• janellegsheen

Book Review: The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the heart of conflict



Resolving conflict and managing inappropriate behavior is a major area of concern for many people. Whether for professional and or personal life reasons almost everyone wants to improve their ability to ‘manage’ interactions for the better. The Anatomy of Peace provides valuable insights to the core reasons for conflict and how to address those reasons effectively.


The Anatomy of Peace was written by The Arbinger Institute, an organisation that was founded in research into understanding self-deception, specifically related to resistance to implementing helpful solutions to dilemmas. The research revealed how people stop taking responsibility and as a result blame others or circumstances for what is happening. This choice of blame or personal responsibility is a central theme in The Anatomy of Peace.


The Anatomy of Peace uses a story framework to guide the reader through how people tend to develop the practice of blame and often collude with each other to create conflict. Acknowledging how this can be natural response. Most importantly The Anatomy of Peace covers how to develop the skills to take Personal Responsibility in order to reduce conflicts while respecting others.


Unlike many story based non-fiction books I found The Anatomy of Peace readable and useful. By putting the story within the context of a workshop the addition of diagrams and summaries for each chapter allowed clarity of the theory behind the recommended practices to be a natural part of the story. I believe this significantly enhances the effectiveness of the access to the information provided.


What I loved was that conflict resolution was effectively brought back to being about Personal Responsible. In addition by highlighting the importance of allowing others the right of choice respectfulness was clearly a core element. Finally the clear suggestions on how to develop the recommended practice, whilst acknowledging that developing the practices are a process, they emphasised our humanness and the fact it can take time to develop the skills.


What I struggled with Ok I’m human. I struggled with consistently putting the process into practice! Upholding the reality the book mentions. And that is reality, not the book, which I struggle with.


Core Value:

Blaming others is a very common strategy for avoiding taking responsibility for ones life. Unfortunately the strategy leaves one in a space of helplessness. The Anatomy of Peace shows clearly how individuals develop the practice of blame, how people collude to maintain conflict and how we can choose to step out of those practices. The Anatomy of Peace does so in an accessible and practical manner.


Who I recommend this book for:

This text is especially helpful for anyone wants to understand the process of denying personal responsibility and who wish to reduce the level of blaming they utilise in relationships and life. It is also ideal for those wishing to increase their level of authenticity and ability to practice self-care. If you are stuck in blaming and wish to become unstuck and thereby enhance the quality of your life this book is perfect for you.

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