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  • Emma Stenström

What we read this summer

Updated: Jun 24

If you – like us – want to become better at having productive conflicts, here are four books we think you should read at the beach (or wherever you are) this summer:

First, the one mentioned, Ian Leslie, “Conflicted: Why Arguments are Tearing Us Apart, and How They Can Bring Us Together” (2021) This is a well-researched and practical book. Ian Leslie makes a strong argument for why conflicts are necessary and should not be avoided, especially not in organizations and relationships. Leslie offers lots of sensible practical advice that you can start using the same minute you open the book. Good luck! Secondly, another favorite, Amanda Ripley, “High Conflict. Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out” (2021)

Ripley is an American journalist, who is known for her work around “complicating the narrative”, which we have covered before. In this book, she practices what she preaches, and tells complicating, and fascinating, stories about some difficult conflicts, and how they eventually got solved. One thing is sure: there are no easy, quick fixes. But there is hope – and a lot of knowledge in this book.

Thirdly, our long-time favorite, Peter Coleman, The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization (2021) We have interviewed Peter Coleman before about the work with this book. Coleman is professor at Columbia University, and co-founder of the “Difficult Conversations Lab”. In this book, he puts polarization into context and shows the many forces behind, but also how we can can overcome it – if we work together. One of the many things we love about the book is that each chapter is accompanied by a set of exercises. We like, for example, to be reminded of incorporating physical movement when we get stuck in a conflict. This is in line with new research we at Fika just got funding for. We will tell you more about it in next newsletter. Finally, Mary Parker Follett, “Creative Experience” (1924) (and yes, that is right, 1924!!!). Or any book by her. What can we say that the “mother of management” and academic activist Mary Parker Follett, has not already said? She approached conflicts in the same way as we do at Fika: not as compromise, not as persuasion, but as integration of different perspectives. The outcome of a conflict should be something new, something that was not there before. Or as she expressed it herself: “conflict is resolved not through compromise, but through invention.” Just one more thing, do watch this short video. It makes us question our pre-conceptions. What do you assume about someone you meet – and how does that influence how you see that person? The video was used by our question guru, Hal Gregersen, in a wonderful workshop on “Catalytic Questions” Have a great summer, with many healthy productive conflicts. New ideas might be born. Do let us know!

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