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Offers a practical method to move through the stages of conflict common to all human situations, from business to the bedroom, and resolve it, through the use of four strategies--containment, confrontation, compassion, and collaboration.
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Part textbook, part inspirational tract by a reformed lawyer with Things on His Mind. Muldoon departed the adversary system during the go-go 1980s to found a private mediation firm; he claims to have helped settle thousands of disputes, has taught law school courses in alternative dispute resolution, and was a facilitator for the 1993 Parliament of World's Religions, about which he writes at length. ``One must become transparent so that the power can flow through the channels of the whole without becoming diverted to private aggrandizement,'' he writes. One's reaction to this book will most likely depend on one's tolerance for such woozy formulations, which flow relentlessly from first page to last. It also could depend on one's acceptance of schematization as a method for understanding reality; for example, Muldoon's strategies for resolving conflicts are Containment, Confrontation, Compassion, and Collaboration, with the ideal being Confluence. The analysis doesn't lack Common Sense (one alliteration that somehow got away), but Muldoon appears to have included every commonsensical observation he's ever jotted down in his years of sitting through meetings, as well as a number of a priori statements for which some foundation would have been instructive; the generalizations about emotions and motivations build on each other until the mind--at least the archaic, Western, linear mind--starts to numb. The last third of the book is essentially a self-help treatise with religious overtones; the major influences seem to have been Teilhard de Chardin, Buckminster Fuller, and Carl Rogers. As a how-to book on reaching mutually beneficial outcomes, this inevitably will be compared with Roger Fisher and William Ury's Getting to Yes, and not to the present work's advantage. Those who are interested in the mechanics of negotiation and mediation will probably be disappointed. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Mediation can be a singularly successful way of helping individuals in conflict who are paralyzed or driven by quarrels, suffering or hate. However, this book is not likely to convince anyone of that. Although Muldoon, a lawyer and the cofounder of a mediation firm, demonstrates that he knows his business in one convincing chapter entitled "Mediation: Impasse and the Third Force," one chapter out of 10 is not enough to redeem a text characterized by inapt locutions, failed metaphors, a windy style and flaccid reasoning. Throughout the book the author drags in literary, scientific or philosophical references without a sense of logical concurrence. In one fairly typical paragraph, he cites chaos theory, the second law of thermodynamics, the Norse god Loki and the forces of darkness and light?all in four short sentences. Nor does Muldoon always make clear how mediation actually worked in the many lively anecdotes he relates. We are presented with the details of an intractable dispute, and suddenly there is harmony, as if a curtain had been hastily lowered and raised. It is unfortunate that this professional could not make a clearer case for so effective a procedure.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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