Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

Title:  Thanks for the Feedback:  The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well
Author:  Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
Publication Information:  Viking Adult. 2014. 356 pages.
ISBN:  0670014664 / 978-0670014668

Book Source:  I received this book through the GoodReads First Reads program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "Regardless of context or the company you keep, you are the most important person in your own learning. Your organization or team or boss might support or stifle feedback. Either way, they can't stop you from "learning."

Douglas Stone is a lecturer at Harvard Law School where he teaches negotiations. Sheila Heen is also a lecturer at Harvard Law School and an instructor through the Harvard Education Series. They are both also partners at a consulting firm, and both spent time working at the Harvard Negotiation Project. This is the second book they have co-authored.

Our life is spent giving and receiving feedback - conscious and unconsciously but virtually constantly. So much training and teaching time is spent on how to give effective feedback; yet, how to receive it is as important, if not more so. That is the topic this book tackles - what is feedback, why receiving it can be so challenging, what we can do to be more open to it, and how we can use it in personal and professional situations.

As the book says, "Receiving feedback well doesn't mean you always have to take the feedback. Receiving it well means engaging in the conversation skillfully and making thoughtful choices about whether and how to use the information and what you're learning. It's about managing your emotional triggers so that you can take in what the other person is telling you, and being open to seeing yourself in new ways."

The book is very well organized and clearly presented. It defines feedback and differentiates between different kinds of feedback. It talks about conflicting human needs to learn and grow through feedback and yet be accepted for who we are. The book identifies triggers that can determine reaction to feedback. It then delves into each of the triggers - specific situations, examples, and techniques to more effectively manage how each of us as individuals uses feedback.

Each chapter presents a summary of key ideas at the end. While the ARC does not have an index, it does present a "road map" which is a detailed table of contents or really an outline summary of the book.

In presenting ideas on accepting feedback, it also becomes a tool to use in giving effective feedback - two sides of the same coin.

Wharton professor Adam Grant has included this book in his The 12 Business Books to Read in 2014. I recommend this book to business and non-business readers. We are all faced with feedback in our daily lives, and effectively utilizing the feedback can help improve our lives.

Interestingly, I am left with one question. Would recommending this book to a particular individual be construed as feedback on their ability or inability to accept feedback? I think people may need to discover the book for themselves. I am certainly glad I did.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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