Summary of How to Disagree Productively and Find Common Ground

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How to Disagree Productively and Find Common Ground summary
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  • Eloquent
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Productive debate is a lost art. To avoid contentious shouting matches or fights with family members or co-workers, many people opt to keep quiet. Yet avoiding debates deprives individuals of the opportunity to engage with new ideas and hit upon solutions they might not have found by sticking with their preconceived notions. In an engaging oration that will appeal to anyone who reluctantly shies away from heated conversations, champion debater Julia Dhar lays out what it takes to “disagree productively.” 

About the Speaker

Julia Dhar co-founded the Boston Consulting Group’s behavioral economics and insights initiative BeSmart.



As a child, Julia Dhar’s zeal for arguing led her to join her school’s debate team. Her first attempts at formal debate were rocky. Dhar resorted to launching personal attacks on her opponents rather than discussing the topic at hand. Dhar subsequently took offense when her opponents challenged her arguments, provoking her to cling to ever more extreme viewpoints. But Dhar eventually perfected the art. She won three World School Debating Championships and made it her mission to teach others how to “disagree productively.”

The first step in any debate should be to find common ground ...

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