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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 essent 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 essent 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. 4 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 surgeon and has pr 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, focusing on the 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

    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, the book makes the dist 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.

  4. 5 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 4 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.

  8. 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 importantly the marria 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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sergey Shishkin

    Even considering myself active feedback seeker, I still found nuggets of wisdom in this book. It is very well structured, is illustrated with case study dialogs and introduces clear, easy to understand models: - How to differentiate feedback: appreciation, evaluation, coaching; - What prevents us from taking in feedback: truth triggers, identity triggers, relationship triggers; - How different people "metabolize" feedback based on their emotional baseline, swing and sustain/recovery; - How biases an Even considering myself active feedback seeker, I still found nuggets of wisdom in this book. It is very well structured, is illustrated with case study dialogs and introduces clear, easy to understand models: - How to differentiate feedback: appreciation, evaluation, coaching; - What prevents us from taking in feedback: truth triggers, identity triggers, relationship triggers; - How different people "metabolize" feedback based on their emotional baseline, swing and sustain/recovery; - How biases and blind-spots interfere; - How fixed/growth mindset impacts feedback absorption; - Understanding what type of feedback you need and how to ask for it explicitly; - How to weigh feedback and how to reject it gracefully; Although the book is written from a perspective of feedback receiver, learning the material will help with giving feedback as well.

  10. 4 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. 4 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 a certain wa 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

    Matthew

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

  14. 4 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.

  15. 4 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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jonno

    I would read it several more times.

  17. 4 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.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zane

    It wasn't an easy listen, yet the takeaways are well worth it. I enjoyed both the theory and examples and noticed that I already try to squeeze some learnings in my daily life. Recalibrating your brain is not easy, but it might be very beneficial. Let's learn to communicate better! So it's as easy as reading/listening to this book (and taking at least some of the advice) :)

  19. 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."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    I received a copy of Thanks for the Feedback from Goodreads First Reads. This book is a true game-changer. I feel like the advice that Stone and Heen give in Thanks for the Feedback are very useful and practical, and I know there are way too many of us who need to learn how to give and receive feedback in a better way. It’s like I keep doing the same thing everyday and never realize that it could be better, and this book gives me concrete advice on how I can better myself – and, in turn, better o I received a copy of Thanks for the Feedback from Goodreads First Reads. This book is a true game-changer. I feel like the advice that Stone and Heen give in Thanks for the Feedback are very useful and practical, and I know there are way too many of us who need to learn how to give and receive feedback in a better way. It’s like I keep doing the same thing everyday and never realize that it could be better, and this book gives me concrete advice on how I can better myself – and, in turn, better others. The first thing I did after reading this book was to give it to my parents, haha. Introduction Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, co-founders of Triad Consulting Group and lecturers at Harvard Law School, have come together to explain the challenge of giving and receiving feedback, the differences between appreciation and coaching, what switchtracking is and how to deal with it, and ultimately, how to apply better communication skills in both personal and professional settings. Discussion Thanks for the Feedback has everything necessary to keep me reading: stories, pictures, lists, tables and charts, and take-home messages. Every chapter or section is tied to case studies, or “stories” exemplifying the main lesson that Stone and Heen want to get through to you. This keeps things from getting too dry or textbook-ish and really sets this book apart from a lot of self-help books I’ve read. Let’s take an example. You say I’m a reckless driver. That’s the label. Where is it coming from? A specific time we drove together, the fact that I call you from my cell when I’m driving, or your fears about that fender bender I had last year? I’ll be able to more easily decipher the feedback if I know the answer. There are so many good tips in this book that I just want to share several that really stuck with me: - Clarify consequences and expectations when receiving evaluations. Instead of reacting passively to evaluation (one of the examples given was Max saying “I’m surprised by that” when being told that his hearing has decreased by 80%), ask forward-looking questions to clarify what it means to you and what will happen next. - Remember that feedback is an interpretation of data. For example, your boss can say that you’re too laid back, but “laid back” is an interpretation. You want to ask for the data and see if it’s your tone or your body language that is at fault before making assumptions about what you need to improve on. - Don’t switchtrack. Switchtracking is when the person receiving the feedback switches topics without being consciously aware of what they’re doing; for example, your daughter complains that you’re treating her like a child and asks if you trust her or not, and you reply that she should be grateful that she has a mother who cares. You’re switchtracking and not really responding to your daughter’s complaints! - Give yourself a “second score.” This sounds simple, but some people freeze when they hear feedback and refuse to change. How you handle the first score is important because your reaction can help you overcome your challenges. Your second score is for how well you handled that first score. - Use “and” instead of “but.” Using “but” when handling feedback kind of cancels out the first part of the sentence: “I really appreciate your mentoring, but I’ve decided to not take your advice.” This makes me feel like you don’t appreciate my mentoring even though you say that you do. Using “and” is a more truthful explanation of what we feel, and will make difficult conversations go a bit more smoothly. Conclusion This is a book that really tries to cater to the reader, and I really appreciate how well it’s organized. The extra stimulation by switching between text to pictures to flow diagrams is wonderful, and I love the way Stone and Heen included so many case studies in the form of conversations as real-life examples. There’s also neuroscience and psychology thrown into the mix, which is like icing on the cake, really. Everyone should go and read this book right now! Paper Breathers (Book Reviews & Discussions)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kressel Housman

    Receiving feedback and reading self-help books can be somewhat similar experiences. At their best, they’re instructive, but they can also put me on the defensive. Receiving feedback from a real live person does that much more powerfully than a book can, but on the other hand, a book is much more likely to bore me. This one mostly did even though parts of it contained excellent advice on how to reduce defensiveness in the face of feedback. The book divides feedback into three types: appreciation, Receiving feedback and reading self-help books can be somewhat similar experiences. At their best, they’re instructive, but they can also put me on the defensive. Receiving feedback from a real live person does that much more powerfully than a book can, but on the other hand, a book is much more likely to bore me. This one mostly did even though parts of it contained excellent advice on how to reduce defensiveness in the face of feedback. The book divides feedback into three types: appreciation, which everyone likes; coaching, which is instruction in how to do something; and evaluation, which is a judgment on how well you did. Evaluation, therefore, is usually the most unwelcome. To illustrate the point, the authors create one of those fictional scenarios that typically fill self-help books. A father takes his twin daughters out to practice baseball. One has fun trying out all the instructions he is giving; the other is miserable because she feels he is picking on all her shortcomings. One daughter is experiencing the father’s feedback as coaching, and the other as evaluation. The main take-away of the book is that when receiving feedback, focus on the coaching more than the evaluation. The book makes extensive use of Carol Dweck’s definition of the growth vs. the fixed mindset. For those who aren’t familiar, the fixed mindset is the view that talent is inborn. You’ve either got it or you don’t. In the growth mindset, anyone can acquire any skill with hard work. “Talent” isn’t all that important. In a famous experiment, she gave two groups of kids puzzles to solve. After solving some easy puzzles, one group was told, “You’re so smart.” The other group was told, “I see you worked really hard on that.” When asked if they would like to move on to harder puzzles, the group complimented for their smarts declined. They didn’t want to take any risks with puzzles that might show that they weren’t so smart after all. But the kids who were complimented on their hard work were willing to try the new puzzles. They didn’t care about the difficulty; they were acquiring new skills. Applying their own concepts to Carol Dweck’s, the authors conclude that one group experienced the exercise as evaluation while the others saw it as coaching. Or to put it more succinctly, one group was in a learning room and the other in a testing room. Where would you rather be? That was my favorite insight in the book, but there were a few other good ones. My second favorite was to consider the “relationship system” when you receive feedback. It takes two to tango. The person giving you the feedback may be an abuser, but try and step back and figure out what you are doing to provoke his triggers. And if it’s just abuse, plain and simple, it’s your right to put up boundaries and reject the feedback. But since most people aren’t abusers and really do mean well, it’s best to keep control of your emotions and talk things through because people see the world differently. In another brilliant line in the book, it’s not a problem that I speak English or that you speak Swedish. But together, it’s a problem. The book makes good and instructive points. I definitely learned from it. But all those fictional scenarios to illustrate the points were sometimes a chore to get through. I said in an earlier review that I find self-help books that you can read in one sitting to be a little too gimmicky. This self-help book had the opposite problem. Perhaps it was an effort to make the book seem more substantive, but to me, all those fictional scenarios were just filler.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This was our professional development book for work. I really enjoyed it! Feedback is something that I have always struggled with - this book offers helpful lessons while consistently acknowledging that conversation & feedback depends on the person (their wiring / triggers / character). They separate feedback into three areas: appreciation, coaching, and evaluation and unpack each one with dos and and don’ts. The focus is primarily on the receiver more than the giver of feedback. Super helpful p This was our professional development book for work. I really enjoyed it! Feedback is something that I have always struggled with - this book offers helpful lessons while consistently acknowledging that conversation & feedback depends on the person (their wiring / triggers / character). They separate feedback into three areas: appreciation, coaching, and evaluation and unpack each one with dos and and don’ts. The focus is primarily on the receiver more than the giver of feedback. Super helpful practices to learn for me & something I am going to try to implement and will come back to in the future.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Avolyn Fisher

    When I look back on the feedback I have received over the years, I can't think of one instance when the feedback was delivered well. It was either nonexistent, rude and unprofessionally given, or not exactly what I was looking to hear (I was seeking coaching but I got praise, or vice versa). It's easy to point the finger and blame when we receive poorly delivered or inaccurate feedback. But unfortunately like the old quote goes, "You can't control what happens to you, you can only control how you When I look back on the feedback I have received over the years, I can't think of one instance when the feedback was delivered well. It was either nonexistent, rude and unprofessionally given, or not exactly what I was looking to hear (I was seeking coaching but I got praise, or vice versa). It's easy to point the finger and blame when we receive poorly delivered or inaccurate feedback. But unfortunately like the old quote goes, "You can't control what happens to you, you can only control how you react" which is the attitude and direction of this book. Offering various considerations and approaches for the listener to take when receiving feedback because too often we focus on coaching the feedback givers and not the feedback receivers. This book was absolutely amazing. I am convinced that it altered the outcome of my career. For me feedback is often a very emotional experience because I pride myself in my work, and want to do well. When I hear negative feedback I feel like a failure and when I hear positive feedback I usually well up in tears because it means so much to hear that I am doing a good job. Arguably, I need to get my sh*t together! For that reason I am so glad I came across this book. Unlike most business books that offer a few tidbits of advice, this book was packed from beginning to end with valuable insight. Somehow, the authors managed to take a chaotic emotional experience and turn it into a logical non-chaotic, and often predictable system. With mid-year reviews right around the corner I wanted to get through this book before I had my one-on-one meeting with my manager. I am so glad that I did because for the first time in my life I feel optimistic and excited about the feedback I am about to receive. There is one quote from the book that is going to stick with me and I just might hang it in my cube as a daily reminder: "Feedback isn't just about the quality of the advice or the accuracy of the assessments. It's about the quality of the relationship, your willingness to show that you don't have it all figured out, and to bring your whole self - flaws, uncertainties, and all - into the relationship." - Thanks For the Feedback

  24. 5 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!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eric Kaltenmark

    I just finished my advanced copy of “Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well” which I received via Goodreads. I found the book to be very helpful in expanding my understanding of personal and professional communication. While the title calls out “receiving feedback”, Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen did a great job of expanding it into providing feedback as well. The numerous examples were helpful and provided reflection to past and current situations where communica I just finished my advanced copy of “Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well” which I received via Goodreads. I found the book to be very helpful in expanding my understanding of personal and professional communication. While the title calls out “receiving feedback”, Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen did a great job of expanding it into providing feedback as well. The numerous examples were helpful and provided reflection to past and current situations where communications were an issue. I now find myself looking deeper into how my communications might be received before passing along the advise, reviews, instructions, etc to the recipients. This not only helps to avoid hurt feelings but also helps avoid delays from miscommunications or misunderstandings. While I found the book to be a bit long for my tastes, it could easily be used for a master’s program in “feedback” science!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    I received an ARC of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads! I found this book very helpful in so many ways, I learned a lot of tips about how to receive feedback properly, and also how to develop good communication skills. It explains it all so meticulously that I didn't have any trouble on understanding the ideas, the authors really did a great job in this book! Plus, in the acknowledgments part, I was really impressed when I read that all the examples mentioned in the book were based I received an ARC of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads! I found this book very helpful in so many ways, I learned a lot of tips about how to receive feedback properly, and also how to develop good communication skills. It explains it all so meticulously that I didn't have any trouble on understanding the ideas, the authors really did a great job in this book! Plus, in the acknowledgments part, I was really impressed when I read that all the examples mentioned in the book were based on real life experiences, it was a great touch I may add, because I felt identified more than once with them and it's comforting to know it really happens to other people, I'm not the only one. I would like to recommend this book to EVERYONE, analyzing people in my life I realized no matter how different they all are, they ALL need those tips, if everyone knew at least a few of the advices that this book includes, their lives would be a lot easier!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Excellent, practical advice on how to receive feedback, and even how to give it. The authors discuss different types of feedback -- support, coaching and evaluation -- and how these roles differ. In my role as manager, I am often coach and evaluator. After reading this book, I now understand why both of these feedback types sometime don't work with the same person; e.g., the individual might receive coaching well, but be unresponsive to evaluation. The book also informs about the state of mind a Excellent, practical advice on how to receive feedback, and even how to give it. The authors discuss different types of feedback -- support, coaching and evaluation -- and how these roles differ. In my role as manager, I am often coach and evaluator. After reading this book, I now understand why both of these feedback types sometime don't work with the same person; e.g., the individual might receive coaching well, but be unresponsive to evaluation. The book also informs about the state of mind a person may be in and how that affects the type of feedback they can receive. It discusses the triggers that affect our ability to receive feedback -- truth, identity and relationship triggers -- and how you can control your response to feedback that triggers one of these reactions. Highly recommended for anyone who has difficulty listening to feedback, and for anyone who gives it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nivedita

    This book talks about the different types of feedback (appreciation, coaching and evaluation) and when each is useful, how to best solicit meaningful feedback, and how to understand and overcome your natural triggers to feedback. Overcoming triggers to feedback is my main action point from this book, and I appreciate being able to understand this better. There are three types of triggers – truth trigger ('That feedback is wrong'), relationship trigger ('After all I've done for you, you're saying This book talks about the different types of feedback (appreciation, coaching and evaluation) and when each is useful, how to best solicit meaningful feedback, and how to understand and overcome your natural triggers to feedback. Overcoming triggers to feedback is my main action point from this book, and I appreciate being able to understand this better. There are three types of triggers – truth trigger ('That feedback is wrong'), relationship trigger ('After all I've done for you, you're saying this?') and identity trigger ('I'm such a failure – I can't do anything right'). I struggle a bit with all of these, so I'm going to try to keep it in mind for the next time someone gives me feedback. I listened to this as an audiobook. The narration could be better, and I feel like it was easier to get through by listening than it would be as a read because it can be repetitive at times.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shan

    “Feedback isn’t just about the quality of the advice or the accuracy of the assessments. It’s about the quality of the relationship, your willingness to show that you don’t have it all figured out, and to bring your whole self - flaws, uncertainties, and all - to the relationship” APRIL 2020: As good the second time as the first time. Really need to get my own copy. MAR 2015: Everybody should read this book - I don’t know if I’ve ever said that about a book before. Written by a Harvard law profes “Feedback isn’t just about the quality of the advice or the accuracy of the assessments. It’s about the quality of the relationship, your willingness to show that you don’t have it all figured out, and to bring your whole self - flaws, uncertainties, and all - to the relationship” APRIL 2020: As good the second time as the first time. Really need to get my own copy. MAR 2015: Everybody should read this book - I don’t know if I’ve ever said that about a book before. Written by a Harvard law professor and everything he says makes such incredible good sense. It’s not about blaming the person giving the feedback, no matter how off-base it is - it’s about how to understand and work with the person/feedback you get, no matter what it is. One more book that I wish I could remember and enact on a daily basis...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana Pojar

    This book made me think differently about feedback and also made me think more about my own reactions and how I’m reacting or taking in things that other people say to me. If you want to give better feedback to people or you want to make more of the feedback and conversations you have with people around you this book is great. The book describes different types of feedback that people can give (coaching, evaluation, appreciation) and offer tools to help you receiving it. Many people have triggers This book made me think differently about feedback and also made me think more about my own reactions and how I’m reacting or taking in things that other people say to me. If you want to give better feedback to people or you want to make more of the feedback and conversations you have with people around you this book is great. The book describes different types of feedback that people can give (coaching, evaluation, appreciation) and offer tools to help you receiving it. Many people have triggers and reactions to feedback, so it’s important to do some self reflection and identify your own triggers that might prevent you from actually taking in and be actionable about the feedback you received. And the books helps with this.

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