Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg

Book Summary: Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg - Ryan Delaney

The Book in a Few Sentences

I believe this is one of the most important books ever written. Fundamentally it is about getting our needs met. More profoundly, it is a way of connecting from the heart.

Nonviolent Communication summary

This is my book summary of Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. My summary and notes include the key lessons and most important insights from the book.


Arun Gandhi

Nonviolence is not a strategy that can be used today and discarded tomorrow; nonviolence is not something that makes you meek or a pushover.

Everything that we do is conditioned by selfish motives—what’s in it for me. More so in an overwhelmingly materialistic society that thrives on rugged individualism.

Nonviolence means allowing the positive within you to emerge.

Be dominated by love, respect, understanding, appreciation, compassion, and concern for others rather than the self-centered and selfish, greedy, hateful, prejudiced, suspicious, and aggressive attitudes that dominate our thinking.

If we change ourselves we can change the world, and changing ourselves begins with changing our language and methods of communication.

1: Giving From the Heart

The Heart of Nonviolent Communication


A Way to Focus Attention

The NVC Process

2: Communication That Blocks Compassion

Moralistic Judgments

Making Comparisons

Denial of Responsibility

Other Forms of Life-Alienating Communication

3: Observing Without Evaluating

The Highest Form of Human Intelligence


4: Identifying and Expressing Feelings

Feelings versus Non-Feelings

Building a Vocabulary for Feelings

Taking Responsibility for our Feelings

The Needs at the Roots of Feelings

The Pain of Expressing Our Needs versus the Pain of Not Expressing Our needs

From Emotional Slavery to Emotional Liberation


Exercise 3: Acknowledging Needs

Chapter 6: Requesting That Which Would Enrich Life

Using Positive Action Language

Making Requests Consciously

Asking for a Reflection

Requesting Honesty

Making Requests of a Group

Requests versus Demands

Defining Our Objective When Making Requests


Chapter 7: Receiving Empathically

Listening for Feelings and Needs

Sustaining Empathy

When Pain Blocks Our Ability to Empathize

Chapter 8: The Power of Empathy

Empathy and the Ability to Be Vulnerable

Using Empathy to Defuse Danger

Empathy in Hearing Someone’s “No!”

Empathy for Silence

Chapter 9: Connecting Compassionately with Ourselves

Remembering the Specialness of What We Are

Evaluating Ourselves When We’ve Been Less Than Perfect

Translating Self-Judgments and inner Demands

NVC Mourning


Don’t Do Anything That Isn’t Play!

Cultivating Awareness of the Energy Behind Our Actions

Chapter 10: Expressing Anger Fully

Distinguishing Stimulus from Cause

All Anger Has a Life-Serving Core

Stimulus versus Cause: Practical Implications

Four Steps to Expressing Anger

Offering Empathy First

Taking Our Time


Chapter 11: The Protective use of Force

The Thinking Behind the Use of Force

Types of Punitive Force

The Costs of Punishment


Chapter 12: liberating Ourselves and Counseling Others

Resolving Internal Conflicts

Caring for Our Inner Environment

Chapter 13: Expressing Appreciation in Nonviolent Communication

The Three Components of Appreciation

Receiving Appreciation

The Hunger for Appreciation

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