Authentic Conversations: Moving from Manipulation to Truth and Commitment

ABOUT Maren Showkeir

maren showkeir
Maren Showkeir is a teacher, consultant, author and yogini whose work is dedicated to helping individuals and organizations unleash their full potentials. She is co-author (with her husband, Jamie) of Yoga Wisdom at Work: Finding Sanity Off the Mat and On the Job (Berrett-Koehler 2013) and More...


This groundbreaking book takes something people typically thing of as merely functional — ordinary conversations — and demonstrates the power they have to shape our our relationships, our cultures, and our communities.

 We have all grown up in a culture where conversations are viewed as a tool for getting what we want, for winning. This book advocates conversations that shift from self interest to accountability for the whole as a way to get better business results. These conversations can make visible the daily choices we make about accountability, commitment and passion.

The authors provide practical ways to move to honest, authentic conversations. The book includes a hands-on guide, including sample scripts, for dealing with a host of potentially difficult conversations.

Although this book is written for workplace audience, authentic conversations can create friendships, marriages, and family relationships peoplel can believe in.

In the summer of 2005, I came home from a fellowship in South America homeless, jobless and not quite broke. From that inauspicious starting point, Authentic Conversations proved to be the catalyst for a job, true love, a husband, and the most amazing, magical partnership I have ever experienced. I met my co-author and now husband, Jamie, on August 16, 2005 at a coffee shop in Phoenix, not far from where we live now. After nearly 25 years in newspaper journalism, I was searching for a new career and a job coach had advised me to interview people who were doing work I might be interested in. Through a mutual friend, Jamie had agreed to meet with me so I could pick his brain about his business consulting practice, which he established in 1989. When he walked through the door and said, "Are you Maren?" I was a little taken aback. He bore no resemblance to what I had imagined a business consultant might look like. He was wearing shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops. An earring dangled from his left ear and he had a baseball cap on backward. Definitely not what I expected. My first thought was, "Who hires this guy?" About 30 minutes into our converation, I totally understood why people hired him. This bald guy with the silver goatee soon began to defrost my cynical heart. The two hours we spent together in the coffee shop that day was the beginning of a fascinating, authentic conversation that has yet to conclude. He mentioned he'd been trying to get a book written, and asked if I would be interested in looking at a box of materials he had gathered to see if I thought there was a book there. Those materials articulated ideas I had long believed about the ways people should be viewed and treated at work and in life. There was a book there, and I was interested. Within a few weeks I had joined the business, a decision that expanded my world and lead to love. On a perfect day in April 2006, we vowed to take full accountability for each other's success and for the success of our relationship, both personal and professional. We wrote the book in the spring of 2007 in a collaboration that was remarkable for its lack of conflict or dissonance. It was published in 2008. Our partnership is just another example of the wonderful things that can spring from Authentic Conversations. And by the way, when he cleans up to work with clients, he's everything I had imagined a consultant would look like, and more.

PETER BLOCK, author of Community, Stewardship and Flawless Consulting:  "This is as good as any book I have read about how to change the conversation to change the culture. It frames accountability in a powerful way and moves forward our thinking about how real change occurs.... I highly recommend this book!"