice Monster, that part of you that jumps in to offer up ideas, opinions, suggestions and advice. And it’s taming your Advice Monster that’s at the heart of this book. But there are also some specific coaching strategies, particularly on how to focus on what matters most.

Crucial Conversations by Switzler, Gregory, McMillan, et al., 2021 — Crucial Conversations provides powerful skills to ensure every conversation―especially difficult ones―leads to the results you want. Written in an engaging and witty style, it teaches readers how to be persuasive rather than abrasive, how to get back to productive dialogue when others blow up or clam up, and it offers powerful skills for mastering high-stakes conversations, regardless of the topic or person.

How to Know a Person by David Brooks, 2023 — As David Brooks observes, “There is one skill that lies at the heart of any healthy person, family, school, community organization, or society: the ability to see someone else deeply and make them feel seen–to accurately know another person, to let them feel valued, heard, and understood.” And yet we humans don’t do this well. All around us are people who feel invisible, unseen, misunderstood. In How to Know a Person, Brooks sets out to help us do better, posing questions that are essential for all of us: If you want to know a person, what kind of attention should you cast on them? What kind of conversations should you have? What parts of a person’s story should you pay attention to?

The Art of Conversation by Milton Wright, c1936 — A practical guide to improving your communication skills. Wright offers straightforward advice and techniques for engaging in meaningful and effective dialogue. This book provides useful strategies for listening actively, expressing your thoughts clearly, and building stronger connections.