What We Say Matters Book Summary - What We Say Matters Book explained in key points
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What We Say Matters summary

Judith Hanson Lasater and Ike K. Lasater

Practicing Nonviolent Communication

4.2 (172 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

What We Say Matters by Judith Hanson Lasater and Ike K. Lasater is a guide to improve communication through compassionate and nonviolent language. This book provides practical tools to transform conflicts, connect with others on a deeper level, and build stronger relationships.

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    What We Say Matters
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Speaking truthfully and without harming others increases the well-being of everyone involved.

    Humans love to talk, and speaking is one of the fundamental aspects of our everyday lives. But while we do it just about all the time, this simple action still has profound effects on our well-being and the world around us.

    The way we speak reflects how we view ourselves, as well as our opinions of others. For instance, if you say to yourself that you’re a good person, you’ll begin to act the way a “good” person acts and others will treat you as such. In turn, this will reinforce your sense of self-worth.

    The way we speak also affects the way our discussions unfold. Just imagine coming home from work and finding that your housemate left the kitchen full of dirty dishes. In such a situation, you might feel frustrated and want to communicate it to your roommate.

    But instead of calmly stating your feelings, you yell, “You’re so messy, you don’t give a damn about the house!” This reaction will likely just upset your housemate as well; instead of communicating clearly about the issue, you both end up angry and argumentative.

    So, how can you approach such situations to maximize your well-being as well as that of the other person?

    By using right speech, that is, language that’s truthful but not harmful. This type of speech is recommended in Buddhist texts, namely the Yoga Sutra. It’s described as respecting the practice of “satya” or “truth” and the practice of “ahimsa” or “non-harming.”

    Right speech is a way of speaking that strives to attend to all people’s needs. To do so, it suggests that our words reflect the true state of ourselves and the world, while avoiding doing harm to others.

    Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. To get started using right speech, you’ll need another tool: nonviolent communication or NVC. You’ll learn all about it, including a better way to communicate your frustration to your housemate, in the following blinks.

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    What is What We Say Matters about?

    What We Say Matters (2009) is a guide to communicating with compassion, openness and honesty. These blinks explain how to connect with your needs, as well as those of others, while speaking in a way that communicates your feelings clearly without causing suffering.

    What We Say Matters Review

    What We Say Matters (2009) is a thought-provoking book that explores the power of communication and the impact of our words on ourselves and others. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Provides practical tools for improving communication skills, allowing readers to express themselves more effectively and build stronger relationships.
    • Draws on real-life examples and personal experiences to illustrate concepts, making it relatable and applicable to everyday life.
    • With its insightful analysis of the connection between language and well-being, the book challenges readers to reflect on the power of their words, making it a fascinating read.

    Best quote from What We Say Matters

    The techniques of NVC are first and most importantly about inner awareness.

    —Judith Hanson Lasater and Ike K. Lasater
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    Who should read What We Say Matters?

    • Anyone who wants to improve their communication skills
    • People involved in spiritual practice
    • Readers who are interested in the intricacies of human nature

    About the Author

    Judith Hanson Lasater has been a yoga teacher since 1971 and is also the president of the California Yoga Teachers Association. She has a doctorate in East-West psychology.

    Ike K. Lasater is one of the cofounders of Mediate Your Life, a company that teaches people how to handle conflict. He was previously a trial attorney and has served on the mediation panel for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

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    What We Say Matters FAQs 

    What is the main message of What We Say Matters?

    The main message of What We Say Matters is the power of mindful communication and its impact on our relationships and well-being.

    How long does it take to read What We Say Matters?

    The reading time for What We Say Matters varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is What We Say Matters a good book? Is it worth reading?

    What We Say Matters is worth reading as it offers valuable insights and practical techniques to improve our communication skills, leading to healthier and happier relationships.

    Who is the author of What We Say Matters?

    The authors of What We Say Matters are Judith Hanson Lasater and Ike K. Lasater.

    What to read after What We Say Matters?

    If you're wondering what to read next after What We Say Matters, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Positivity by Barbara L. Fredrickson
    • Say What You Mean by Oren Jay Sofer
    • Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg
    • It Didn't Start With You by Mark Wolynn
    • Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson
    • Verbal Judo by George J. Thompson and Jerry B. Jenkins
    • Why Are We Yelling? by Buster Benson
    • Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
    • 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson
    • The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch