Regular price: $19.60

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

"Crucial" conversations are interpersonal exchanges at work or at home that we dread having but know we cannot avoid. How do you say what needs to be said while avoiding an argument with a boss, child, or relationship partner? Crucial Conversations offers readers a proven seven-point strategy for achieving their goals in all those emotionally, psychologically, or legally charged situations that can arise in their professional and personal lives.

Based on the authors' highly popular DialogueSmart training seminars, the techniques are geared toward getting people to lower their defenses, creating mutual respect and understanding, increasing emotional safety, and encouraging freedom of expression. Among other things, rlisteners also learn about the four main factors that characterize crucial conversations, and they get a powerful six-minute mastery technique that prepares them to work through any high impact situation with confidence.

©2002 by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler (P)2003 AMI

Critic Reviews

"The program does a stellar job of explaining many types of communication errors and describing the best ways to achieve mutual purpose....Anna Fields gives a perfect reading - emotionally bright but still allowing the lesson to retain its practical, straight-talking nature." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars
Sort by:
  • Overall

Great communication tools!

Crucial Conversations offers excellent analyses and real tools for improving the most difficult relationships in your professional and personal life. Beware: the emphasis is on YOU, so don’t buy this hoping to find a way to change your boss, your spouse, or that back-stabbing SOB down the hall. Do buy it to find ways to get past that “fight or flight” reaction in yourself and almost anyone else so you can really talk. (Also read Martha Stout’s “The Sociopath Next Door” to understand why no communication or relationship strategy can possibly work with some people.)

48 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Cheryl
  • Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 01-01-08

I'm re-reading it now

I really enjoy this book thoroughly. It's straight forward and explains things well. The examples and explanations are easily understandable and relate to real life. There are plenty of clever labels that make remembering important information easy. I enjoyed the explanations of labels such as: "Dope-up Dumbed-Down state". This label explains why critical conversations are difficult from a biological standpoint. Crucial conversations are defined as interactions with others (at home, work, or elsewhere) that have moderate to high stakes, opinions vary and emotions run high. The poor habits seem to reflect poor habits I have myself. The examples seem reasonable to real life and they are written in witty ways. The narration is (nearly) perfect as the description indicates. The narrator reads with accurate expression. I often found myself relating to the situations that are in the book. I'm a "Mute & Salute" kind of person (or "silent fumer"). I have been avoiding or poorly handling crucial conversations in my own life because I have felt ill-equipped to do it well. It undermined my influence. I've reread the forward & first chapter 3 times now. I have struggled with a lot of the things that are listed in the book. I look forward to applying these principles to my own conversations. I liked it so much, I ended up buying it as a gift for a friend of mine who I know would enjoy these topics and tools. I also look forward to listening to "Crucial Confrontations" by the same authors. I think this book should be considered by all.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Monica
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • 02-12-07

Essential Reading for Everyone

We are taught the technical skills of our professions. But often we are not taught the most important one... How to communicate with one another. This audiobook has transformed the way that I interact with everyone. I find that during the course of one day I have at least one conversation that is crucial. Before reading this book I would fumble my way through the discussion leaving myself and the person I talked to feeling stressed. I am much more effective in my personal and professional communications.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tera
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • 02-18-09


This book has helped me not only in my personally but also professionally. I used these techniques in all situations whether at home with my spouse or at work during a preformance review. It has helped me move further in my career by learning how to express myself in all types of situations with all types of people. Outstanding!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Teresa
  • Ephrata, PA, United States
  • 09-20-10

Life Changing

This is one of the best books I've ever read on the topic of interacting with others. The book really causes me to stop and think about what I'm saying, but more importantly WHY I'm saying it - what story have I made up in my mind about the person I'm giving my message to? Is it an accurate story? Have I thought about our pending conversation and found the common ground on which to build that discussion? When I've practiced what I've learned in this book, my crucial conversations go well. As an example, I had been years in conflict with someone in my organization that I felt was only interested in showing he was "alpha male". I started applying what I learned in this book. Over time (and not that much time, actually), the relationship I had with this individual changed dramatically. We now interact with each other based on mutual respect, common goals, and true collaboration. This should be on every leader's "must read" list.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • jk888
  • 888dragons
  • 07-13-08

crucial and necessary!!

I wish I had heard this before my last 5 relationships!!!! I found this informative on more levels than the obvious. I would recommend this to all of my ex-boyfriends and my ex-husband if they'd only listen!!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • john
  • Broomfield, CO, United States
  • 11-12-12


Where does Crucial Conversations rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Excellent - I own 100 + audio books - I recommend this book.

Any additional comments?

I have listened to this book multiple times and so I recommend it (as opposed to the audio books I could not listen to or "wade through" even one time, or the books I did listen one complete time, however, have no intention to ever listen to again)As far as subject matter, I'm interested in benefits from talking about and addressing issues at work and in our personal lives (rather than silence and avoidance) and this book is an excellent resource - as is the book Crucial Confrontations by the same author.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Judy
  • Madrid, Spain
  • 06-18-11

useful tips

i had a problem with a customer, who was very mad at me. listening to the book over the weekend while driving in Cairo crazy traffic, i took three tips that helped me big time and the problem was solved. it makes sense ..

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Book is missing a key component.

Crucial Conversations presumes you are engaged in a difficult conversation with a peer (spouse) or a subordinate at work. Unfortunately, many difficult conversations occur where someone in a position of power presents their argument as "silence or violence" such as your manager or a large firm with which you are engaged in negotations.

Crucial Conversations offers little to no advice on how to revert an aggresive individual to a productive manner of speaking. "Getting to Yes" is a a book that discusses negotiating from somewhere other than a position of power.

Only after you have read that book would I recommend topping up your communication skills with this book.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great tools!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, especially if that friend is having trouble in relationships.

Have you listened to any of Anna Fields’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but it was easy to listen to her narrative; she made the material completely clear.

What insight do you think you’ll apply from Crucial Conversations?

I will pause before responding and put my listening skills to better use!

Any additional comments?

I highly recommend this book to anyone who cares about relating well to others. I plan to listen to it every few months to gain more of the pearls it contains.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Clarke
  • 04-28-07

One of the most useful books I've ever read

I frequently recommend this book to my friends and colleagues because I've used it myself to change how I deal with people in difficult conversations. It has a well thought framework for dealign with difficult conversations, lots of stories to make the framework concrete, and many useful little tips and hints you can start using straight away.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • ganiyu
  • 11-03-12

Better to get the written book instead.

Too many parts missing from the audio book. Better to get the written book instead.

  • Overall
  • 08-21-11

Does not comply with written version

There are 2 things to mention:
1) audio version does not comply with the written version - a lot of content is missed;
2) running time is not 4 hours as stated, it's 2 hours and 52 minutes.

The content itself, of course, is great - I'd give five stars if nothing was missed.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful