Book Review: “Changing the Conversation: The 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution” by Dana Caspersen

May 21, 2015 in Books and Resources

Whether you are a warfighter, a private security professional, or work in law enforcement, your mission at its most distilled level is conflict resolution. How specifically you resolve conflict on a daily basis may be dictated by the uniform you wear, the environment in which you operate, and the tools you have at your disposal, but, in the end, your ultimate goal is stopping problems before they get out of hand. Dana Caspersen’s book, Changing the Conversation: The 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution, gives readers simple, easy-to-understand guidance on how to do just that. While Caspersen’s book is geared more towards personal conflict resolution and diverting arguments, the principles espoused in Changing the Conversation can be adapted by anyone interested in preventing, rather than recovering from, the effects of conflicts.

The foundational tenant of Caspersen’s book states that, “You can’t change how other people act in a conflict, and often you can’t change your situation. But you can change what you do.” By making this statement at the very beginning of the book, Caspersen puts the onus of conflict resolution on, and therefore gives control of the potentially uncontrollable situation to, the reader. Once the reader learns that, by stepping “away from cycles of attack and counterattack” that we are all drawn into during highly charged situations, the reader can then guide the discussion, argument, or situation in question toward a peaceful, or at least favorable, resolution.

Caspersen’s overarching philosophy is about changing Continue reading »