September 14, 1999
As Aristotle put it long ago, human beings are distinguished from other species by our ability to use language. Yet all too often – on the job, in businesses, and in our communities or personal lives – we don’t listen to one another. Invested in our views, we explain when we should inquire. Caught up in our own preconceptions, we disguise our feelings and fears, and hide our very meeting. Our talk drives us apart.
In this engaging book, based on over 10 years of research with corporations, managers, and business and community leaders, William Isaacs – founder of the Dialogue Project at MIT – shows how problems between managers and employees, and between companies or divisions within a larger corporation, stem from an inability to conduct a successful dialogue. He demonstrates that dialogue is more than just the exchange of words, but rather the embrace of different points of view – literally the art of thinking together. Through his work with Ford, Shell, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, and other companies, Dr. Isaacs has expanded the ways that better design conversation can be (and has been) applied to bridge the communication gap in organizations and communities.
A powerful approach for managers, leaders, and individuals, Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together is an essential book that can help revitalize our work and our lives.
William Isaacs is a lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management and president of DIAlogos, a consulting and leadership education firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As a scholar and consultant, Dr. Isaacs has worked intensively over the last fourteen years developing the dialogue approach with such major organizations as Ford, Motorola, and Shell. A graduate of Dartmouth College and the London School of Economics, Dr. Isaacs received his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University. He lives with his family in the Boston area.