The Art of Conversations

2016 Jack Ricchiuto | DesigningLife Books
Paperback, 242 p

Add to Cart

Make every conversation a connecting conversation.

In The Art of Conversations, 20-time author Jack Ricchiuto outlines the anatomy of connecting, banter, utility, tense and awkward conversations in a digital age.

Drawing from a wide spectrum of research and science, including a global study for the book, he presents over 100 practices for feeling confident that we can connect with others in conversations.

The book articulates in beautiful ways the simple, powerful observation that everything good we create together will come about because of the kinds of conversations we invite and have. 

More details on the new workshop based on the book.


Conversational Primacy

15 In the beginning
19 Why we talk
25 Good connections, good life
28 Context
35 Connecting Conversations
38 Banter and utility conversations
44 Tense and awkward conversations
49 It takes two, and one

Conversation Essentials

55 Beginnings
59 Endings
62 Turn Taking
67 Transitions
71 Pauses
74 Tell me more
77 Kind inquiry
82 Reports and stories
87 Repair
91 Insertions, overlaps and interruptions
94 Feedback and advice
98 Humor
101 Contagious energy

Connecting Conversations

107 Emotional connection
111 Connection worthiness
115 Showing interest
120 Being interesting
123 The art of growing interest
127 Beautiful questions
134 Being comfortable
137 Living in a common world
144 Integrity
147 Intimacy
151 Conversational freedom
154 Mindful conversations

Conversational Hacks

159 The pattern language of bad conversations
162 Distancing
165 Landmines
170 Personas
173 Personalities
176 Diffusers and escalators
181 Soft no
184 Conversation as invitation
187 Before you die
190 Inspiring compassion
193 Social responsibility

Conversation Everyday

198 New conversations
202 At work
205 Agendas
210 Side conversations
213 Growing ideas
217 Talk to action
219 In community
223 Intentional conversations
226 Rich time together
228 Walking conversations
231 Talk with anyone, about anything
235 Looking up at the moon

237 Gratitude
239 About the author 


This is a conversation about conversations.

Conversation is life. Consider your life so far and all the learning and loving, succeeding and surviving, delighting and dreaming you have done in conversations.

We live in a world of unprecedented complexity, change and connectivity. Flourishing will happen because we know how to have connecting conversations. The heart of our optimism about creating a world that works is a palpable sense of how new and connecting conversations will make this possible.

We're concerned about losing the art of conversation. Conversation becomes a species headed for extinction in a world when people sit silently with one another, busy somewhere else, through the ubiquity of small screens. Technology is changing our whole sensibilities about what it means to be in conversation. There is so much good that can't happen if we can't have rich connecting conversations that exceed the duration of lightning.

This book is an invitation to become more vividly aware of the art of conversations. It is research rich, including a recent global study with 285 people. It draws from my last three decades working across the globe helping people in organizations and communities become more deeply connected and enjoy the fruits of the process. 

It's practical, offering over 100 reflective questions and practice tips for you to cultivate the art of conversations in every dimension of your life.

The book spans a dizzying array of topics including neuroscience, intimacy, last goodbyes, technology, meetings, humor, community, politics, religion, emotional connection and talking about anything with anybody. It focuses on personal, work and civic conversational contexts.

It's now becoming more apparent than ever that the possibility of our personal and collective flourishing is equal to the quality of our conversations. Let's take this path together.