Think about the last time you tried to talk with someone who didn't already agree with you about issues that matter most. How well did it go?
These conversations are vital, but too often get stuck. They become contentious or we avoid them because we fear they might. What if, in these difficult conversations, we could stay true to ourselves while enriching relationships and creating powerful pathways forward? What if our divergent values provided healthy fuel for dialogue and innovation instead of gridlock and polarization? Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant invite us into a spirit of serious play, laughing at ourselves while moving from self-reflection to action. Using enlightening exercises and rich examples, Breaking through Gridlock helps us become aware of the role we unwittingly play in getting conversations stuck. It empowers us to share what really matters – with anyone, anywhere – so that together we can create positive change in our families, organizations, communities, and society.
About the Author
Jason J. Jay is a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan.
Gabriel Grant is the CEO of Human Partners and cofounder of the Byron Fellowship Educational Foundation.
“A field manual for change agents on how to build bridges across differences and move from talk to action.” —Adam Grant, Professor of Management, The Wharton School, and New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take
“This book is not for the fainthearted, but if you truly want to change the world, it gives us the tools and the inspiration to do so.” —Gwen Ruta, Senior Vice President, Climate and Energy, Environmental Defense Fund
“Our country’s future depends on our ability to reach beyond our echo chambers. Jay and Grant guide us through starting the conversations so crucial to our democracy.” —Van Jones, cofounder and President, The Dream Corps; CNN contributor; and author
“We need the creativity that can be harnessed from competing perspectives to craft a thriving organization and a thriving society. This book gives people the tools to take that on.” —John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market
“Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant single out authenticity as the key to breaking through the conversational gridlock that afflicts so many of our public and private interactions. They highlight the traps we fall into, as well as promising pathways for working our way out of them. It won’t be easy, but you can use the exercises they offer to practice sidestepping the polarizing moves we make without even being aware of what we are doing.” —Lawrence Susskind, founder of the Consensus Building Institute; Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, MIT; and Vice Chair, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School
“Whether you're hoping to shift your company, your community, or even yourself, Jay and Grant have produced an accessible and practical guide that will make you chuckle with recognition—then motivate you to get to work.” —Christine Bader, author of The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist
"In this savvy and highly practical book, Gabriel Grant and Jason Jay offer a way forward for groups that get stuck in seemingly hopeless, zero-sum conflicts. It should be required reading not only for corporate offices but also for congregations who preach unity and peace, but don’t always know how best to achieve them. And in a period of real polarization and deep division in our national culture, this is a book for our time." — The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, XXVII Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
"Conversations are the most important leverage point for leaders and change makers. Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant offer critical insights and tools that will help you craft better conversations and thus a better world." — Otto Scharmer, Founder, Presencing Institute, and author of Theory U and Leading from The Emerging Future