Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: Changing the Conversation by Dana Caspersen, a Joost Elffers Book

Publisher's Synopsis:  Each day brings new moments of potential conflict.  Your ability to maneuver through them can spell failure or success both professionally and in personal relationships.  Changing the Conversation, written by conflict mediator Dana Casperen and produced by Joost Elffers, the creative genius behind The 48 Laws of Power, provides 17 principles for finding ways to talk through problems.

This invaluable handbook will teach you how to transform your mind-set and move beyond the destructive cycle of attack and counterattack, so you can turn conflicts into opportunities for growth.  Filled with real-life examples, spot-on advice, and easy-to-grasp exercises that allow you to test the lessons, this graphic go-to resource will guide you in learning to create dialogue and finding lasting solutions. 

*A review copy of this book was provided to me.

     Two things went through my mind as I began reading this book:  1)I've been going about conflict resolution all wrong; and 2)Wow, this is amazing.  As someone who was raised in an attack/counterattack household who then grew up to become a passive-aggressive repressed adult, I have been waiting for this book all my life.  Visually stunning, it's very color theme hints at  its contents.  The bold red suggests conflict, while the principles are outlined simply yet powerfully in black and white in an enticing format.
     Dana Caspersen has unearthed the roots of conflict and exposed them to the light of truth.  She writes, "Conflict can be both useful and inevitable.  Destructive conflict is neither."   We have all experienced conflict.  If we're honest, we can probably admit that we haven't always had the best response, whether we created the conflict or we were reacting to it from another person.  Caspersen points out that we can't change how other people behave, but we can change how we respond.  That is so empowering.  We have a choice.  Having a choice means we have to be willing to change our patterns.  Principle 12:  If you're making things worse, stop. This one was a biggie for me.  I often reflect on how I may be perpetuating the cycles I grew up with.  Although I know I've made vast improvements in how I communicate, there is still room for growth.  This book provides the principles as well as ways to practice changing the conversation.
     As Ms. Caspersen points out, we must "Expect and plan for future conflict."  If you plan to interact with other humans, you should probably have this book.  And lucky for you, it's available now.

    You can check out some videos of Dana Caspersen here.

About the Author:
An award-winning performing artist and conflict specialist, Dana Caspersen has been a primary collaborator of choreographer William Forsythe in the Ballet Frankfurt and The Forsythe Company for the last 27 years.  Since completing a master's degree in Conflict Studies and Mediation from the Woodbury Institute as Champlain College in Vermont, she has worked as a mediator and developed and offered conflict workshops and choreographic public dialogue projects internationally.  She also holds a master's in Dance from Hollins University. 
Follow Dana Caspersen on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Packager:
Joost Elffers is the packager and producer of the New York Times bestsellers The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, and The 33 Strategies of War.  He is also the producer of Viking Studio's Secret Language Series as well as Play with Your Food and How are you Peeling?.  He lives in New York City.
Title:  Changing the Conversation: The 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution
Author:  Dana Caspersen
ISBN:  978-0-14-312686-7
Publisher:  Penguin Books
Publisher's Website:
Author's Website:





Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: The Look of Love by Sarah Jio

Publisher's Synopsis:  Born during a Christmas blizzard, Jane Williams receives a rare gift:  the ability to literally see true love.  Jane has emerged from an ailing childhood a lonely, hopeless romantic when, on her twenty-ninth birthday, a mysterious greeting card arrives, specifying that Jane must identify the six types of love before the full moon following her thirtieth birthday, or face grave consequences.  When Jane falls for a science writer who doesn't believe in love, she fears that her fate is sealed.  Inspired by the classic song, The Look of Love is utterly enchanting.  

     ~An advanced reader copy of this book was provided to me.

     Have you ever wished for a special power or ability?  What would it be?  When I was little, I wanted to be able to communicate telepathically with animals.  In The Look of Love, Jane has the unique ability to see love. Making it more intriguing is that her gift was bestowed upon her, rather than it being something with which she was born.
     Plagued by eye problems for most of her life, Jane begins to understand how the problems are related to her 'gift' when she's contacted by a mysterious stranger on her 29th birthday.  She's then given the task of identifying the six types of love before her thirtieth birthday.  If she doesn't fulfill her task, the fate of love in her own life is in jeopardy.  Throughout the year, Jane uses her gift and begins to see the forms of love through the people in her life.  As her birthday draws near, the one question remains:  What will be Jane's fate?

     There's no doubt of Jio's talent as a writer.  Jio herself has a special power:  the ability to write stories that reach deep into the reader and touch their heart.  She writes stories that are nothing short of beautiful and this one may be her best yet.  In crafting a character who must identify the six types of love with her gift, Jio makes us think of ways we may have experienced love in our own lives.  Through Jane we see love as raw and primal, disappointing, uplifting, unconditional, transcendent, unrequited, healing, and, above all, timeless.

     The Look of Love is available in stores or you can get your copy by clicking on one of the highlighted links. 

About the Author:
Sarah Jio is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of  The Violets of March, a Library Journal Best Book of 2011; The Bungalow; Blackberry Winter; The Last Camellia; Morning Glory; and Goodnight June.  She is also a journalist who has written for Glamour; O, The Oprah Magazine; Redbook; Real Simple; and many other publications.  Jio's books have become book club favorites and have been translated into more than twenty languages.  She lives in Seattle with her three young boys and an elderly golden retriever. 
Title:  The Look of Love: A Novel
Author:  Sarah Jio
Publisher:  Plume, a member of the Penguin Group
Publisher's website:
Author's website:
ISBN:  978-0-452-218053-2

You can also visit Ms. Jio on Facebook at or on Twitter at