Published by Rachel Noel on 15th September 2016

Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New Realities, 2 nd edn, by Adam Kahane. Reviewed by Debby Edelstein

Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New Realities, 2nd edn, by Adam Kahane.

Berrett-Koehler, 2007, 149 pages, ISBN 978-1-57675-464-1, £12.99.

Purchase here

Reviewed by Debby Edelstein

solving-tough-problemsThis is the kind of book that made me want to jump when I read it. I always know I’ve hit on something important when I have a physical reaction to information and want to run around the room. Written in an accessible, unpretentious style, Adam takes us on a personal journey into understanding the magical possibilities of diversity and the world of fostering deep transformation in groups.

He’s worked on some of the toughest problems in the world and it’s this amazing exposure that gives his work particular resonance. He’s worked in the corporate world – including the Shell Scenario Planning process – as an expert analyst and advisor to corporations and governments convinced of the need to calculate “the one right answer”. But then the real drama happens when he takes us all over the world as he facilitates high-conflict problem-solving efforts in places like Columbia during the civil war, Argentina during the collapse, Guatemala after the genocide, IsraelPalestine, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and the Basque Country.

The book also gives us an insider’s view (including a little romance) into the Mont Fleur Scenario Project in which a diverse group of South Africans worked together to effect the transition to democracy and influenced the peaceful transition out of apartheid in South Africa.

It’s a must read for anyone interested in the power of conversation to transform the world. I was left with the exhilarating and optimistic sense that this is the kind of intervention, which can make anything possible.

Debby Edelstein is Co-founder of QualityLife company (

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