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About the Book

Conversations are at the heart of everything we do. They are key to effective leadership, high performing teams, and strong relationships. We all know that they influence us, but we rarely stop to think about how much they affect our well-being and our ability to thrive. Our conversations directly influence our present moment and possible futures.

Using real life stories, our book teaches you two simple practices for creating conversations worth having and five principles to support success.

The practices and principles originate from the work of David Cooperrider on Appreciative Inquiry, one of the most widely used approaches for fostering positive change in organizations and communities. The two practices–positive framing and asking generative questions–can to turn any conversation into one worth having. Through real-life stories, you will discover how people are using Appreciative Inquiry and these practices at work, in communities, and in their personal lives. You will learn to use appreciative inquiry-based conversations to help you:

  • Discover the best in people, organizations, and the world
  • Value all voices and inspire generativity, creativity, and possibilities thinking
  • Challenge the status quo and open a world of opportunity
  • Fuel productive and meaningful engagement
  • Inspire new options for better living
  • Help everyone communicate better and flourish in all areas of their lives


Productivity, performance, effective leadership and management, employee engagement, and teamwork

Schools & Universities

Student engagement, academic success, and effective teaching


Citizen engagement, equity and inclusion, innovation, and flourishing


Strong relationships, overall health, and family engagement


Individual capacity for productivity, leadership, teamwork, and wellbeing

#1 New Release in Communication and Social Skills on Amazon and Top 10 Bestseller List for Berrett-Koehler. Order Today!

This is the first book of its kind to take Appreciative Inquiry’s profound promise of positive leadership into legacy-creating conversations. This one book can change lives, relationships, and organizations. In a world where so many conversations are separating us from the vast potentials, may this book change not just our world, but our world of conversations.

David CooperriderDistinguished University Professor, Case Western Reserve University and Honorary Chair, The David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry, Champlain College, Stiller School of Business

Meet the Authors

I’m Jackie and I’m Cheri!

We’ve been friends, colleagues and co-authors since 2004. We were brought together by a passion for the positive affect Appreciative Inquiry was having on our lives and our clients. Our first book was Dynamic Relationships: Unleashing the Power of Appreciative Inquiry in Daily Living. Since its publication we’ve been working with people and organizations to bring AI into daily living. During that time, we realized the essence of Appreciative Inquiry lies in two simple practices and five principles for effective practice.

While we were simplifying Appreciative Inquiry, there was growing research in the areas of positive psychology, positive organizational scholarship, and the neurophysiology of wellbeing. That research compels us to share what we’ve learned with as many people as we can. Why? Because the research shows that appreciative and inquiry-based conversations have the greatest chance of helping us improve overall well-being, build our capacity for collaboration and innovation, and strengthen our relationships. Imagine what’s possible if we are all having such conversations – what we call conversations worth havingListen to the Preface now.

We encourage you to order the book; we believe it will change your life for the better. Read what others are saying. You can also download the Executive Summary, which will help you get started transforming your conversations today!

What People are Saying

“This book is for everyone, from managers striving to lead their teams more effectively, to parents trying to cultivate better conversations with their children. With real-life examples, Stavros and Torres help illustrate the simplicity of how appreciation plus inquiry can change lives!”

Lindsey GodwinDirector of the David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry, Professor, Robert P. Stiller School of Business, Champlain College

“This is my favorite book on Appreciative Inquiry (AI) ever! It captures the core concepts in a tight package, explains everything well, and provides plenty of techniques so you can put it to work immediately! If you want to use AI in your work or at home, pick up this gem. You will enjoy the amazing stories and get a comprehensive education you can put to work immediately. Conversations are the currency of our lives. Their quality determines the depth of our relationships and the possibilities our future holds. This little book packs a powerful and profound punch on all fronts. Pick it up and learn exactly what you can do to immediately improve the quality of your interactions, opening the door to the future you most dearly want. Wonderful! With grace and ease this book provides a massive education. The stories alone are packed with power. The included techniques are easy to understand, comprehensive, and accessible. Conversations Worth Having is a remarkable, one-of-a-kind gift that you deserve. Big things will result from the people who put these tools to work.”

Seth KahanFounder of the Visionary Leadership Academy Author,Getting Change Right and Getting Innovation Right

“Conversations Worth Having has shifted the way I enter, engage, and react in my daily conversations. It has opened my eyes to how easy it is to shift from impulsive, emotional reactivity to productive, mindful conversations. When this book came to me, I was struggling to adjust to the ‘adult’ phase in my life. I had taken on several new roles: becoming a manager, a wife; I felt overwhelmed by the obstacles and responsibilities that had come my way. After learning to practice the AI principles outlined in this book, I have been able to shift my viewpoint to focusing on the solutions that I am capable of pursuing instead of giving all my energy to the problems I face. This book has provided me with tools that have helped me to express myself genuinely, listen to and understand others, rearrange my responsibilities and become a more valuable version of myself- at work and home. It's helped me deal with conflict in a more productive manner. By flipping my attitude and tone of the conversations I engage in, I find myself in a more balanced, peaceful state of mind.”

Jackie and Cheri - thank you so much for sharing this book with me. It came to me just when I needed it.”

Stephanie SchlueterManager, Natural View Market

“Using engaging stories from their years of consulting experience, Jackie and Cheri offer the first real practical guide to fundamentally changing our conversations to bring about the positive change we thirst for in ourselves, our relationships and our organizations. The simplicity with which they present the principles and practices for doing so makes this my go-to resource for working with leaders.”

Neil SamuelsPresident, Profound Conversations, Inc. Author, The Heathside Story—Appreciative Inquiry in Whole School Transformation

“In Conversations Worth Having, Stavros and Torres brilliantly translate the practices and principles of Appreciative Inquiry, a process for large-scale organizational change, into well - defined everyday communication practices for enhancing personal relationships at work and beyond. The wealth of stories about people who have actually applied their ideas makes this book interesting, accessible and highly useful. If you are wondering how to improve relationships at work or at home, this book is for you!”

Diana WhitneyPh.D. Founder, Corporation for Positive Change Co-Founder, The Taos Institute Author, Appreciative Leadership, and The Power of Appreciative Inquiry

“Conversations Worth Having is exceptional! It's easy to read, relatable, and absolutely relevant. Ground breaking! Read this book if you want to be a great leader. Jackie and Cheri provide a comprehensive approach to improving communications in any setting.”

Loyd Beal IIILieutenant Colonel, US Army

“Jackie and Cheri really show how we can truly change the world one conversation at a time. Through their effective use of storytelling, you learn how to apply Appreciative Inquiry to engage in conversations designed to generate new ideas, create energy, and result in positive outcomes!”

Lori Marsee KuehnSenior Manager Global Employee Engagement, Strategy Enablement and Research, General Motors Company

“Conversations Worth Having is a book worth having for all leaders... and a must read book for 2018. Through a combination of real life stories Jackie and Cheri provide practical wisdom and just the right amount of science drawn from the fields of Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Psychology, and strengths-based movement. This book demonstrates how conversations in the workplace determine the well-being of its team members as well as the organization’s capacity to flourish. I will pass it onto my teams, family and friends.”

Robert EastonSenior Managing Director, Accenture

“We create our worlds one conversation at a time. This timely book helps us see more clearly the crucial difference between productive conversations that are generative and life giving and conversations which reduce our capacity for constructive change. It illuminates powerful Appreciative Inquiry practices and principles that can transform a leaders’ personal experience and can offer organizations and communities constructive paths forward in these challenging times. It helps us see the way that conversation can be a powerful co-evolutionary force for the common good at a time when this perspective is sorely needed.”

Juanita BrownCo-founder, World Café Author, The World Café: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations that Matter

“Wow! What a great book! I'm going to use it in my courses and with every client from now on. I find it very rare to read a book like this, one that is so compelling and practical that it not only provides simple guidelines anyone can use, but filled me with the desire to go use them right away in the next conversation I have. Once I started reading it I couldn’t stop, and I immediately thought of a dozen clients and friends I want to give the book to. I believe that if you read and apply just the first two chapters your life, at work and at home, will change for the better!”

Gervase R. BushePh.D. Professor of Leadership and Organization Development, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada Author, Clear Leadership: Sustaining Collaboration and Partnership at Work

“As a college president, one of the most important things I can do is engage members of the college in meaningful conversations, giving voice to all our stakeholders. The Appreciative Inquiry practices in this book have been transformational at our college. They have empowered us to have difficult conversations, strengthen our relationships, and focus on how we can together create even greater possibilities for our students to succeed.”

Annette ParkerPresident South Central College, National Academy of Science, Center for Community College Student Engagement Board, and National Council for Adult and Experiential Learning Board

“I have had hundreds of conversations each day with students, parents, and staff. After reading this book, I have an evidence-based framework to build emotion, trust, ‘meaningful engagement’ and Appreciative Inquiry into my daily conversations! This book re-enforces my belief that every conversation has the true potential to build a connection! The authors remind us to use our head to frame a conversation, and then just as importantly, to back it up with our heart. Each word WILL affect your team. HOW it affects your team is up to you, if you intentionally make it a conversation worth having.”

Gavin JohnsonPrincipal, Brighton High School Father of Ally and Emma

“An entertaining and fascinating read! Cheri and Jackie blend stories about personal and organizational conversations with practical advice about how to frame conversations in ways that make people want to engage and take action. You will never look at yourself, your organization, or your world of conversations quite the same way.”

Irmgard WobeserFamily and Couples Therapist Centro Psicologico de Cancun, Mexico

“We often get stuck in seeing the world through a lens that's distorted. Everything it seems is broken, hopeless, and unchangeable. Through such a lens, doing great work is nearly impossible. That's why -- for leaders and managers in any organization -- reading Cheri and Jackie's book is essential. The simple techniques it teaches will help people shake off the distortions of a problem-heavy worldview, and help them see the world as a place of potential, creativity, and continuous growth. By following the book's edicts, a business culture fueled by top-notch success will be well within your grasp.”

Mark LevyFounder of Levy Innovation LLC Author, Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content

“This short book is a rare gem -- entertaining, relevant, educational, and immensely practical. Jackie and Cheri synthesize vast amounts of research and years of their own practice, into powerful stories on how to use Appreciative Inquiry for effective daily conversation.”

Maureen McKennaFounder, Return on Energy, Canada

“Colin Powell, said 'Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.' Jackie and Cheri’s new book shows how this can be done using Appreciative Inquiry to change the direction of any conversation and result in new connections, knowledge, and innovation. The arrival of this terrific and timely book will be most helpful to many organizations and individuals!"”

Richard E. Marburger, Ph.D.President Emeritus, Lawrence Technological University, President, Board of Education, AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School

“Congratulations!!! I have read cover to cover - fantastic work and wonderful contribution to the community of practice ... and beyond!”

Ron FryProfessor, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University

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