How to Find the Words for Tender Conversations

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Pub Date 16 Sep 2021 | Archive Date Not set


From the bestselling author of With the End in Mind, this is a book about the conversations that matter and how to have them better – more honestly, more confidently and without regret.

‘This is a book for everyone. You feel held by it’ PHILIPPA PERRY

‘This gentle-hearted, engagingly and intimately readable book is so full of wisdom and compassion. Everyone should read it’ NIGEALLA LAWSON

Most of us have a conversation we’re avoiding.

A child coming out to their parent. A family losing someone to terminal illness. A friend noticing the first signs of someone’s dementia. A career’s advisor and a teenager with radically different perspectives.

There are moments when we must talk, listen and be there for one another. Why do we so often come away from those times feeling like we could have done more, or should have been braver in the face of discomfort? Why do we skirt the conversations that might matter most?

By bringing together deeply moving stories with a lifetime’s experience working in medicine and the newest psychology, Mannix offers lessons for how we can better speak our mind and help when others need to.

There is probably a conversation that you are currently avoiding having. This is a book to help you have it, to help you be there for others, to help you ask for what you want and need, to help you be less unsure in the face of change and challenge.

From the bestselling author of With the End in Mind, this is a book about the conversations that matter and how to have them better – more honestly, more confidently and without regret....

Advance Praise

‘This gentle-hearted, engagingly and intimately readable book is so full of wisdom and compassion. Everyone should read it’ Nigella Lawson

‘Kathryn Mannix has a gift for cutting through the noise and helping us realise what is most important. In a world that never stops talking, this book celebrates and demonstrates the curative power of listening. It is powerful, humane and wise, illuminating how having the right conversations can transform our relationships with loved ones, with change, with death and with ourselves’ Julia Samuel

‘This is a beautiful book. It gets to the heart of difficult conversation and consoling talk. I’m glad it will be in the world ... This is a book for everyone. You feel held by it. Kathryn is so on the button I actually feel listened to by reading it … We all need meaningful connection in our lives, Kathryn guides us towards this’ Philippa Perry

‘Kathryn Mannix is our modern-day prophet … This is an essential book for anyone interested in themselves and their fellow humans’ Greg Wise

‘Kathryn Mannix is a natural born storyteller, and there is so much wisdom, tenderness and love packed into this profoundly beautiful book. It is not so much a guide to conversations as a manual for how to live - with kindness and open-heartedness guiding our interactions with others. Her words brim with grace. I loved this book so very much’ Rachel Clarke

‘This is a beautiful book and I found almost every page taught me something in a gentle, but powerful way. I often found myself putting the book down and going ‘wow’ and thinking how I couldn’t wait to put into practise some of the things I’d learnt’ Annalisa Barbieri

‘This gentle-hearted, engagingly and intimately readable book is so full of wisdom and compassion. Everyone should read it’ Nigella Lawson

‘Kathryn Mannix has a gift for cutting through the noise and...

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ISBN 9780008435455
PRICE £5.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 66 members

Featured Reviews

Having previously read and reviewed Ms Mannix’s first book With the End in Mind I was very interested to read this book which focuses on the skills necessary to not only listen, but hear. It seems an obviously easy task, but Ms Mannix has illustrated not only the importance of really hearing what is being said, but able to communicate to the speaker that have you not only heard what is said, but understood what is being said and encouraging further discourse.

To quote from my review of her first book: “Kathyrn Mannix is not a philosopher who has focused on death and what it means and how to approach it. As a palliative carer her experience has been gained from working on the front line, whether that is in oncology or in other fields for many years. Her wisdom has been honed and perfected, assimilated from colleagues and more importantly from patients and their families.”

Like her first book, Listen offers the reader insight and comfort and a useful tool in each individual’s attempt to be supportive when confronted with difficult conversations and situations. I heartily recommend it.

Thank you to theauthor, publishers and NetGalley for providing an ARC via my Kindle in return for an honest review.

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Kathryn Marnix is such a gifted writer and her care and compassion for other people is evident on every page of this book. Her previous book about coping with death was profound and sometimes difficult. Listen is a book which anyone and everyone can learn from and relate to.

Kathryn has a wonderful way of communicating. In this book, she explains situations and how to deal with them without sounding patronising or preachy. We all seem to lead such busy lives. Too little time, so much to do and I’m sure most of us have lost the skill of actual stopping and not only listening, but hearing what someone is saying. Often there’s a sub text around the words that are hiding a different issue and if we don’t listen, we won’t pick up on that. Numerous scenarios are explored with pointers as to how to respond and encourage conversation without confrontation, drama or upset.

I’m not keen on ‘self help’ books, but Listen is really a bible for life. If we could develop a handful of the skills she demonstrates ( and it’s not difficult), we’d feel better and more fulfilled. I’m an older reader, but I’ve learned from this. It’s given me pointers in terms of dealing with sensitive or difficult issues with others and it’s the kind of book that you can dip into to reinforce some of the positive approaches she advocates.

It’s a privilege that Kathryn has taken the time to share the benefits of her wisdom with a wider audience and this is a book I shall buy in hard copy on publication as it’s invaluable. My thanks to the publisher for a review copy via Netgalley.

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The writing in this title shows the compassion and thought that Ms Mannix puts in to her work, both as a teacher and a clinician. I particularly liked that that she gave anecdotes from the early years of her career in order to show that this is a skill that everyone has to learn. Definitely invaluable for healthcare and other similar professionals but also very useful for anyone who wants to improve the outcome of more difficult conversations.

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Like with every book I read and review, this one is starting off with the full 5 stars too and I'm hoping that it'll not only finish with those 5 stars, but I'll learn how to sugar-coat sensitive conversations too.

Let's get started!

OMG! Where has the afternoon slipped away to? I wrote that paragraph (and sentence) 69 pages ago and haven't stopped reading until now. This is a fantastic book so far!

Done it again... currently at page 114 and I haven't even stopped for a drink or wee all afternoon which is soo unlike me! lol This is a serious must-read for everyone and still a very solid 5 stars.

Just 10 more chapters/sections/whatever they're called in non-fiction to go and I'll be able to put this review up. For now though, I'm stopping reading for the night and I'll be back reading as soon as I can tomorrow.

I really am enjoying this book... I don't wanna say too much about it otherwise it'll spoil it, but it's a definite must-read, even for those who think they are great listeners already... I'm learning so much from this book and I'm so glad I was approved to read it in advance of it's publication. I'm grateful to the publisher and to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for this review... I'm loving what I'm reading and can't recommend it highly enough to you all!

Oh boy, just read about death and now about grief... this is gonna be heavy and prolly upsetting, so make sure you've got plenty of tissues and support available before you read these bits!

One sentence, more than any other single sentence in this book, has just said everything I've been trying to say all my life but the sentence says "Surrounded by people but with no one to hear us can be a place lonelier than isolation." and it describes how I've felt my whole life! I'm surrounded by friends who reach out to me when they need a bit of support that I'm more than happy to provide, but on the rare occasions I need support too, I'm totally alone. For the last two years on Facebook I've had mini melt-downs each December but I've been told by people I thought I could trust to "take it down and put it on your blog instead" then that's literally it for another year. I've tried reaching out on a depression forum but nobody replied on there so I've tried reaching out to friends and I get less than a couple of sentences of support before it goes back to me supporting them. If I did that to them they would call me selfish and break off our friendship. I really am surrounded by people but with no support I really am feeling lonlier than complete isolation.

I'm currently sat here sobbing my heart out... the pages I've just read have been so understanding and it feels like they were talking straight to me. Thank you to the author for those pages... they mean a lot to me.

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As someone who had loved Kathryn Mannix's previous book this was a "must read". The true life story in the first chapter is set in the author's early days as a doctor and brought tears to my eyes. It is a story about the author, a widow and Dorothy who helped out. It sets a tone for this book about the difficulties of dealing with challenging situations and conversations. Even when these are done "properly" they sometimes don't work all that well.

This book is far more of a "how to do it" book than the previous one. It was about the author's personal experiences dealing with the dying and the bereaved. This one is far wider ranging and covers a variety of topics and situations. There is more about the way to deal with issues - techniques, tips, ideas and the like. It is more of a handbook than a reading book in some senses. Stories from real life either the author's own, or those which have been passed on to her by other professionals, pepper this and many are extremely powerful. These are used as illustrations of "how to" (or how not to) deal with very challenging situations.

A number of the chapters engaged me fully on a first read and had me highlighting passages to return to. While the word "listen" is fundamental to this book this leads to understanding and empathy. While many stories illustrate that very well reading them can be hard. The story of the carer and the old man in a hospice who made it difficult for anyone to like him or get near him is an example of that - a challenging read but thought provoking too. Kathryn's own interaction with her great-uncle is frankly a beautiful piece of writing and illustrates listening very well.

One area mentioned was one I had not come across before. This was the use of fairly formalised and trained peer to peer and teacher "listening". While this wasn't a difficult read it did leave me with a real hope for the future of listening rather more generally.

Some aspects are just good advice. The section of "deathbeds" is something that many folk would probably find a useful read at some stage of life. There is information on dealing with suicide prevention with some worthwhile thoughts. The book is a up to date and looks at the challenges to having difficult conversations that are posed during COVID as well as those arising from COVID.

I have a little knowledge in this subject area - as we age all of us are probably exposed to at least one of the issues tackled here and maybe more. I have no actual professional interest at this time however I found the book readable and valuable to me. Those with a professional interest should probably have an understanding of the issues and techniques involved. However I do think that many could benefit from stepping away from a fixed idea of role and into a deeper understanding of people and how they feel - we are all different.

Overwhelmingly Kathryn Mannix's compassion comes over in this book as it did in the previous one. If I were in a highly challenging situation I know of no one else I would rather have in the room. 4.5/5

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Loved it. How to have a difficult conversation by giving real ligfe examples. it is not preachy or condesaendign but a gift.
We all put of conversations we know are going to be difficult but this book givies us the tools to start the conversations and how to move them forward.

Excellent for any parent or any person who works in a custodial setting from schools, hospitals and many other settings.

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