Instaread Summary, Analysis & Review of The Arbinger Institute's The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict
Three out of five stars
The book is about conflict resolution and while it is fictional, the authors chose one of the most intractable conflicts as a backdrop. The setting is a conflict resolutions retreat run by Avi Rozen and Yusuf al-Falah. Avi is a Jew whose father was killed in an Arab attack in 1973 and Yusuf is an Arab whose father was killed in the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. The primary point they use to begin the process of resolution is given in key takeaway one.
“To change the behavior of others, one must first see them as human beings worthy of consideration and empathy.”
This is of course true and is an adaptation of the standard first principle of negotiations, which is to consider your opponent to have legitimate concerns. They may conflict with yours, but that does not make them illegitimate. However, in resolving conflicts when both sides have right on their side means that both sides must change.
There are eight key takeaways and they are all valid, but nothing more than vague generalities. For example, number four is:
”People may justify their self-betrayals by placing themselves in “better-than” boxes and in related ‘I-deserve’ boxes.”
Correct, yet breaking out of the boxes is what makes the resolution of conflict so hard.
From this summary, there is no significant rising above the general that convinces the reader that the book is a valuable addition that should be read. The summary reads like the bullet points describing many other self-help books, so there is nothing that grabs the reader with any mental force.
The Arbinger Institute is a consulting and training organization that is hired to provide assistance in conflict resolution to businesses. Given the content of this summary, the book sounds like a lengthy commercial for their services.