The traditional view is that a mediator is a neutral, third party who helps two or more conflicting parties cooperatively resolve their differences. Interestingly enough, this belief is analogous to the Cartesian-Newtonian epistemological position that holds that one can be an independent observer of an objective world, in science or in daily life. However, I am skeptical about this position, both epistemologically and clinically. What remains an open question is whether a mediator can actually ever be a 'neutral third.'
Never before has an attempt been made to capture the distinctive qualities and differences that combine to make mediation eclectic and also truly comprehensible. Until now. 'The Variegated Landscape of Mediation' (Eleven International Publishing, July 2014) is a collaboration of around 90 of mediation's thought leaders from around the world. It is the first work that explains on a global plane how mediation has cross-pollinated itself into such a kaleidoscopic display of both consistent and contradictory features.
The Dance of Opposites, a new book by Dr. Kenneth Cloke, will change your life. You will never view conflict the same way again. If you only read one more book on the theory & practice of Conflict Resolution, make it this one.
(6/06/14)Jack Hamilton, Elisabeth Seaman
Conflict is a common aspect of life that is extremely difficult to avoid because each person is different from others and arrives at his or her own conclusions about the behavior of others and the events in a situation. Although conflicts may seem unavoidable, one can actually learn how to work through them and come out with a better relationship in the end. The book 'Conflict—The Unexpected Gift: Making the Most of Disputes in Life and Work' presents a highly detailed and comprehensive approach to resolving interpersonal conflicts.
Will Pryor's 'Short and Happy Guide to Mediation' is both. You can read it in a sitting, and probably will. But it covers the waterfront too. Pryor teaches the latest negotiation theory, but the focus is decidedly on applying it in practice. The book not only helps neutrals, it helps parties and their advocates better utilize the process to maximize results.
The third edition of Party-Directed Mediation: Facilitating Dialogue between Individuals is now on-line as a free PDF download. This controversial book explains two mediation models in depth.
(12/13/13)Fredrike P. Bannink
Bannink’s latest publication ’Positive supervision and intervision’ is based on the solution focused paradigm for individual and group supervision sessions. Accordingly, learning is about our success stories as well as other practitioners’ success stories and much less about what did not work or went wrong which may be the traditional experience when a problem solving paradigm is used. This articles contains a description of her new book.
(8/23/13)Jan Frankel Schau, Jeff Thompson
Jan Frankel Schau’s View From The Middle Of The Road: A Mediator’s Perspective On Life, Conflict, and Human Interaction passes the three litmus tests for a good book. Reviewer Jeff Thompson explains why this book is a must-read for mediators.
'Lincoln' is worthy of admission to the elite pantheon of excellent films, few in number, that focus on negotiation. More than merely a well-drawn historical drama, as some have characterized it, the film pushes beyond the simplistic mythology of Lincoln as the great emancipator and savior of the Union to examine the reality of what is required to negotiate difficult human events. Not surprisingly, little has changed in the intervening 150 years, which makes the film deserving of careful review by teachers and practitioners of negotiation and mediation.
Sheryl Sandberg is the current COO of Facebook. Her book is intended as a practical guide to the continuing challenge of overcoming the still elusive and unrealized goal of gender equality. She has all the necessary credentials to be a valuable spokesperson and to garner the outsized media attention the topic deserves. However, despite offering useful suggestions about how women can affirmatively assert themselves to be taken more seriously and obtain the positions of leadership they deserve, she fails to give any significant attention to the negotiation process and skills essential to realistically 'lean in' and achieve those objectives.
As a lawyer, a district judge and now as a mediator for many years now, I have always sought out useful technology tools to make the process work better. I have seen parties use static Excel spreadsheets and midpoint analysis to try to project settlement numbers, but the negotiation process is much more sophisticated than that.
Barbara Brown discusses how to take charge of your negotiations to communicate what you really mean (and want). In negotiations that are often about money, she discusses how to add value based upon J. . Anderson Little’s Making Money Talk: How to Mediate Insured Claims and Other Monetary Disputes, published by the American Bar Association in 2007.
As someone who regularly gets emails, phone calls, and messages on Facebook and Twitter from new and experienced mediators about what it takes to build a successful mediation practice and how to get started in mediation as a career, this book will now be included in my recommendations. This book’s framework is such that you can start on any one of the 5 parts of the book and provides some great examples and resources for everything from getting training as a mediator to how to set up and grow your mediation practice.
Mediation is often promoted as an alternative to the win/lose process of litigation. One of the trademarks and selling points of mediation is confidentiality. Confidentiality has many benefits, but it also creates a cloud of mystery around mediation. Clearing away this cloud and giving a clear view and understanding of what really goes on during mediation sessions is the new book, 'Stories Mediators Tell,' edited by Eric R. Galton and Lela P. Love. The book offers insight from seasoned and expert mediators, in the form of stories, each of whom have handled hundreds (some of them thousands) of cases.
Mass disasters are mercifully rare. However, when one occurs, many lives are altered in one stroke. These tragedies call for special care and expertise in determining whether and how anyone involved will be compensated. This book discusses negotiation practicalities and outcomes in a variety of settings.
Saposnek and Eddy offer an interesting and insightful perspective of the current American political landscape. This book offers a highly descriptive explanation of conflict, easily understood on the micro level of the dynamic between divorcing couples, which is then transposed onto the macro level of our two major political parties that are unable to resolve conflict.
Much has been written about how to be a more effective lawyer in the modern age. If one was to seek to sum up what most lawyers are seeking to achieve it might be this: how you can get good results for clients and make money? This is in fact the sub-title of a new book by Professor John Lande of the University of Missouri and it is more than a clever marketing ploy.
The conflict terrain of the last 30 years is an important backdrop to a complete appreciation of ADR Principles and Practice, Third Edition, by Henry Brown and Arthur Marriott, published by Sweet and Maxwell in 2011. The authors, both from the United Kingdom, demonstrate an appreciation for the vagaries of history and gritty realities of mediation, arbitration and conflict management practice garnered from many years of life and professional experience.
A book review of the new book on Charisma by Olivia Fox Cabane. If you are interested in increasing your ability to be charismatic in your conflict resolution work, this book will give you direct skills to use in a style that will have you believing (and practicing) starting with the introduction and increasing with each chapter.
(1/25/12)New Jersey courts
Court Clips, a video, informational program produced by the New Jersey Courts, explains the foreclosure mediation program. The programs facilitates mediations between lenders and homeowners.
Monique McKay describes the book by Victoria Pynchon, A is for Assholes, the Grownup ABCs of Conflict Resolution.
(10/10/11)Peter T. Coleman
When faced with complex problems, we typically respond in one of three ways. This excerpt from Peter Coleman's book explains these three responses.
(9/26/11)Robert Creo, Monique McKay
'How Leading Lawyers Think' by Randall Kiser is a rare inside look at decision making, mediation, negotiation and case evaluation from the perspectives of leading attorneys who have successfully taken thousands of cases to trial. Their collective experience provides engaging, insightful perspectives about how cases are built from the initial client meeting, through settlement negotiations and the factors that impact the presentation at trial.
(8/08/11)Jan Frankel Schau
Mediators are uniquely capable of seeing contradictory versions of the same story and valuing at least two perspectives in a given dispute. We are able to juggle varying competing moral values and daily struggle with achieving the balance between right and just, practical and plausible, peace and conflict and black, white and gray.
(6/27/11)Arnold W. Zeman
Click here for MORE ARTICLES
This is a review of the book: 'Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation of Transformative mediation: a sourcebook - resources for conflict intervention practitioners and programs.' Its publication the the Institute and ACR is a noteworthy event in the history of both organizations.