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

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The bestselling authors of the classic Difficult Conversations teach us how to turn evaluations, advice, criticisms, and coaching into productive listening and learning We swim in an ocean of feedback. Bosses, colleagues, customers—but also family, friends, and in-laws—they all have “suggestions” for our performance, parenting, or appearance. We know that feedback is essen The bestselling authors of the classic Difficult Conversations teach us how to turn evaluations, advice, criticisms, and coaching into productive listening and learning We swim in an ocean of feedback. Bosses, colleagues, customers—but also family, friends, and in-laws—they all have “suggestions” for our performance, parenting, or appearance. We know that feedback is essential for healthy relationships and professional development—but we dread it and often dismiss it. That’s because receiving feedback sits at the junction of two conflicting human desires. We do want to learn and grow. And we also want to be accepted just as we are right now. Thanks for the Feedback is the first book to address this tension head on. It explains why getting feedback is so crucial yet so challenging, and offers a powerful framework to help us take on life’s blizzard of off-hand comments, annual evaluations, and unsolicited advice with curiosity and grace. The business world spends billions of dollars and millions of hours each year teaching people how to give feedback more effectively. Stone and Heen argue that we’ve got it backwards and show us why the smart money is on educating receivers— in the workplace and in personal relationships as well. Coauthors of the international bestseller Difficult Conversations, Stone and Heen have spent the last ten years working with businesses, nonprofits, governments, and families to determine what helps us learn and what gets in our way. With humor and clarity, they blend the latest insights from neuroscience and psychology with practical, hard-headed advice. The book is destined to become a classic in the world of leadership, organizational behavior, and education.


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The bestselling authors of the classic Difficult Conversations teach us how to turn evaluations, advice, criticisms, and coaching into productive listening and learning We swim in an ocean of feedback. Bosses, colleagues, customers—but also family, friends, and in-laws—they all have “suggestions” for our performance, parenting, or appearance. We know that feedback is essen The bestselling authors of the classic Difficult Conversations teach us how to turn evaluations, advice, criticisms, and coaching into productive listening and learning We swim in an ocean of feedback. Bosses, colleagues, customers—but also family, friends, and in-laws—they all have “suggestions” for our performance, parenting, or appearance. We know that feedback is essential for healthy relationships and professional development—but we dread it and often dismiss it. That’s because receiving feedback sits at the junction of two conflicting human desires. We do want to learn and grow. And we also want to be accepted just as we are right now. Thanks for the Feedback is the first book to address this tension head on. It explains why getting feedback is so crucial yet so challenging, and offers a powerful framework to help us take on life’s blizzard of off-hand comments, annual evaluations, and unsolicited advice with curiosity and grace. The business world spends billions of dollars and millions of hours each year teaching people how to give feedback more effectively. Stone and Heen argue that we’ve got it backwards and show us why the smart money is on educating receivers— in the workplace and in personal relationships as well. Coauthors of the international bestseller Difficult Conversations, Stone and Heen have spent the last ten years working with businesses, nonprofits, governments, and families to determine what helps us learn and what gets in our way. With humor and clarity, they blend the latest insights from neuroscience and psychology with practical, hard-headed advice. The book is destined to become a classic in the world of leadership, organizational behavior, and education.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Skjam!

    Disclaimer: I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway on the premise that I would review it. Also, the version I read was an Advance Readers’ Copy and some changes may be made in the final version. We’ve all been there. You go above and beyond busting your butt on the job for a year, but your boss’ evaluation says “meets minimum standards” and no pay raise. Your mother asks for the thousandth time why you can’t be more like your Nobel Prize winning sister who married a brain surgeo Disclaimer: I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway on the premise that I would review it. Also, the version I read was an Advance Readers’ Copy and some changes may be made in the final version. We’ve all been there. You go above and beyond busting your butt on the job for a year, but your boss’ evaluation says “meets minimum standards” and no pay raise. Your mother asks for the thousandth time why you can’t be more like your Nobel Prize winning sister who married a brain surgeon and has provided Mom with two lovely grandchildren. A random crack from a passerby about your nose puts you in a depressed funk for the rest of the day. We all get feedback that’s not useful, not helpful, unwanted, badly timed or just wrong. It can really do a number on your psyche, or get rejected out of hand, no matter what the actual truth value of it is. However, there can be parts of the feedback that would actually be useful if you can excise the wrong parts and the hurtful way it was delivered. And that’s what this book is about. It’s by two of the three authors of Difficult Conversations, because they learned that giving proper feedback and receiving feedback were both listed as very difficult conversations indeed. Most businesses concentrate on teaching their managers to give feedback, so this book primarily works from the other direction, learning to receive feedback in a manner that makes it productive. First, there’s some discussion of the three main types of feedback, appreciation, coaching and evaluation, what the difference is, and how each is useful in its own way. Quite a bit of the book is examining the various types of “triggers” that can prevent feedback from being received correctly; truth triggers (this information is factually wrong), relationship triggers (the person telling me this is not credible) and identity triggers (“so what you’re saying is that I’m an unfit parent?”) The text examines how to spot that these triggers are happening and how to deal with them. According to the authors, triggers can make the conversation about the triggers, rather than about the original feedback. Redirecting the conversation to what the other person actually means by their feedback can be more productive. One of the concepts I found most helpful was dealing with “switchtracks,” where both people in the conversation are addressing different issues so both are monologuing about their own pet peeve, rather than addressing them one at a time. Some of the suggested phrasing is things no human being would ever say in a natural conversation, but that’s what is supposed to make it effective by breaking the negative feedback cycle. There’s a section on brain functions, which the authors acknowledge may become dated swiftly, Neuroscience is a rapidly changing field and in five years time everything quoted here may be obsolete or proved wrong. They do their best to explain current theory and how people can deal with their brain wiring to get better results from feedback. Then comes the section on using the information on feedback in the actual process, including how to set boundaries (you need to receive feedback properly; that doesn’t mean you’re going to take the advice you’re given.) There’s information on how to “coach your coach” so that they can learn to give you the feedback that will be the most helpful. One thing they don’t really cover is dealing with trolls and bullies, people who deliberately give you wrong or injurious feedback for malicious purposes. You’re still on your own to spot the difference between them and people who give hurtful feedback for non-malicious reasons. Finally, there’s a chapter on how to integrate better feedback reception (and giving) into an organizational culture. The acknowledgements are especially interesting as a model for showing appreciation, and there are extensive end notes. The ARC did not have an index, but did include a “road map” that goes into more detail than the table of contents. There are a number of illustrations; mostly figures. Is this a useful book? I would say yes. It’s well-organized, has useful information in an understandable format, and has applicability in the real world. That said, I think it is a book the readers will need to seek out for themselves. Being given or recommended this book is a form of feedback that could be taken wrongly. (“Are you implying I can’t take feedback?!”) And being given this book by your manager will arouse as much suspicion as say, Who Moved My Cheese?, notorious as a book that management loves and employees find self-serving. I recommend this book for business people, college students (high school students might need a slightly simpler version), bloggers and anyone who finds themselves surrounded by idiots that never, ever give good feedback.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Anything I quote may have changed in the final version. This was a very difficult book to read! I am never good at being criticized, and magnify that difficulty by taking everything as criticism. Ha. I'm also in the position of giving feedback to a crew of librarians and can always use ideas for how to do this in the best way! What I really like about this book is that it examines what the problems are, focusi I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Anything I quote may have changed in the final version. This was a very difficult book to read! I am never good at being criticized, and magnify that difficulty by taking everything as criticism. Ha. I'm also in the position of giving feedback to a crew of librarians and can always use ideas for how to do this in the best way! What I really like about this book is that it examines what the problems are, focusing on the person reading, while also giving ideas for how to address both the problems that are internal and those that are relational, structural, or role-based. I got a lot out of even just breaking it down into these categories, because it helped me see how complicated these elements can make something like giving and receiving feedback. It made me think a lot about myself, more in the role of receiving feedback than in giving it, probably because that is where I need the greatest help! A few of the practical concepts I marked for further pondering - -Disentangle we from what -The speed at which we interpret data, sometimes making us miss the actual meaning or intention of feedback -Noticing different things despite having access to the same data (ask "Why do we see this differently? What data do you have that I don't?") -How much is role and how much is personality? -Pay attention to your own silent switchtracking reaction to others' feedback The concept of "identity story" is something I've come across before, but I felt it was well-handled here. How some people see themselves as unchangeable and that makes feedback more difficult, and how sometimes figuring out what the story we are telling about ourselves can really help us wade through our reactions to feedback. I loved the set of "forward-looking" questions that the authors recommend you take to any evaluation conversation: "What were the criteria you used? What did you consider to be the most important? Are there concerns I should know about? Are there skills or experience I am missing? Looking forward: What are the consequences? How will this effect me in the coming year? What should I be thinking about or working on? When might we reassess? Since the authors are careful to distinguish evaluation from coaching, and at once point suggest interpreting some evaluation as coaching, I liked this idea of having a tangible way of turning feedback around into immediate useful, actionable directions. Excellent. There was one scary suggestion of asking people around you "What do you see me doing, or failing to do, that is getting in my own way?" It is probably a clear indicator that this book did not save me from being terrified of this kind of conversation, but I'm mulling it over. Perhaps if I start with safer people. And the authors suggest always having someone safe on hand to bounce ideas off of. "When we are under stress or in conflict we lose skills we normally have, impact others in ways we don't see, are at a loss for positive strategies. We need honest mirrors in these moments, and often that role is played best by those with whom we have the hardest time." Hmm, interesting. Actually they are not suggesting a safe person to mirror you, but someone who you struggle with. I am not ready! I will need to start small, but that is an interesting question. And as someone who has been under too much stress in the last two years, I'm not sure I want to hear the answer. Ha.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jim Serger

    A must read for anyone who interacts with others--that is everyone for that part. Feedback is just that; a statement that we receive in a formal setting or nonchalant. Giving feedback as the two authors state can be rewarding for others as well as you "the giver", or it can be horrific as well, either way. Three takes on that-- helping you, helping themselves/the relationship and helping an origination/team. The book is filled with information, stories on getting better results from/on feedback- A must read for anyone who interacts with others--that is everyone for that part. Feedback is just that; a statement that we receive in a formal setting or nonchalant. Giving feedback as the two authors state can be rewarding for others as well as you "the giver", or it can be horrific as well, either way. Three takes on that-- helping you, helping themselves/the relationship and helping an origination/team. The book is filled with information, stories on getting better results from/on feedback--the best statement in the book was " The ability to learn from feedback is what will shape your future most". The book really sets in motion the importance of understanding and giving feedback in a positive tone. "A good listener asks for help". They touch on leadership, coaching, mentoring, teams, one on one and creating a better quality relationship with others. Excellent book for the work place, sports, school and home front.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Note: I received this book for free through the First Reads program. Thanks for the Feedback attempts to break down why the feedback we get often seems unfair or invalid, why it is so difficult to receive feedback (hint: the two are related), and presents doing so as a skill that can be improved. The book is well researched and well documented, and the information is interesting and useful, for the most part. I found the following two insights to be the most helpful. First, Note: I received this book for free through the First Reads program. Thanks for the Feedback attempts to break down why the feedback we get often seems unfair or invalid, why it is so difficult to receive feedback (hint: the two are related), and presents doing so as a skill that can be improved. The book is well researched and well documented, and the information is interesting and useful, for the most part. I found the following two insights to be the most helpful. First, the book makes the distinction between three types of feedback: appreciation, coaching, and evaluation. Appreciation is encouragement, coaching is feedback geared at helping you improve your skills, and evaluation is an assessment of where you stand. Because each has a different flavor, and accomplishes a different purpose, the book argues these should be separated whenever possible, and both feedback giver and receiver should be aware of the type of feedback being given. Similarly, if you don't feel appreciated, you resent being given critical feedback, and if you're trying to find ways to improve, a pat on the head isn't helpful. There should be a balance between the three types. Secondly, the book talks about the difference between a growth-based mindset and a fixed mindset; the notion that your traits and abilities are inborn and unchanging, or that they alter over time based on your experiences and effort. A set mindset leads you to avoid feedback and challenge because they threaten your identity as a smart or competent person, e.g. "If I fail at this task, then I'm an idiot." This might sound familiar if you've taken a psychology course or two, but Thanks for the Feedback goes through how to start adjusting your mindset in favor of growth over set. For example, it suggests giving yourself a second score on your resilience and willingness to learn in the face of a failure. Inevitably, you will make mistakes, but practicing at learning those mistakes and recovering from them well will serve you well in the long run. I recommend this book if you find yourself wilting and becoming depressed in the face of feedback, getting irate or upset, or rejecting it outright. With an open mind it would be a good tool for self-improvement to anyone who works on a team or who gives or receives feedback. I agree, however, with an earlier review that states you have to seek this book out for yourself; trying to convince someone to read it because he or she doesn't take feedback well would only result in hard feelings.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bill Morgan

    This is a must read for anyone out there seeking to improve in their personal and professional lives. Feedback is everywhere and knowing that it is a powerful device, equally capable of bringing great benefit or great harm, helps us all navigate in our social and professional spheres.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, is a book on the technique behind receiving, analyzing and engaging feedback. Most jobs in the modern world come with yearly (or even more frequent) formal evaluations. Most people receive other forms of feedback everyday, whether it be a criticism of your most recent project at work, tips from a co-worker that may or may not be wanted, or comments and conflicts with friends, romantic partne Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, is a book on the technique behind receiving, analyzing and engaging feedback. Most jobs in the modern world come with yearly (or even more frequent) formal evaluations. Most people receive other forms of feedback everyday, whether it be a criticism of your most recent project at work, tips from a co-worker that may or may not be wanted, or comments and conflicts with friends, romantic partners and random others. Criticism is a huge part of life, but most people are uncomfortable receiving and giving it. The authors have deconstructed feedback, examining why people hate it, the emotional responses present when receiving it, and tips on how one can better acknowledge and integrate feedback without engaging in larger conflicts. Stone and Heen deconstruct conversations involving feedback, looking at both the giver and receiver, and the motivations behind their comments. Often people are just as bad at giving feedback as receiving it, and this can lead to miscommunication of intent, and a disregard for useful advice. Often people will offer unhelpful statements - "you are always late" or "you are such a slob!" - these statements are personal, do not convey specific examples, and are not helpful. When one receives a comment like this, it is useful to take a step back and examine why the comment is present. What are the specifics that led to this comment? Finding out you are always late to the weekly Sprint meeting, or you always leaver your socks on the floor, offer concrete examples, and present workable solutions to the receiver. Stone and Heen examine how to receive feedback - the biggest section of the book. This includes examining the relationship between the giver and receiver, looking for ulterior motives, and then gracefully considering the comments. One does not have to accept feedback, but receiving it can often point to deeper problems in the relationship between the parties. The authors offer tips on how to avoid conversation pitfalls, like sidetracking - turning the conversation against the giver. If someone tells you that "you are a slob for leaving your socks on the floor," the comment is often followed by, "Well I wouldn't be such a slob if the laundry room wasn't always full of your clothers." This form of sidetracking might contain the same topic - ie. leaving your socks on the floor - but address to separate issues. One person is talking about leaving socks on the floor, the other is talking about a messy laundry room. Two separate problems, one topic of conversation. Better to address the original topic first. Stone and Heen also address blind spots in our awareness of ourselves, and feedback receiving and giving in firms and organizations, as well as a chapter on giving feedback as a manager or a concerned partner in a relationship. All in all, this was a very interesting read. It bucks the trend of the tide of productivity/self help books on the market, looking at an interesting topic and dissecting it into parts. It breaks down causes of feedback issues, and examines why these issues arise due to personality issues, relationship structures and misunderstandings. It offers suggestions to help individuals step back from an overtly emotional response, and examine the issue at hand, without advocating for a completely robotic response from a feedback receiver. Stone and Heen have written an excellent book that I personally found useful both for work and relationship situations, making it applicable to many aspects of ones life. I can easily recommend this book both for those looking for a good productivity style book for personal development, and those in the business world looking for tips on how to step up their office interactions. It was also surprisingly readable.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Fleming

    I would give this one 3.5 stars; I admit I had high expectations, but ultimately was a bit underwhelmed. There were definitely some good points and concepts, such as consciously separating feedback into appreciation, coaching, or evaluation. As the subtitle implies, this book is all about how to receive feedback, and Stone and Heen make a compelling case for how the receiver is the one who controls the ultimate impact of feedback. However, I felt that their advice on how to effectively and diplo I would give this one 3.5 stars; I admit I had high expectations, but ultimately was a bit underwhelmed. There were definitely some good points and concepts, such as consciously separating feedback into appreciation, coaching, or evaluation. As the subtitle implies, this book is all about how to receive feedback, and Stone and Heen make a compelling case for how the receiver is the one who controls the ultimate impact of feedback. However, I felt that their advice on how to effectively and diplomatically handle more off-putting or hostile feedback was a bit lacking. A lot of the conversations they portray also come off as very formal and not particularly reminiscent of real-life exchanges (which they point out at least once, to their credit). Overall, I'm happy I read this book and will definitely attempt to use some of their concepts in my job. I was expecting (or hoping for) some more profound paradigm-shifting ideas, but I did not find those here. Still a worthwhile read, and I may need to pick it up again when I'm not working 80 hours a week so that it takes me less than 3 months to read. Some of the impact may have been lost in that fragmentation for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    GREAT read. Very informative and chocked with tons of useful suggestions, some of which I've already been putting into practice.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Surprisingly good. I assumed this book would be centered around "feedback" as in something you get from bosses at work (or similar), and while that is mostly the case, this book dives into far more than that tiny niche. This book is really about introspection, relationship building, and making interactions with others more pleasant and effective. The feedback in question can be applied to any relationship: customer/provider, co-worker, subordinate/superior, and perhaps most importantl Surprisingly good. I assumed this book would be centered around "feedback" as in something you get from bosses at work (or similar), and while that is mostly the case, this book dives into far more than that tiny niche. This book is really about introspection, relationship building, and making interactions with others more pleasant and effective. The feedback in question can be applied to any relationship: customer/provider, co-worker, subordinate/superior, and perhaps most importantly the marriage. Dealing with "feedback" can be a negative experience; in fact, it likely has a negative connotation with some people. Even in the worst case scenario, this book will arm the reader with practical strategies and advice that can be applied that very same day. Perhaps the best part is that the reader will be able to meta-analyze a conversation in real time so that you can keep the encounter productive and positive (in the sense that it moves forward productively). Even though I found myself a bit bored at times (going over situations that weren't pertinent to me at the moment), I can strongly recommend this book to anyone that has to interact with others (over the phone, over email, in person, etc). That's probably everyone reading this review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andra

    I'm SO glad I started the year with this book, because its effect and its teachings are extremely valuable and they're also a perfect fit for this stage of my life. "Thanks for the feedback" is a dense book, but its clear structure and helpful examples make it worth reading. The insights on how to receive and deliver feedback in a way that is helpful, meaningful and constructive have changed the way I look at feedback conversations (and most conversations too, even if they're not specifically re I'm SO glad I started the year with this book, because its effect and its teachings are extremely valuable and they're also a perfect fit for this stage of my life. "Thanks for the feedback" is a dense book, but its clear structure and helpful examples make it worth reading. The insights on how to receive and deliver feedback in a way that is helpful, meaningful and constructive have changed the way I look at feedback conversations (and most conversations too, even if they're not specifically related to feedback). There are some uncomfortable truths in this book which made me feel uneasy, because I tried to imagine applying them in real life. However, just because they suggestions are outside my comfort zone, it doesn't mean that I'm not going to go for them. I have so many bookmarks in my book and quotes and advice I want to transcribe into my dedicated agenda that I might just copy the entire book. :) If you're interested in growing as a person and on making your feedback and conversations worthwhile, this book is a must-read. Again and again.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    I dread feedback. I've dreaded it all my professional life. After reading the book I believe I had really bad experiences with feedback, both parts a culprits of it, but this book is great with helping with that. It helped me put a name and understanding what is going on. It thought me that I can not control how the feedback in given but I can control how to take it and get something out of it either things to improve or just experience on getting to know me better and the reasons I'm I dread feedback. I've dreaded it all my professional life. After reading the book I believe I had really bad experiences with feedback, both parts a culprits of it, but this book is great with helping with that. It helped me put a name and understanding what is going on. It thought me that I can not control how the feedback in given but I can control how to take it and get something out of it either things to improve or just experience on getting to know me better and the reasons I'm a certain way. It explains all the extras that are brought to the table on feedback conversations and by understanding what is going on maybe and only maybe I won't panic in the face of feedback.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I won this book through goodreads.Since we all give and receive advice,this book is a must read,if you are interested in being an effective communicator.I would especially recommend this book to supervisors,and also to men having difficulty communicating in a marriage.I found the text interesting,and motivating for my personal improvement.Like anything in life,we need to accept more responsibility for our communication with others.The first step toward better communication is to read this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Shirkman

    There aren’t a lot of books about giving and receiving feedback (especially bad feedback!) well. This book is well worth the time for those of us who want to help others grow, communicate more effectively with coworkers, friends and family, and to develop a way to give, solicit and receive feedback personally. There were lots of mini breakthroughs for me as I thought about being a coworker, husband, parent and friend. The overview of the three types of feedback (appreciation, coaching and evalua There aren’t a lot of books about giving and receiving feedback (especially bad feedback!) well. This book is well worth the time for those of us who want to help others grow, communicate more effectively with coworkers, friends and family, and to develop a way to give, solicit and receive feedback personally. There were lots of mini breakthroughs for me as I thought about being a coworker, husband, parent and friend. The overview of the three types of feedback (appreciation, coaching and evaluation), “switch-track conversations” where more than one type of feedback is given by and conversations spiral out of control without resolution, and setting boundaries were especially helpful.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sean McQuay

    Easily one of the best self-help books I've read. Lots of variety in examples, somehow all of them applicable with imagination. Helpful, concrete points that are explored in nuance instead of being "beaten to death."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I found this book really helpful and highly recommend it--yes, to teachers and students and people in corporate land, but also to people in any sorts of relationships--I think almost anyone who has struggled with any sort of feedback could benefit from it. Also, I listened to the audio book and snickered several times at the funny examples.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Novak

    "Thanks for the Feedback" is pretty skimpy with the science, but I found it to be an incredibly practical guide to improve feedback-type conversations. The authors define this scenario broadly -- everything from employees' annual reviews to nagging your significant other. They are communications/negotiations experts and do a great job providing examples of the many different types of feedback and strategies. Most of the material is geared around learning to receive feedback better, but you'll le "Thanks for the Feedback" is pretty skimpy with the science, but I found it to be an incredibly practical guide to improve feedback-type conversations. The authors define this scenario broadly -- everything from employees' annual reviews to nagging your significant other. They are communications/negotiations experts and do a great job providing examples of the many different types of feedback and strategies. Most of the material is geared around learning to receive feedback better, but you'll learn tips for giving feedback more effectively, too. If you find yourself in tense conversations or disagreements with people at home or at work, I highly recommend this helpful little book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This is one of the most important books I've read in the last few years. There are so many books and articles out there about how to give good feedback, but this is the first book I've read that focuses on the receiving end. My biggest takeaway is that in any feedback situation, it's important to throw defensiveness to the curb, listen for the deeper story, and ask questions until you attain the tidbit you can use to learn and grow as a person. Feedback from anyone, whether you expected it or no This is one of the most important books I've read in the last few years. There are so many books and articles out there about how to give good feedback, but this is the first book I've read that focuses on the receiving end. My biggest takeaway is that in any feedback situation, it's important to throw defensiveness to the curb, listen for the deeper story, and ask questions until you attain the tidbit you can use to learn and grow as a person. Feedback from anyone, whether you expected it or not, can be an opportunity for growth. You just have to be open to it!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Edwin Dalorzo

    A very useful compendium of advice and good ideas on the difficult task of receiving feedback. The book is very well written. It gradually builds on sound and sensible arguments and stupendous suggestions on how to make the best out of the feedback others give us all the time. This book is not just about the feedback we receive at work, but also about the countless feedback interactions we have every day with family, friends, acquaintances, customers, etc. From the pages of this book, we learn a A very useful compendium of advice and good ideas on the difficult task of receiving feedback. The book is very well written. It gradually builds on sound and sensible arguments and stupendous suggestions on how to make the best out of the feedback others give us all the time. This book is not just about the feedback we receive at work, but also about the countless feedback interactions we have every day with family, friends, acquaintances, customers, etc. From the pages of this book, we learn about ourselves, how we often react to feedback and how some of those reactions prevent us from taking advantage of it. We learn what we could do to control those reactions and emotions and how we can explore that feedback a little more and find hidden pearls of pure wisdom in it. We also learn to differentiate the different kinds of feedback we receive often and how not always matches the kind of feedback we need or would like to hear and therefore how to control the conversation to go in more constructive directions. The book is wonderful and has made me know myself and grow, perhaps in unfathomable ways. I have already noticed how I have become more aware of the feedback I receive and how I react to it when I have conversations with family and friends. I have also improved so much my skills as a manager to give feedback to my colleagues and members of my team. This book is pure wisdom!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alixe

    Like many people, I m not great at taking feedback. I mean, I love feedback (!) - as long as it's given in a thoughtful and constructive manner, that it comes from someone "who knows better", with no other agenda than my personal development. If it sounds rather limiting, it's because it is, and this book does a great job at convincing you that taking in feedback from more sources will step up your learning. I also found their separation of the kind of feedback (coaching, appreciation and evalua Like many people, I m not great at taking feedback. I mean, I love feedback (!) - as long as it's given in a thoughtful and constructive manner, that it comes from someone "who knows better", with no other agenda than my personal development. If it sounds rather limiting, it's because it is, and this book does a great job at convincing you that taking in feedback from more sources will step up your learning. I also found their separation of the kind of feedback (coaching, appreciation and evaluation) , and the concrete examples, very interesting. I'll probably read-read this book every year.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mandy Havert

    This book was recommended to me by a colleague in the Graduate School. It is part of a book read intended to support graduate student training in the area of difficult conversations. I was skeptical when I started and the book turns out to be a good read. The authors build a case that lends itself to developing a rapport and structure for giving and getting feedback, and further developing a productive workplace.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Could read this book several times and earn something new each time. Love that it focuses on the often overlooked skill of how to ask for and receive feedback - even when that feedback may be poorly delivered. This book will be helpful to anyone interested in improving the quality of their relations whether at school, work or at home. The book is a bit longer than it needs to be but is packed with really useful insights and practical examples. Highly recommended!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alana

    While written around receiving (and giving) feedback, this book is really about how to interact with people and why we act the way we do. I appreciated its broad focus on not just work/career-related feedback but also on feedback we receive in all areas of life. Hopefully, I can remember some of the helpful nuggets from this book when I’m actually in the middle of a feedback conversation.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chantal Jandard

    I was skeptical, but so glad I gave this book a try. Solid advice for working with others and self-growth, in the context of both professional and personal life. The authors explain the methods extremely well and support their statements with cited research. Everyone should give this a read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heli

    Highly useful, practical, full of explicit explanations why and how to take feedback better, yearn for it more, and change company culture. It includes a humorous variety of rare names as the protagonists of the example stories which probably was meant to lesser the chance of someone recognizing themselves in these situations, but hinders reading, because it diverts thoughts to the effort they paid to find such names, instead of just being a bunch of random ones. The style is abrupt and design w Highly useful, practical, full of explicit explanations why and how to take feedback better, yearn for it more, and change company culture. It includes a humorous variety of rare names as the protagonists of the example stories which probably was meant to lesser the chance of someone recognizing themselves in these situations, but hinders reading, because it diverts thoughts to the effort they paid to find such names, instead of just being a bunch of random ones. The style is abrupt and design wise it uses different fonts on titling which can also distract. Content and point wise a useful read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Antoinette Perez

    A couple of great concepts early, and then a lot of stuff that feels like it's floating and unable to be caught, pinned down, and used. Feedback has been a bit of an obsession for a few years and this is a good addition to the library.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stijn Zanders

    Really loved the concrete examples that the authors give, there are many fake conversations by which they show their theory in action. If you want to improve yourself understanding how to receive feedback is important and this is the book just for that!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dina

    Excellent book that promotes self-reflection and has helped me take feedback better. End of chapter summaries were also super helpful.

  28. 5 out of 5

    AJ

    One of the best "business" books I've read. A ton of actionable ideas, written in a clear and easy to digest way. There is also a lot in here that can help with personal relationships as well. This book and nonviolent communication are two must reads.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Kehl

    One of the most helpful books i've read in recent years! Encouraged me in a learning posture, no matter what the feedback, how it's given, or who the giver is!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erika RS

    This book takes a different perspective than most books on feedback and tries to help the reader get better at taking feedback rather than giving it. This was valuable to me in two ways. First, I am terrible at taking feedback, and this book helped me see ways I could improve and understand the patterns that make feedback hard for me (my tendency is to take feedback too seriously and become discouraged by my lack of competence at anything ever). Second, although the authors are mainly concerned This book takes a different perspective than most books on feedback and tries to help the reader get better at taking feedback rather than giving it. This was valuable to me in two ways. First, I am terrible at taking feedback, and this book helped me see ways I could improve and understand the patterns that make feedback hard for me (my tendency is to take feedback too seriously and become discouraged by my lack of competence at anything ever). Second, although the authors are mainly concerned helping the reader get value out of feedback no matter how badly present, it's also useful for givers of feedback, which we all are at one time or another. The book starts with the framing that feedback is not always valid, but feedback that seems invalid at first often has at least some elements you can learn from. 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. Then we get into the meat of the book. First up is understanding why feedback can be so hard to accept. The authors discuss three categories of triggers that block our ability to listen to feedback. The first are truth triggers. Truth triggers are when your resistance to the feedback comes from the substance of the feedback: the feedback just seems wrong or not helpful. One common way that feedback can be unhelpful is when you get feedback that's different than what you need at the time. Appreciation tells the receiver that something about them is valued. Coaching aims to help the receiver get better. Evaluation tells the receiver where they stand relative to some standard. Often, these are mixed together or given at the wrong time, both of which can trigger a negative response. For example, if you're just starting working on something that's intimidated them, you may be more in need of appreciation than coaching. You just want to know it's ok to keep going, and that you're not a complete failure. As a receiver, you can deal with this trigger in two ways. One, when you're asking for feedback, be explicit about whether you want appreciation, coaching, or evaluation. Second, when you're getting feedback, label it according to these types and either respond in a way that helps you get the most out of that feedback type or make it clear what you need right now. The second response to a truth trigger is shifting from a mindset of evaluation to curiosity when you receive feedback. Instead of immediately concluding that feedback is wrong (or, more rarely, right), take the hard step of being authentically curious about the feedback and trying to understand it. Instead of asking "why is this wrong?" (wrong spotting) ask "what might be right about this?" Part of what is useful here is to separate the data the giver is working with from their story about that data, from the label they reduce it to, and from the behavioral consequences they think should result. Asking questions which help clarify these distinctions requires engaging with the feedback is a more useful way than wrong spotting. Another useful tool is switching from wrong spotting to difference spotting: when you have a strong reaction to feedback you've been given, figure out the difference between your data, interpretation, label, and consequences rather than just dismissing theirs as wrong. Then figure out why you see those things differently. The third response is to realize that we all have blind spots. When we look at our own behavior, we have a rich internal world to explain it. Others only see what we present externally, our behavior. This gap in visibility can cause dramatic differences in how we see ourselves and how others see us. We can't see our own behavior, especially things like tone of voice, body language, and facial expression, but others are hyper-aware of these details. Merely understanding that such a gap does exist can help temper our response to "invalid" feedback. Instead, we can use the possibility of such gaps as a prompt to start looking for other ways to validate or invalidate the gap such as asking someone we trust to be candid about the behavior. The second category of triggers is relationship triggers. Sometimes, who is giving the feedback matters just as much as the content of the feedback. The same relationship advice from a partner, parent, or good friend will feel completely different. The most important thing to do when confronted with a relationship trigger is to avoid switchtracking, the tendency to switch the conversation from being about the content of the feedback to the emotional context of the feedback. Both conversations are important, but tangling them leads to endless confusion and disagreement. Instead, it should be an explicit decision between the giver and receiver to focus first on whichever issue seems most important and come back to the other. The authors then cover a number of specific emotional triggers that can result in switchtracking such as threats to the receiver's autonomy or feedback which makes the receiver feel rejected by the giver. Relationship triggers exist within the broader context of the relationship, so the second topic of this section is discussing ways to look at the relationship as a system rather than just at the individual moment. Problems in relationships are rarely caused by you xor me. They're usually caused by you and me. While you may have some behavioral tendencies that are universally annoying, usually it's a combination of two people's behaviors, expectations, and context that causes something to turn into a problem. By seeing the relationship as a system, you can get beyond who is right and who is wrong and instead try to see the larger patterns and the opportunities everyone involved has for change. The book views the relationship system on three levels. First is the You+Me level -- how is it that we're both contributing to this situation? Second is looking at our roles. Our roles influence how we interact. E.g., two people whose behavioral patterns might not cause problems in most situations can be destructive if one ends up in a position of authority over the other. Understanding how roles contribute to interactions can provide a valuable shift in perspective. The broadest level is looking at the system that the relationship exists in -- the broader culture, other people involved, where you currently are, anything which might contribute to the feedback. The commonality of these three steps back is that by looking at the relationship in a broader context, you can move beyond right and wrong and try to understand the root cause behind the feedback and your response to it. The third class of relationship triggers is identity triggers. These make the receiver's sense of self feel threatened. Feedback which makes you feel like you might not be the person you thought you were -- good, respectable, valuable -- can be crushing. Much of this section discusses the different ways people respond to feedback and varying sensitivity to identity triggers. Everyone has a different baseline for how good they feel about themselves, different magnitudes of emotional response, and different durations of that response -- note that the second and third can be different for positive vs negative feedback, usually with negative feedback causing larger, longer swings than positive. I, for example, tend to have a fairly high baseline opinion of myself, high swings for negative feedback, moderate swings for positive feedback, and fairly short duration for both. Our reaction can distort our interpretation of the feedback. For example, if feedback tends to cause you large emotional swings, you may tend to exaggerate it. "You were a little brusque in that meeting" becomes "You're a terrible mean person who can't treat others with respect." Common distortions negatively reinterpreting your whole past based on feedback, expanding it to apply to everything you do, and assuming that the feedback dictates your destiny. Understanding how you react to feedback can help you combat these exaggerations and see the feedback more accurately. One technique for doing this is to separate the feelings you have about the feedback, the story you're telling yourself, and the actual content and consequences of the feedback. And sometimes, despite all that, feedback is still just overwhelming. Sometimes the right reaction is to wall yourself off from the feedback for now and ask for help. Finally, one way to help decrease the impact of identity triggers is to consciously cultivate a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. Accept that you can change, that even if you are the horrible, worthless person the feedback obviously proves you are, you can get better and become the person you want to be. Part of this is also accepting that most identity markers are not binary. We think of ourselves as honest or dishonest (usually honest), but in reality we're honest in some situations and dishonest in others. We can also accept that our desires can sometimes be contradictory -- we want to be perfectly honest, but we also want to avoid pointless confrontation. Instead of judging ourselves, accept that life is full of tradeoffs. The last section of the book covers how to incorporate this advice into a conversation where you receive feedback. Understand the boundaries you can draw and when to draw them. Times when you might need to draw boundaries are if the feedback attacks your character rather than behavior, is unrelenting in frequency or ever growing in scope, or accompanied by threats (as opposed to natural consequences). If the feedback giver never accepts that they may be part of the problem or that your views and feeling are not worth discussing, then drawing strong boundaries may also be needed. Although you cannot control the flow of a conversation, you can make sure that a feedback conversation covers some key elements, even when the feedback giver is not skilled. First, make sure that you are both aligned: is this appreciation, coaching, or evaluation? What are the consequences of not listening to the feedback? Second, dig into the substance of the feedback. Ask questions, respond to the feedback, figure out ways to make the conversation more effective (e.g., separating out separate topics to avoid switchtracking), and work on figuring out the consequences of the feedback. Finally, make sure there is a clear commitment to next steps. If you're going to take the feedback, be explicit about what you're going to do. If you're not going to take the feedback, be explicit about that too. The important thing is to make sure the conversation closes with both participants on the same page about the result of the conversation. Finally, the book ends with a brief discussion of feedback systems, especially in organizations. The key takeaways of this section is that there is no perfect feedback systems and that the most important thing is to have a culture where feedback is valued, including feedback to leaders from those they lead. Overall, this book was quite valuable and one I'm likely to refer to again.

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