Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion, by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph. D., is an important book that I think everyone should read. In it, Rosenberg looks at language and the way in which we use language to communicate effectively or ineffectively. He describes this approach near the beginning of the book (NVC stands for Nonviolent Communication):
NVC is founded on language and communication skills that strengthen our ability to remain human, even under trying conditions… NVC guides us in reframing how we express ourselves and hear others. Instead of being habitual, automatic reactions, our works become conscious responses based firmly on an awareness of what we are preceiving, feeling, and wanting.
Not surprisingly, Rosenberg conveys his message very effectively in his book. His writing is clear and to the point, and he uses examples and real-life scenarios to demonstrate what he means.
Even though much of NVC was already familiar to me because both my parents had attended Rosenberg’s workshops when I was young, there were many things I learned from reading the book. For example, I became more aware of the subtle ways that judgments show up in our language.
NVC is not easy and you should not expect to be an expert after reading one book on it, but I think that exposure to thinking about the way you communicate is very valuable. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Note: I think the newer edition of the book is called Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life.