In a time where many of us struggle with ethnic, political and philosophical differences, a book that offers solutions to conflict is not only welcome but necessary. Quiet the Rage: How Learning to Manage Conflict Will Change Your Life (and the World) aims to fill that role. R.W. Burke, a certified professional coach specializing in individual and group conflict, uses his own journey from rage to acceptance as a springboard in this how-to book.
Burke succinctly outlines five steps, comprised of 15 “R” points—from “Reflection” to “Resolve”—to guide readers through the process of managing conflict. He explains how to identify personal values, such as honesty and hard work, and discusses what can happen if others don’t share our values, or try to force their standards on us. Such scenarios can cause us to overreact or feel victimized, exhibiting the very behavior we abhor. Burke teaches readers how to interrupt these emotional reactions and eventually squelch them entirely.
Burke’s simple prose draws in readers as he discusses how he overcame his own counterproductive, explosive behavior. Stories about clients like Joe, the clock-watching employee who refused to work overtime, are enlightening. And the author is clear and disarmingly direct: “[C]hange is a function of increased self-awareness and increased awareness of others,” he writes. “What a shock it was to find out, after forty-six years, I had neither.”
Unfortunately, Burke’s raw vulnerability backfires toward the end, when he erupts in profane venting against his neglectful father, e.g.: “On what planet is it okay to shirk your responsibility, walk the fuck away, and preserve yourself at the expense of your child? What fucking planet is that?” While profanity is sprinkled throughout the book, these passages are especially off-putting, as they appear after he has implored readers to let go of negative emotional attachments.
That said, Burke provides plenty of helpful material here. This book will be useful when navigating personal relationships or in a broader global arena.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.