Dr. Kleiman, with contributions from Dr. Richard and David, explains several concepts relevant in today’s world like conflict, ethnocentrism, interpersonal effectiveness, tribalism, polarization, dialectics, logic, fallacy, determinism, reductionism, and love.
The authors use a series of scenarios in which two or more people have a conversation. Annotations are included to demonstrate the application of particular concepts during the conversation, such as negotiating respectfully, drawing boundaries, empathizing, and so on.
It is fascinating to read how real-life situations can be made worse or better just by changing the approach one uses.
A daughter speaking to her father about her learning difficulties, a sister speaking to her debt-ridden brother about loaning money, a woman speaking to her abusive boyfriend, a couple arguing over political ideology, men or women feeling attracted to co-workers, a parent-teacher meeting, a board meeting–these are all familiar situations.
Each chapter is well-researched, as is evident from the list of references provided at the end. Dr. Kleiman draws from a wide variety of sources, both fiction and non-fiction, to explain each topic. The book covers topics as diverse as art, anthropology, and physics–only to show how these are interconnected at some level with respect to human behavior and its underlying psychology.
The book requires proofreading because there are a number of punctuation errors and the language could be polished for greater readability. Also, the choice of photographs could be better–some pictures did not look like they belonged in a professional piece of work.
Overall, it is a book to be read slowly and thoroughly, taking time to absorb the information in each chapter, and thinking about how the concepts can be applied to improve interpersonal effectiveness in real life.
(This review was first published on Reedsy.)