Leadership Nudge® 349 – Book Review: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

May 12, 2021by Sandy Wilmer

Small changes in language can have huge impacts on how people feel and how they act. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is one of the best leadership books for dealing with people (of any age) I’ve ever read.


One of the things that I learned was how small changes in language can have huge impacts on how people feel and how they act.  

Now, when I was a submarine commander, my kids were like, eight to twelve years old. I have three children. And I got this book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber. It’s pure genius.  

It talks about things like letting the kid have their wish and fantasy. We’ve all been at the supermarket where we hear the child saying, “Mommy, I’m thirsty.” The mom says, “No, you can’t be. You just had a drink.” 

Instead, you can acknowledge what they’re saying. You don’t need to give them their wish. But you could do it in fantasy. And so I was trying some of these things and my kids had amazing results.  

So I thought, what about work? 

Now, because I didn’t want my sailors and my officers to think that I thought of them as kids, I had this book available to me but I would put it my top secret safe with my nuclear launch codes. Only I had the combo and I would, like, sneak it out at night and, like, read a few pages and put it back in there. 

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. One of the best leadership books for dealing with people (of any age) I’ve ever read. 

Sandy Wilmer