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Book Review: Reconcilable Differences

Connecting in a Disconnected World

by Dawna Markova and Angie McArthurSPIEGEL & GRAU
reviewed by Kathryn Drury Wagner
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Cover image of Reconcilable Differences

“Respect and maximize our differences.” Wait, what? Respect, always, but maximize our differences? In this day and age? Well, tell me more. Dr. Dawna Markova PhD is an expert in the fields of learning, perception, and asset focus. With her daughter-in-law, Angie McArthur, who is the acting CEO of their consulting group, Professional Thinking Partners, she has written a book with a compelling message. Their thesis: that differences actually create stronger groups. “The very thing that has the most potential to separate us—that we each understand differently—has the most potential to connect us in a deeper way than we ever imagined. Indeed, our differences are what we have in common!” 

In their earlier work, Collaborative Intelligence, Markova and McArthur presented their concepts about Mind Patterns and Thinking Talents. Through reading Reconcilable Differences, I discovered there is no one correct way to communicate, understand, learn, and trust—there are variations in each of those and how our brains work. The book is filled with interesting quizzes and insights on how input triggers responses in people—it’s very hands-on to read. The more we learn about and see these as “differences,” rather than “difficulties,” the better we are able to frame our relationships as filled with possibilities rather than dead ends. The authors speak of it as a “mental metabolism,” as it were. Unlike Collaborative Intelligence, this book is skewed not toward professional settings, but to more intimate relationships, such as mother-son or spouse-to-spouse. The people who matter the most in our lives, I would hope, deserve this attempt at authentic understanding. And Markova and McArthur are there to help guide us along the way.


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