LIZZIE BOOK REVIEW 09: You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy

Welcome to the Lizzie Book Review for You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy

All Lizzie Book Reviews are a 3 minute read, and in this format:

  1. Why I Chose This Book.
  2. The Review (under 300 words)
  3. My scores for Creativity, Insight and Precision.
1. Why I Chose This Book.

Listening is an essential part of what I do. Organisations like Google have noticed that great teams have listening as a fundamental trait. I was curious to what I could discover about my own blind spots and what else I could do more of and better.

QUOTE:  “Listening is more of a mindset than a check list of dos and don’ts. Its a very particular skill that develops over time by interacting with all kinds of people – without agenda or having aides there to jump in if the conversation goes anywhere unexpected or untoward” p22

2. The Review.

A book of stories and anecdotes on listening. From the physiology, parenting and business application to the old art of listening, Murphy shares some of her own experiences and that of those who use listening as a fundamental part of what they do.

You might argue that the content of the book is familiar and little is new however it reinforces the value of listening in all contexts. On the one hand I felt guilty about my own style of listening and on the other inspired me to listen more. Tips as a parent, leader and coach are throughout the book.

QUOTE: “The real secret to listening I’ve learned is that its not about me…I’m holding my cup out in front of me. I want to fill my cup and not pour anything in their cup” Naomi Henderson p101

3. My scores for Creativity, Insight and Precision.

CREATIVITY – How interesting and innovative was it?
Reflecting on the book there were a few stories that I hadn’t heard before including how the importance of listening for the intelligence services achieved results and in gaining knowledge for businesses through focus groups. Were they ground breaking? No. However Murphy’s engaging writing style inspired my curiosity which drew me to see what might be on the next page.


INSIGHT – What will it teach you?
I would like to say there were lots of new lessons but there wasn’t. It did remind me of things that I should tweak along the way. Just like the gift of sleep we have the gift of listening. Its free and we don’t take advantage of it. I did like the value and use of improv to support development in being truly present and the art of listening. The book will support the need to add more silence to your conversations, do less talking and recognise that not knowing what you will say next is good. For coaches  it reinforces the value and importance of listening to our everyday craft. The teaching comes from Murphy’s unique style and the anecdotes from the research and interviews she shares.


PRECISION – How exactly can you apply what it teaches?
In everyday life whether at home, in the community and in your working environment you can apply better listening. A few learning points I collected (and coaches will be familiar with) from the book are: Listening isn’t just with our ears but also in the non verbal communications, we all come from different perspectives and so when you say ‘you understand’ that is only from your own view of the world, being self aware allows you to see how much you are leading rather than listening in the conversation, supporting not shifting the conversation can start with great questions, the power of silence, being a great listener means the other person will be doing more of the talking than you.



QUOTE” Listening is a matter of you deciding you don’t need to worry what to say next”p74 

Should I buy the book?

If you would like a book that gives you a brief background and shows you how:


If you would like a book with stories and long hand examples that you could twist a little to fit your context:


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