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The following is a list of resources we have assembled that have informed our practice as conflict analysis and engagement professionals. While we have learned so much from these materials, our favorites are in this red font. Many of the books have previews at Amazon and/or Worldcat (links open in new browser windows). List prices are indicated by one to five dollar signs.

  • $ (under $25)
  • $$ (up to $50)
  • $$$ (up to $75)
  • $$$$ (up to $100)
  • $$$$$ (ouch)

Books & Videos

Conflict Analysis & Engagment - General

  • Beyond Neutrality: Confronting the Crisis in Conflict Resolution by Bernard S. Mayer (2004). The author, a longtime leader in the field of conflict resolution, challenges the profession to rethink itself and grow beyond its self-imposed narrow vision of itself. Audience: conflict professional. $$

  • Constructive Conflicts: From Escalation to Resolution (3rd Ed.) by Louis Kriesberg (2007). This book brings together conflict theories with major conflicts around the world (American civil rights, women's rights, apartheid in South Africa, etc.). It begins with conflict analysis and moves to conflict resolution strategies. Audience: conflict professional. $$

  • Conflict Resolution: Dynamics, Process and Structure edited by Ho-Won Jeong (1999). "This book argues that traditional understanding of conflict resolution does not adequately discuss structural conditions needed for intervention, strategies for conflict de-escalation, and post conflict peace building stratagies." The book includes sections on conflict dynamics, reconciliation, and structural transformation. Given the price, it's not the first book I would buy (I paid $50 for a used paperback). I'm guessing it's out of print because I see new copies with a list price of $130 but selling for twice that! Check out WorldCat (many libraries have a copy). Audience: conflict professional. $$$$$

  • Getting Disputes Resolved: Designing Systems to Cut the Costs of Conflict by William L. Ury, Jeanne M. Brett, and Stephen B. Goldberg (1988). Interested in setting up a dispute resolution process at your company? If so, this is the book for you. It is not a cookbook; it discusses six principles of effective design. It appears to be out of print but reasonably priced used copies are available. Audience: conflict professional. $$

  • Working Through Conflict: Strategies for Relationships, Groups, and Organizations (5th Edition) by Joseph P. Folger, Marshall Scott Poole, and Randall K. Stutman (2001, 2005). "Covering the whole range of conflict settings - interpersonal, group, and organization - Working Through Conflict provides an introduction to conflict management that is firmly grounded in current theory and research" - BACK COVER. To me, this is a good comprehensive introduction to the field. Among other topics it includes overviews of communication & conflict, how people "experience" conflict, power, face-saving, and conflict styles. Audience: conflict professional. $$ to $$$


  • The Making of a Mediator: Developing Artistry in Practice by Michael D. Lang and Alison Taylor (2000). The authors paint a roadmap of the journey to becoming an "artful" mediator. Audience: conflict professional. $$$

  • Making Money Talk: How to Mediate Insured Claims and Other Monetary Disputes by J. Anderson Little (2007). The author confronts the frustrating situation where some disputes do not lend themselves to an interest-based process. This book forcuses on the mechanics of negotating monetary settlements. Audience: general to conflict professional. $$$

  • The Mediation Process: Practical Stretegies for Resolving Conflict (3rd ed.) by Christopher W. Moore (2003). This is pretty much a classic textbook for mediation professionals. Its almost six hundred pages includes an overview of dispute resolution, pre-mediation issues (convening, data collection), the mediation itself, and reaching agreements. Audience: conflict professional. $$

  • The Mediator's Handbook by Jennifer E. Beer with Eileen Stief (1997). This is put together by the Friends Conflict Resolution Programs (Religious Society of Friends - Quakers) -- "one of the longest-running mediation programs in the United State" -- BACK COVER. It is a step-by-step handbook for how to conduct a mediation. It would make a great handbook for a basic course in mediation. Audience: general and conflict professional.$

  • Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators. PDF Prepared in 2004, revised in 2005, by the Association for Conflict Resolution in collaboration with the American Arbitration Association and the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution. We, at Mediation Consultants, LLC, subscribe to the principles set forth in the Standards. Audience: general. Free.

  • Narrative Mediation: A New Approach to Conflict Resolution by John Winslade and Gerald Monk (2000). "The narrative mediation approach encourages the conflicting parties to tell their personal 'story' of the conflict and reach resolution through a profound understanding of the context of their individual stories". This brings in the important theory of constructivism - the process of constructing meaning from our encounters with the world. Audience: conflict professional. $$

  • The Promise of Mediation: The Transformative Approach to Conflict by Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger (2005). The transformative model of mediation is used by the U.S. Postal Service. It's premise is conflict can be transformational (meaning positive). It promotes empowerment (individuals have the inherent capacity to resolve conflict) and recognition (seeing the perspective of the "other"). Audience: conflict professional. $$

  • The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop by William Ury (2000). "According to William Ury, it takes two sides to fight but a third to stop. Distilling the lessons of two decades of experience in family struggles, labor strikes, and wars, he presents a bold new strategy for stopping fights. He describes ten practical roles - as managers, teachers, parents, and citizens - that each of us can play every day to prevent destructive conflict." -- BACK COVER $$

  • When Talk Works: Profiles of Mediators by Deborah M. Kolb & Associates (2001). Shares the stories of a dozen mediators - including Jimmy Carter. The experiences are based on interviews. Audience: general and conflict professional. $$

Nonviolent Communication™

Marshall Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist by training, posits we are educated to "judge, demand, diagnose" other people. He proposes a new way of speaking with the intention of connection through shared human needs. This type of connection "unleashes" our innate capacity for natural giving. His model of communication was first published in the pamphlet A Model for Nonviolent Communication in 1983. He has since written many books -- a few are listed below. In addition, in Rosenberg's books and trainings, he commonly mentions the work of others (that are in alignment or support Rosenberg's ideas). A few books by these authors are also listed below.
  • Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg (2005). Rosenberg says he wishes he would have named Nonviolent Communciation™ (NVC) what it is, rather than what it isn't -- adding the more descriptive name of Compassionate Communication™. This is the most common entry point for learning NVC. It is the one book I highly recommend everyone read. Audience: General. $

  • Speak Peace in a World of Conflict: What You Say Next Will Change Your World by Marshall B. Rosenberg (2005). This book - another by Rosenberg - is "filled with inspiring stories, lessons and ideas drawn from over 40 years of mediating conflicts." Audience: General. $

  • The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium by Walter Wink (1998). Walter Wink, a theologian, describes mankind’s 5,000 year history of living within a domination system (e.g. king/commoner, boss/worker, teacher/student, and parent/child). He proposes a “way out” – with stories/examples by the likes of Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Audience: General. $

  • Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View by Stanley Milgram (2009 reprint of 1974 hardcover). "In the 1960s... Milgram famously carried out a series of experiments that forever changed our perceptions of morality and free will.... these experiments attempted to determine to what extent people will obey order from authority figures regardless of consequences." Probably every college student in an introductory course in psychology has read a few paragraphs about these studies. This book, by the researcher himself, describes the studies and his conclusions. Audience: Psychology Student. $


  • Everyday Negotiation: Navigating the Hidden Agendas in Bargaining by Deborah M. Kolb and Judith Williams (2003). The book is made up of three parts: (1) "the power of advocacy: promoting your interests effectively," (2) "the promise of connection: building a collaborative relationship," and (3) "putting it all together: balancing advocacy and connection." Audience: conflict professional. $

  • Negotiation: Readings, Exercises, and Cases by Roy J. Lewicki, Bruce Barry, and David M. Saunders (2009). We have the 5th edition, this is the updated 6th. Lots of great readings from well respected scholars. The exercises do not have "answers" (in this book!).... Audience: conflict professional. $$$$

Communication Theory

  • The SAGE Handbook of Conflict Communication: Integrating Theory, Research, and Practice compiled by editors John G. Oetzel and Stella Ting-Toomey (2006). A collection of articles that together, focus on conflict resolution from a communication perspective. The four parts explore interpersonal, organizational, community, and intercultural/international conflict -- blending together research and practice. This is not a "light" read; it is a graduate level textbook (as you'll guess by the price!). Audience: conflict professional and graduate. $$$$$

Psychology - Developmental

  • The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development by Robert Kegan (1982). An excellent (but difficult to read) book on personality development. Kegan discusses the distinctly human characteristic of meaning-making -- and how it evolves as we develop. An easier read is his 1994 book, In Over Our Heads (see below). Audience: general. $$

  • In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life by Robert Kegan (1994). A very readable book on (psychological) developmentalism and how it affects our daily lives. For me, now that I am acquainted with developmentalism, I understand and relate to people in a entirely new way. Audience: general college (probably majoring in psychology). $$

Psychology - Humanistic

When I (Rick) think of this branch of psychology, I think of Carl Rogers. I'm guessing most everyone who has taken a college level introduction to psychology course has encountered Rogers (he's one of the most frequently cited psychologists in textbooks). In a couple of polls of readers of therapy periodicals, he ranks as the most admired American therapist. While there are many modalities of psychotherapy, many therapists include some aspect of "Rogerian." Over time, Rogers used his "client-centered" philosophy in the fields of education and conflict resolution. He evolved to the use of the term "person-centered" in an apparent effort to remove the "expert/domination" connotation.

So why would a conflict resolution practitioner be influenced by Rogers? To me he is the role model for empathic listening -- deep, deep nonjudgmental listening. Empathy (and reflective listening) get a few paragraphs in mediation training -- but to me empathy is a skill that needs to be developed.

Organizational (and Personal) Change

  • Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership by Bill Torbert and Associates (2004). The book is hard to put into one category! The first half of the book is about communication -- but from a bold new perspective. The focus is on complete, closed-loop, multi-dimensional communication. The latter half of the book covers developmentalism, a psychological phenomenon within a business context. The combination brings about transformational leadership. Audience: general college. $$

  • How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey (2001). This book addresses why individuals and organizations are really committed to maintaining the status quo (and not transformational change). The authors provide substantial insight into the key to change. However, be sure to read their next book, Immunity to Change, to see their thinking as it evolves. $

  • Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey (2009). There are many, many books and articles discussing organizational change. Why so many? Because many of the theories in the multitude of books do not work in practice. So more authors "give it a try." This book gets to the heart of the matter - the psychology of the participants. Kegan and Lahey not only present theory, they back it up with research within organizations. Audience: general college. $$

  • Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change by Don Edward Beck and Christopher C. Cowan (1996). Beck and Cowan carry on the work of Clare W. Graves -- applying a unique view of developmentalism to business and government. Audience: general to general college. $$


Culture and Conflict

Integral Theory - Integral Psychology

The following books are by Ken Wilber, an interesting (to me) modern day philospher. Among other things, he has created a marvelous model to analyze – well – anything (or everything). The model is "nicknamed" AQAL – All Quadrants, All Lines. I use it to analyze conflict. The descriptions of most of the books (below) are taken directly from the back pages of The Integral Vision.

  • A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber (1996, 2000). "A short, highly readable version of Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, written in an accessible, conversational style, without all the technical arguments and endnotes; the place to begin if new to his work." Audience: general. $

  • Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy by Ken Wilber (2000). "This book presents one of the first truly integrative models of consciousness, psychology, and therapy. Drawing on hundreds of sources - East and West, ancient and modern - Wilber creates a psychological model that includes waves of development, streams of development, states of consciousness, and the self, and follows the course of each from subconscious to self-conscious to superconscious."--BOOK JACKET. Audience: general. $

  • The Integral Vision: A Very Short Introduction to the Revolutionary Integral Approach to Life, God, the Universe, and Everything by Ken Wilber (2007). A very brief, glossy, overview of integral theory (kind of the Reader's Digest version). Audience: general. $

  • No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth by Ken Wilber (1997, 2001). "A simply and popular guide to psychologies and therapies available from both Western and Eastern sources." Audience: general. $

Facilitation - "Mediation" with many stakeholders

  • The Consensus Building Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Reaching Agreement compiled by editors Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, and Jennifer Thomas-Larmer (1999). As the title indicates, it is comprehensive (over 1,100 pages).... A reference guide for researching consensus with groups. A step-by-step process is described along with seventeen case studies. Expensive! Audience: conflict professional. $$$$$

- these don't seem to fit our categories (but are important to us)

Conflict Resolution Organizations

* Compassionate Communication™and Nonviolent Communication™ are terms trademarked by The Center for Nonviolent Communication™. http://www.cnvc.org