Monday, May 02, 2011

Non-Fiction: Pragmatics of Human Communication by Paul Watzlawic, Janet Beavin Bavelas and Don D. Jackson

Our first reaction when it spilled out of its packaging was, “Wait. Really? What?” The title, after all, does not inspire the idea that this will be an easy Sunday read and, truly, it felt as though some sort of mistake had been made. Pragmatics of Human Communication (W.W. Norton) is not the usual January fare. But this edition of a classic of interpersonal communication is celebration in itself.

Pragmatics of Human Communication has been called one of the best books ever written about human communication. First published in 1967, in the foreword to this first paperback edition, Bill O’Hanlon writes:
The Pragmatics of Human Communication fired the first shot to signal a revolution in the field of psychotherapy. Previously, most therapeutic approaches were focused on the individual. The approach introduced here, very radical for its time though not so now, dine its message has been absorbed into the mainstream, was that behavior and symptoms in the area of mental health cannot be understood properly without considering, interaction and communication.
Though Pragmatics of Human Communication is no one’s idea of a little light reading, if you have an interest in communication and connection, you are likely to find this 30-year-old book most rewarding.



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