The Art of Thinking Together

Body: 3, Hodnocení: 90 %


Why did I pick this certain book? 

At the beginning of my studies at Team academy I had my doubts about dialogue being the form of our education and especially about reading the book. However, as I got to practice it without fully understanding it, I realized that there is hidden power and potential in connecting dialogue with the energy that circulates within our team. The book itself is long as well as the true meaning of the book. The author lays out his deep thoughts in vast sentences which subconsciously leads us to connect dialogue with extensive explanations. Further this sets the tone for the whole book as the author mentions that to lead an effective dialogue takes time, as well as reading this book and learning about the true art of thinking together. 


In this book the author (William Isaacs, CEO of Dialogos) speaks thoroughly about the hidden potential in practicing the dialogue and truly opening your mind to new ideas and different points of view. He mentions why we should learn about the dialogue and overall guides us on how to practice it within our company or even how to elevate it to higher level. The author also uplifts many important points for example Why should we practice dialogue? What roles should our team have within our dialogue? What are the best techniques? 

The alfa and omega of dialogue is sitting in a circle in a similar way our ancestors sat, all members have an equal voice. Speaking of ancestors, the author states that already the ancient Greeks had these three main values or principles: 

True - the pursuit of objective understanding

– Science 

Beautiful - The subjective experience of beauty

– Art 

Good - The shared activity of coordinated and just action

– Ethics 

That is the main idea of the dialogue overall, to be able to speak freely without instant judgement. But dialogue is not solely about speaking, it is also about listening. Not just listening to the words that come out of another member’s mouth, but to truly understand the meaning of what certain member is saying. 


Mover - Opens up topics, kind of sets the tone of the conversation

Follower - Agrees with what is said, supports the idea and further expands it

Opposer - Disagrees, lifts counterarguments, different point of view

Bystander - Offers an objective opinion based on his findings from certain conversation, brings a completely different approach

The author also mentions the importance of the presence of a Facilitator, this is someone who is like a guide to the community on how to properly practise the dialogue.

The book itself is divided into many chapters and it would be fairly exhausting and even quite difficult to accurately reflect on all these chapters in one essay. Therefore, here are those chapters, that according to the author are the most important topics. 

Chapter 1- What is Dialogue? 

In this chapter you learn about the meaning of the word dialogue and overall, about the basics of how the dialogue works and why it might fail. As stated previously the main areas of discussion in this chapter are speaking and listening, however another important point is to look at one certain problem from many angles. 

Chapter 2 - Building Capacity for New behaviour

This chapter concentrates on revealing some basic behaviors that are crucial to practice dialogue. To be able to comprehend these behaviors you ought to ask yourself certain 

questions or try some of these practices. 

Suspending – See the system, analyze the root of the problem

Respecting – Be kind to those around you and build relationships 

Listening – Listen so that you know what the person is truly trying to say

Voicing – speaking our voice 

(Finding) – In my opinion the author mentioned another principle in between the lines which is that we ought to discover our purpose as a team

Chapter 3 – Predictive Intuition

We are introduced to the idea of change. Not only can we change what we say, we can change us as a person and our point of view. That is the focus of this chapter as it opens up the possibility of change for us. However, it reminds us that all people are different, and everyone has a different point of view, different experience, different approach or they even speak a different language. Therefore, all these factors play a role, and we ought to be careful what we do and say as there are many traps that may lay low in almost any conversation. 

Chapter 4 – Architecture of the Invisible 

Here the main thought which is examined here is the thought that even a simple thing such as a conversation can happen in different levels or fields. This means the settings of which the conversation takes place in, may affect the quality of the conversation. This implies to dialogue even more. The main fields in which the conversation may take part are politeness, breakdown, inquiry, flow. 

Politeness – This means that the conversation is on a casual level where people are polite, and you don’t reveal your true intentions or opinions as there are many social barriers blocking you from doing so. The author describes it as shared monologues. 

Breakdown – This phase is already past the social barriers; therefore, people say what they truly want to say. Nevertheless, people still do compete over whose opinion is better and this leads to un-effectiveness. Overall, it lacks reflection so the borderline between field 1 and 2 is often very blurry. 

Inquiry – Everyone speaks freely for themselves and explains their thoughts thoroughly, reflection is at place and people do not feel the urge to agree with others, respond to other opinions or somehow explain themselves. Members of the team are not afraid to admit they do not know the answer or that they just simply do not agree with what was said. 

Flow – Collective flow is something we achieve as a team by truly thinking together. This is rare and once the team sets the right flow anything is possible. In our team we’ve had a few moments when we’ve entered the collective flow, however as we are still beginners, so we did not have the knowledge how to maintain this flow and it vanished after a few moments. 

Chapter 5 – Widening the circle

The last chapter is more of a practical example rather than theoretical knowledge as it gives us examples of which big and successful companies use dialogue practise dialogue. It not only states which companies it also tells us how they use dialogue as a form of team communication. 


I’ve had many thoughts while reading this book, mainly how many pages are there still left? No but to be honest I thought this book will be much easier to read and understand as I already have kind of an insight on how it works in the real world. However, I was surprised by the difficulty of this book not only because of is content but also because of the way itself the book is written, in long sentences full of professional terms. I believe that this book is crucial to read and understand as it is the core of our education. I might have to read the book again in the future as I’ve been reading it under time pressure with our upcoming exams and I want to be sure I have the knowledge not only to understand it but also to practice it. If I should answer how it links with Team academy, I’d say that it’s something like the bible of TA as it really is the core of everything that wraps around it. At last I want to mention that Ive found it quite hard to read a book as long as this one, online as an e-book. Speaking of the online environment I am really looking forward to a proper face-to-face dialogue with the whole team.

The main thoughts I personally take away from this book are:

Take your time – Meaning that do not rush things and topics just for the sake of closing them, leave them open and come back to them for as long as necessary if all members are not onboard or still have questions. 

Trust the process – I didn’t believe it when that much our coach said this statement at the very beginning of my studies at TA, but as I am once again a step closer to understand dialogue and its meaning, I now see that we are at the very beginning of a very long race. 

Believe and keep working and everything will come. 

Kniha: Dialogue and The Art of Thinking Together , Autor: William Isaacs

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Jana Švecová - 28.02.2021 - 11:06

Wow, the fifth practice you're writing about is amazing! I am also looking forward to our F2F dialogue, the current situation is so challenging...

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