When we disagree about fundamental issues, especially issues such as politics or religion, it can be incredibly difficult to maintain close interpersonal relationships. These differences have ended friendships and caused rifts in families. We need a tool to help us build more resilient relationships despite real and present differences. In Brave Talk, communications expert Melody Stanford Martin offers just such a tool: impasse. By learning to treat every conflict as if it’s an impasse and temporarily suspend our desire to resolve differences, we make space for deeper understanding and stronger ties.
Brave Talk offers hands-on skill-building in critical thinking, power sharing, and rhetoric. Combining real-life storytelling, engaging illustrations, and rigorous academic sources, this book blends humor, creativity, and interactive learning to help everyday people develop better skills for navigating conflict in order to build stronger relationships and healthier communities.
“In Brave Talk Melody Stanford Martin has done what no one has done before: challenged some of the most basic, widely held assumptions about conflict and how to address it. Anyone who experiences a deep divide will benefit enormously from this book.”
—Dr. Donna Hicks, associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University; author of Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict and Leading with Dignity
“Brave Talk is one of the most honest, imaginative, insightful, relationally focused, and comprehensive books in the field of engaging difficult conversations and conflict transformation. This is a book everyone should read, ideally in community.”
—Tom Porter, mediator, lawyer, minister, and teacher of conflict transformation at Boston University School of Theology
“Brave Talk is a book for our time. With her personal experience and expertise, Melody Stanford Martin writes with both rigorous analysis and deep compassion and shows how it is possible to reach a point of empathy and understanding, even in deep-rooted conflicts.”
—Diana Francis, peace activist and former president of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation
“In a time when divisions threaten not only our country but our very families, we need a new approach to dealing with conflict. Brave Talk is that new approach. Martin tackles the topic of interpersonal conflict with humor, practical suggestions, and profound insight. A must-read!”
—Lindsay James, Iowa State Representative
“Brave Talk by Melody Stanford Martin is an amazing achievement–a book on conflict that is actually fun to read while also grounded in solid research.”
—Steven J. Sandage, PhD, LP, Albert and Jessie Danielsen Professor of Psychology of Religion and Theology, Boston University School of Theology, Research Director and Senior Staff Psychologist, Albert & Jessie Danielsen Institute