Summary of Just Listen

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Just Listen book summary

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


Being the life of the party won’t help you make a sale. In fact, letting other people take the spotlight will actually garner more admiration and eventual “buy-in,” explains psychiatrist Mark Goulston. This advice follows his axiom, “be more interested than interesting,” which is one of his nine principles for connecting with others. Goulston, who has trained police officers and US Federal Bureau of Investigation hostage negotiators, devotes a chapter each to 12 powerful techniques you can use to be more persuasive. His systems and strategies will help you cross the natural barriers people erect to protect themselves, so you can communicate your ideas and goals. He fleshes out each lesson with real-life examples and engaging stories. getAbstract thinks you’ll find this book quite helpful in refining ways to “get through” to others. If Goulston can negotiate with a desperate gunman, he surely can help you sway a customer – or even your teenager.

About the Author

Mark Goulston, author of Get Out of Your Own Way and Get Out of Your Own Way at Work, is a columnist, psychiatrist and business consultant.


Persuasion at Gunpoint

A man is sitting in his car in a mall parking lot. He’s holding a shotgun. Mark Goulston, the police negotiator, knows this volatile situation has every chance of ending poorly. How can he reach this clearly desperate man?

The negotiator asks a question: “I bet you feel that nobody knows what it’s like to have tried everything else and be stuck with this as your only way out; isn’t that true?”

The man with the shotgun pauses and thinks before replying, “Yeah, you’re right, nobody knows and nobody gives a f#@&!” - As surprising as it may seem, this begins a dialogue.

The negotiator’s question resonated with the gunman, who answered by agreeing. This was the first step toward a peaceful resolution. Most people who want to persuade others push too hard. They use arguments, counterarguments, facts and figures to support their positions. Rather than convincing people, this tends to create resistance. Instead, try listening, empathizing and connecting with the people you are trying to sway. Logic alone won’t achieve your goal. You can “get through” to people only if you can persuade them to “buy into” your ideas. You need to ...

Comment on this summary

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    C. V. 2 months ago
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    J. S. 9 months ago
    interesting points, really makes you think
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      Bryant Bradanini 6 months ago
      I agree! Be interested not that
  • Avatar
    S. P. 2 years ago

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The Relationship Economy
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It’s Time to Talk (and Listen)
The Creator Mindset
Every Conversation Counts

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