Summary of Let’s Talk About Hard Things

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Let’s Talk About Hard Things book summary

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Emotionally charged issues like death, sex, money, family and identity are never easy to address, but the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs. In this thoughtful book, Anna Sale, host of the podcast Death, Sex & Money, provides guidance for having high-risk conversations with intention, kindness and consideration. While she doesn’t offer how-to lists, she does draw a road map for navigating fraught conversations. The destination is not always resolution, explains Sale. But the journey will fracture the isolation of silence and bring you to a better understanding of yourself and others.

About the Author

Anna Sale is a political journalist and the creator and host of the podcast Death, Sex & Money.


Having forthright conversations about death, sex, money, family and identity is notoriously difficult.

People are decreasingly reliant on preexisting structures, rituals, and civic and religious institutions that can help navigate life’s challenges and painful experiences. In the absence of religious or social support, individuals must devise their own strategies for dealing with loss and adversity. One tried-and-tested approach involves reaching out and sharing your thoughts and feelings with others.

Hard conversations often can take a wrong turn, despite the instigator’s best intentions. Nonetheless, bringing challenging subjects into the open has the potential to help people strengthen relationships, express love, lessen burdens, build trust and garner support.

Begin a difficult conversation by being clear about what you’d like to gain. Hint to your conversational partners that you want to talk about something sensitive so they won’t feel ambushed. Use an opener such as, “I’ve been thinking about something,” or, “Do you have time to talk?” Read the other person’s speech, mannerisms and body...

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