Synthesizes a lot of matterial into a very accessable narrative, full of practices, to help us stay open in conversation

Ian Marsh’s new book on rediscovering the power of conversation belongs on the bookshelf right alongside books like Nancy Kline’s Time to Think, Doug Stone & Shiela Heen’s Difficult Conversations; possibly also add Byron Katie’s (creator of “The Work”) Loving What Is.

Marsh is a retired litigation lawyer now communication coach and mediator who also works with family businesses. He synthesizes a vast array of information into a very readable and easy to assimilate explanation of how we are wired, our cognitive biases, self-serving memory, fight flight freeze or tend response, neuroplasticity, the power of curiosity, story, forgiveness, community, all directed to helping us stay open in conversation with the other.

The book places a big emphasis on building up self-awareness and mindfulness of your own physiological and emotional responses and has reflection practices through-out for the reader to work through. The tone is conversational; it is like having a fireside chat with the author.

I think it will be very popular with mediators, coaches & counselors, others involved in conflict resolution work; church groups. It is a very good book for improving trust and communication within a family. It would be a great book for a family “book club”. Really it can be read by any one who is looking to work on themselves.

What surprised me as I read it was the thought “I must get my teenage children to read this” because as they become mature adults I want them to have the skills for important conversations and to understand what it means to be a human.

Christian Stewart, Family Legacy Asia (

The author clearly knows his subject …

… clearly indicated in the synopsis.
Most professional people and successful business people believe they are masters of conversation. This book will make many of us reconsider our position! I personally wish I had access to it before I retired.
Whilst written from the background of family business, I heartily recommend this book to a far wider range of readers. This should include spouses/partners, parents and adult children and (difficult) friends.
The reaxed style of the narrative, interspersed with personal experiences and reflective exercises make this an enjoyable read whilst the reader assimilates and practices the lesson therein.

John Rowe (

Russell Haworth, Family Business Podcast (

Hugely relevant

…why indeed is it often so hard to talk? This book reminds us that at the end of the day it all comes down to awareness and effective communication. Full of real life insights and very practical advice, this book helps us to rediscover the power of conversation both in a professional and private context. Given the author’s extensive professional background with family businesses, this book is particularly relevant to anyone involved in family business dynamics.
kmr (

Read If it is so Good to Talk

Mr. Marsh writes well about a topic that has not been considered in an in depth way in the modern consulting and mediation field. How can consultants give advice and their clients receive advice if they aren’t actually communicating in a deep and empathetic way? Have we lost the art of deep listening and knowing a person beyond the words that are being said?

Ian’s book goes far beyond advice for the professional. It is a wise read for anyone that is interested in knowing his or her own self, that of persons in his or her life, and how we interact with each other.

Read “If It Is So Good to Talk, Why Is It So Hard”, for a profoundly richer life.

Edmund Granski (Amazon .com)

What a fantastic and necessary book for our generation

We think we communicate well, but the majority of us can really struggle with the basic principles, especially when it comes to communicating with those closest to us.

A really good and worthwhile read – and a wonderful of point or reference to dip in and out of as and when required! I can highly recommend it!

Jessica McGawley, Dallington Associates (Goodreads,.com)

A go to book when having that conversation seems too difficult

A very thought provoking look at the way we communicate or not as the case may be, Ian has some interesting idea about how to avoid misunderstandings and deal with them when they occur.
There are techniques included that will help you prepare for that dreaded conversation so you get the right outcome for both parties.
Highly recommend this book if you think your communication or conversation techniques need to improve to get better outcomes.

Amazon customer (

A superb book.  Cutting edge yet eternal wisdom

This is cutting-edge. Ian Marsh gives us the state-of-the-art for 2019. In this superb book, the author provides much practical hands-on steps we can adopt in our lives and practices (I’m also a mediator) and the science to back them up. The author is also tremendously engaging and personable, sharing personal applications from his own life in brief boxes labeled “Life story.” I found the author someone I liked and he is a kind and brilliant guide.

David J Spellman (

Vital skills.  Essential reading

We live in the digital age, and stories abound of people who’d rather walk away – from a good job, a fine relationship, a pleasant neighbour – rather than tackle difficult subjects. The skill and ability, the very preparedness, to sit with someone and tell them how you feel, is being lost. Is it that we are better at writing than saying it? No! In this book, Ian Marsh sets out why it’s always been difficult to do, and why it’s getting harder. At the same time, he reassures us and teaches us how to go about it despite our old resistance to the very idea of ‘confrontation’. This is a book which rejects confrontation of the hostile kind: instead Marsh gives examples of what lies behind both our reluctance and our hostility – and how to leave them behind. Reading it, I realised the satisfaction we get from ‘getting it right’ is far better than simply ‘getting it done’. This is a book for our times, when online bullying has taken the place of civil discourse and disagreement, and reminds us of what we are actually capable.

JoK (