Why Are We Yelling?

The Art of Productive Disagreement
Narrated by: Buster Benson
Length: 5 hrs and 56 mins
4.1 out of 5 stars (134 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Have you ever walked away from an argument and suddenly thought of all the brilliant things you wish you'd said? Do you avoid certain family members and colleagues because of bitter, festering tension that you can't figure out how to address?

Now, finally, there's a solution: a new framework that frees you from the trap of unproductive conflict and pointless arguing forever.

If the threat of raised voices, emotional outbursts, and public discord makes you want to hide under the conference room table, you're not alone. Conflict, or the fear of it, can be exhausting. But as this powerful book argues, conflict doesn't have to be unpleasant. In fact, properly channeled, conflict can be the most valuable tool we have at our disposal for deepening relationships, solving problems, and coming up with new ideas.

As the mastermind behind some of the highest-performing teams at Amazon, Twitter, and Slack, Buster Benson spent decades facilitating hard conversations in stressful environments. In this book, Buster reveals the psychological underpinnings of awkward, unproductive conflict and the critical habits anyone can learn to avoid it. Armed with a deeper understanding of how arguments, you'll be able to:  

  • Remain confident when you're put on the spot  
  • Diffuse tense moments with a few strategic questions  
  • Facilitate creative solutions even when your team has radically different perspectives

Why Are We Yelling? will shatter your assumptions about what makes arguments productive. You'll find yourself having fewer repetitive, predictable fights once you're empowered to identify your biases, listen with an open mind, and communicate well. 

©2019 Buster Benson (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Sometimes it feels like the only way to have a constructive argument is to clone yourself or master the art of mind control.  But it turns out all you need is Buster Benson.  His methods are instantly actionable, his writing is funny and relatable, and his book is the ideal companion to Difficult Conversations.” (Adam Grant, author of Originals and Give and Take, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife)

“This clever, empowering book shows how conflict can be a source of growth, intrigue, and joy. Buster Benson unveils a new framework for arguing that helps you understand your biases and show other people theirs in a non-confrontational way. This is the perfect book at the perfect time to bring some sanity back into disagreements.” (Annie Duke, author of Thinking in Bets)

“Reading Why Are We Yelling? is like having your most calm, level-headed friend explain how you might diffuse a tense situation in your life and work. I especially recommend this book to anyone who has ever tried to ‘win’ an argument only to end up frustrated with the results.” (Jason Shellen, co-founder of Google Reader, Boxer, and Brizzly; co-founder of Fable)  

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What listeners say about Why Are We Yelling?

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting Topic But Unrealistic

I found the book to be just, "okay". I commend the author for trying to tackle a difficult, yet very relevant subject in the modern world. However, I found the book to create more questions for me than practical solutions. An example of this issue is with the author's own personal journey towards better dialogue with varying points of view. The author conducts pot luck dinner discussions around controversial topics, has his guests participate in controlled debates, and seeks to uncover solutions to controversial topics (and does so somewhat successfully). The problem is, this approach is not rooted in reality. There are very serious problems in the world, but I felt that the author assumes that all parties involved in the debate are intelligent, rationale, and good natured people who want to improve humanity. That to me is not reality, though. In my own personal experiences, I have met some very intelligent, but extremely combative and irrational people (and occasionally the opposite). No amount of facts, dialogue, or open communication techniques enable progress. In many cases, it was just healthier to move on.

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Biased

You can tell that this book is written by a liberal Democrat. I don’t like a lot of the examples used. Not very interesting. The book is very bland. As well as a very biased politically driven narrative.

2 people found this helpful

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Great content - with some clutter

I sense this is a clear passion project for Mr Benson, and I hope this review comes off as constructive. My initial interpretation of the books intention was a business oriented self help arc, and I believe this in reality has a much broader scope. The content is great. There is truly magnificent advice offered in identifying different perspectives, your own biases and triggers, and developing a constructive path through managing both the obvious conflicts in life and the more subtle ones. However, I had two hurdles that made it difficult to really engage with some content. 1) the performance of the audio seemed as if the author was reading his own book. I didn’t get the passion that I am sure he needed in writing it. The passion that he describes in some of his analogies did not come through. Bringing me to the second part 2) the stories and analogies that were used to lead into his core content fluctuated from extreme polarized generalities in one moment (anxiety from death and divorce), and his next piece of content was illustrated by a highly specific personal experience that I had difficulty relating to (2016 election reactions). I highly agree with the outline of Buster’s content and core principles and applaud that. I also hope this review isn’t like ordering a Guinness and then saying I don’t like dark beer. Best wishes Mr Benson.

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It was ok

I liked how it started, towards the end, it felt like it was bouncing all over the place on different topics. Lost me after chapter 5.

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good start but...

The author should have used an editor to sharpen the story after the first good chapters.

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Good read

In arguments... you're trying to realise what you don't know. win or lose doesnt matter