“To every one of you who want deeper connections with people, to get along better with them, and to do what you can to enrich their lives. To those of you who listened to me with a challenging acceptance. It touched me, grew me, and held me together. To all of you who let me in on your lives- your struggles, your failures, and your successes. . . And for all of you: May you not only listen to those around you, but hear them in a way that encourages creativity, collaboration, and growth. May your footprints always lead others on paths of love and justice” (Petersen, 2007, p. v). In the above author’s dedication, he writes about his desired result for all the readers of his book, “Why don’t we listen better? Communicating and connecting in relationships”. Good communication skills are the key to successful connection and relationships with people. Petersen’s book is more of a manual than a book; “it is designed to be read in short sections . . . you can revisit pieces you want to focus on” (Petersen, 2007, p. 8). It is also an expedition of self-discovery. For instance, after several years of utilizing communication techniques, the author still refers to the piece, as a guideline in his relationship with others.
Petersen has divided his book into five parts, which he has used to illustrate the process of talking and listening, to enable the readers comprehend how to communicate with one another in a better way. In the first part, the author creates Flat-Brain Theory of Emotion, in which he explains how the human mind works, as well as what happens within the human body when they act the way they do, and talk in the way they act. He combines the emotions, feelings, communication, and action in the Flat- Brain Theory. His creativity is evident in the way he uses illustrations to show how the Flat- Brain Theory works. In Part Two, the author uses the Talker Listener Card (TLC), to illustrate a way in which people can communicate better, especially the listening aspect. The card is designed to remind the Talker and the Listener of their roles in the communication process (Petersen, 2007).
In Part Three, Petersen provides the various basic listening techniques that we can use, so that we choose the one that works best for us. In addition, this part also provides a variety of examples of how we can use the techniques in our conversation and listening experiences. According to the author, there are two levels of communication; first level involves the exchange of information, while level two is the level of trust, and expression of one’s true feelings. In Part Four and Five, the author summarizes the process of effective talking and listening. He provides examples of how his theory of “Flat Brained Syndrome”, is used in overcoming various issues, as well as, the people having the syndrome. At the ends of the book, Petersen demonstrates how great communication skills can help a person become better (Petersen, 2007).