The most recommended conflict management books

Who picked these books? Meet our 15 experts.

15 authors created a book list connected to conflict management, and here are their favorite conflict management books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of conflict management book?


Lawyers as Peacemakers

By J. Kim Wright,

Book cover of Lawyers as Peacemakers: Practicing Holistic, Problem-Solving Law

Kate Vitasek Author Of Contracting in the New Economy: Using Relational Contracts to Boost Trust and Collaboration in Strategic Business Relationships

From the list on developing strategic business contracts.

Who am I?

I am an international authority for my award-winning research on the Vested® business model for highly collaborative relationships. I began my research in 2003 by studying what makes the difference in successful strategic business deals. My day job is the lead faculty and researcher for the University of Tennessee’s Certified Deal Architect program; my passion is helping organizations and individuals learn the art, science, and practice of crafting highly collaborative win-win strategic business relationships. My work has led to seven books and three Harvard Business Review articles and I’ve shared my advice on CNN International, Bloomberg, NPR, and Fox Business News.

Kate's book list on developing strategic business contracts

Why did Kate love this book?

In contracting, lawyers are often the heavies that swoop in at the end of the negotiation with risk-averse and protective conditions that can delay or derail a strategic business relationship. This book is the top pick on my list because Kim Wright advocates for organizations (and lawyers themselves!) to make the shift to a holistic, problem-solving approach. I am a strong believer in a kinder, gentler legal involvement at the beginning of the negotiation designed to help contracting parties solve problems and issues jointly. Wright eloquently makes her case on why the shift is needed. After you read this book you too will see the need for the shift of focus away from traditional contracting paradigms.

By J. Kim Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lawyers as Peacemakers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Teaches lawyers new ways of finding satisfaction in thier practice and providing comprehensive, solution-focused services to clients; sometimes it's not about winning, it's about finding the best possible answer for everyone involved.

High Conflict

By Amanda Ripley,

Book cover of High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out

Bruce A. Tate Author Of Seven Languages in Seven Weeks

From the list on technology adoption through history.

Who am I?

I’m a serial adventurer and entrepreneur who loves to read, teach, and encounter our world in as many different ways as I can. I am an innately curious programmer and a goal-oriented completionist at heart. I’ve cruised around America’s Great Loop, run a marathon, written more than fifteen books, and been involved with many small businesses. I also love to work with new programming languages. I was around for the early days of the Java, Ruby, and Elixir programming languages. I built teams to build products using each one of them. My passion is to help programmers break through their blockers with fresh insights. 

Bruce's book list on technology adoption through history

Why did Bruce love this book?

Adoption and change often lead to the kind of conflict that regularly breaks people.

I find that creators are often equipped to deal with technical creation, but are rarely equipped to deal with conflict. In this book, Amanda Ripley walks through how several skilled professionals found themselves in conflict.

Then she walks through how those conflicts started, who the players are, how they interact, how to engage in healthy conflict, and eventually how to get back out again.

Many of my peers in open-source technology, especially creators of languages and frameworks, find themselves in conflict and don’t have the tools to deal with it.

This book helped me think of conflict in a systematic way, and how to plot a course back out again. 

By Amanda Ripley,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked High Conflict as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When we are baffled by the insanity of the "other side"-in our politics, at work, or at home-it's because we aren't seeing how the conflict itself has taken over.

That's what "high conflict" does. It's the invisible hand of our time. And it's different from the useful friction of healthy conflict. That's good conflict, and it's a necessary force that pushes us to be better people.

High conflict, by contrast, is what happens when discord distills into a good-versus-evil kind of feud, the kind with an us and a them. In this state, the normal rules of engagement no longer…

Peacemakers in Action

By Joyce S. Dubensky (editor),

Book cover of Peacemakers in Action: Volume 2: Profiles in Religious Peacebuilding

Georgette F. Bennett Ph.D. Author Of Religicide: Confronting the Roots of Anti-Religious Violence

From the list on human rights that focus on religion.

Who am I?

Between us, we’ve been in the interreligious relations business for a combined 50 years. We started working together when Jerry was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. In 2015, we were both invited by Prince Ghazi of Jordan to join other interreligious leaders to advance a UN resolution defining and taking a stand against religicide. That resolution never made it to the Security Council. But we joined forces to sound the alarm about religicide. We wrote our book in the hope of inspiring an international campaign to end this killing in the name of God – or being killed because of your God.   

Georgette's book list on human rights that focus on religion

Why did Georgette love this book?

With all that has been written about religion as a cause of violence, here are two volumes of case studies about how religion is used by individuals on the ground to stop violence. The case studies feature the heroic individuals in the Peacemakers in Action Network of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. They operate in conflict zones around the world and this book reveals the methods and techniques they use to transform conflicts. I founded Tanenbaum in 1992 and this signature program was inspired and guided by the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

By Joyce S. Dubensky (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peacemakers in Action as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Every day, men and women risk their lives to stop violence in religiously charged conflicts around the world. You may not know their names - but you should. Peacemakers in Action, Volume 2 provides a window into the triumphs, risks, failures, and lessons learned of eight remarkable, religiously motivated peacemakers including: * A Methodist bishop in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who confronts armed warlords on his front lawn * A Christian who travels to Syria to coordinate medical aid and rebuild postwar communities * A Muslim woman, not knowing how Kabul's imams will react, arrives to train them…

Developing Your Conflict Competence

By Craig E. Runde, Tim A. Flanagan,

Book cover of Developing Your Conflict Competence: A Hands-On Guide for Leaders, Managers, Facilitators, and Teams

Wanda T. Wallace Author Of You Can't Know It All: Leading in the Age of Deep Expertise

From the list on getting out of your comfort zone.

Who am I?

I am passionate about helping people have the kinds of opportunities they want to have in their careers. I coach, teach, speak and write on how to do exactly that. The secret – it almost always involves getting out of your comfort zone, doing something that is a bit scary to you and that shakes your confidence a bit. However, you never want to be sitting alone trying to achieve something all by yourself. It takes a village to succeed. The art comes in knowing how to ask, getting over your fear of being vulnerable, building trust, knowing how to persuade each person you need, and much more. This is my life’s work. 

Wanda's book list on getting out of your comfort zone

Why did Wanda love this book?

To do more and to lead a team of experts, conflict is necessary to get a great outcome. Some people are comfortable with conflict, some are not. Either way, as a leader, you need a toolkit on what to do and not to do to de-escalate tension and develop healthy debate. This book is the best toolkit I know. 

By Craig E. Runde, Tim A. Flanagan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Developing Your Conflict Competence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A practical resource, this book combines tips, checklists, exercises, and stories to outline concrete processes that improve the way leaders, managers, and anyone within an organization responds to conflict. Beginning with a series of questions and self-diagnostics, the authors show you how to: maintain emotional balance in the face of conflict; implement constructive communications techniques; help others deal with conflicts that are causing organization problems; establish norms for handling conflict; use specific approaches for addressing conflict more effectively. "A must-have guidebook for the new age of global business. This book shows every leader how to turn feelings of fear into…

Beyond War

By Douglas P. Fry,

Book cover of Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace

Michael Ruse Author Of Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

From the list on why such nice people as we are so nasty.

Who am I?

I was raised a Quaker in England in the years after the Second World War. Quakers don’t have creeds, but they have strong beliefs about such things as the immorality of war. In the 1950s there was also huge prejudice, particularly against homosexuality which was then illegal. Issues like these gnawed at me throughout my 55-year career as a philosophy professor. Now 82 and finally retired, I'm turning against the problems of war and prejudice, applying much that I've learnt in my career as a philosopher interested in evolutionary theory, most particularly Charles Darwin. For this reason, intentionally, Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict is aimed at the general reader.  

Michael's book list on why such nice people as we are so nasty

Why did Michael love this book?

Douglas Fry is a paleoanthropologist who shows unambiguously that war is a modern human invention.  Before the advent of agriculture there was no war. There was often violence – bumping off a resource-draining grandmother – but no systematic fighting and killing. With agriculture came an exploding population, nowhere to flee and hide, and fixed assets that you just couldn’t pick up and leave. But as starting war is a function of culture, so ending war is a function of culture. The United Nations is not perfect, but it has been hugely important in reducing conflict.  

By Douglas P. Fry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beyond War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A profoundly heartening view of human nature, Beyond War offers a hopeful prognosis for a future without war. Douglas P. Fry convincingly argues that our ancient ancestors were not innately warlike-and neither are we. He points out that, for perhaps ninety-nine percent of our history, for well over a million years, humans lived in nomadic hunter-and-gatherer groups, egalitarian bands where warfare was a rarity. Drawing on archaeology and fascinating recent
fieldwork on hunter-gatherer bands from around the world, Fry debunks the idea that war is ancient and inevitable. For instance, among Aboriginal Australians, warfare was an extreme anomaly. Fry also…

Book cover of Anger Management Workbook for Kids: 50 Fun Activities to Help Children Stay Calm and Make Better Choices When They Feel Mad

Jessica Sinarski Author Of What's Inside Your Backpack?

From the list on children’s books for mental health.

Who am I?

My super-power is making brain science accessible and entertaining for children and adults alike. I am living this out as an author, mental health counselor, and the founder of BraveBrains. In addition to training parents and professionals, I have the joy of sharing my passion and expertise through podcast appearances, blogs, and articles. The lightbulb moments are my favorite, and I'm committed to helping people bring what they learn home in practical ways. I write picture books because the magic of reading and re-reading stories light up the brain in a powerful way. But don’t worry…I always include some goodies for the adults in the back of the book.

Jessica's book list on children’s books for mental health

Why did Jessica love this book?

Anger is so often protecting something tender underneath. When we teach children to dig deeper, to be curious about their angry feelings, we offer them a path to emotional health and better relationships. While many anger management programs (for kids and adults) neglect the nuances of anger’s protective function, this book delivers insightful lessons and activities to help children dig deep. The colorful layout and bright illustrations capture children’s interest even as they learn about this difficult topic. A great resource for turning on the calm and curious part of the brain that we are all working hard to help children develop.

By Samantha Snowden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anger Management Workbook for Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Show anger who’s boss with this book of 50 fun activities about anger management for kids ages 6 to 11. 

Anger is a normal emotion just like joy, sadness, and fear, but it can be difficult to know how to express those feelings in a good way. The Anger Management Workbook for Kids is filled with 50 playful exercises to help kids handle powerful emotions. Teach kids to stay calm and make better choices when they feel angry. Other workbooks about anger management wish they could be this fun!

This workbook about managing anger for kids includes:


Getting Along

By Amy Gallo,

Book cover of Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People)

Maryanne O'Brien Author Of The Elevated Communicator: How to Master Your Style and Strengthen Well-Being at Work

From the list on communication and building trusted relationships.

Who am I?

I am a work in progress, on my way to becoming a conscious communicator and an even better human being. I believe that intentional communication and (the) quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives, careers, and societies. I’ve spent decades guiding people and cultures to foster open communication, cultivate self-understanding, and deepen trust, from large Fortune 500 to small businesses. Building communication skills is a practice that leads to self-transformation and finding meaning, and happiness. Each of these books will help you to better understand yourself and others, and learn to communicate at the level of trust.

Maryanne's book list on communication and building trusted relationships

Why did Maryanne love this book?

A practical guide to understanding yourself, understanding others, and how to improve workplace relationships through better communication.

If you’ve been in the workplace for any length of time, you know that collaboration is a must for career success and that there’s usually at least one challenging person that can destroy trust and tank your productivity. In this book, you’ll learn strategies for identifying the eight types of difficult co-workers and gain insights into their motivations.

She also provides actionable advice for how to step into these difficult conversations, so you can build better relationships. 

By Amy Gallo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Getting Along as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named one of "22 new books...that you should consider reading before the year is out" by Fortune

"This practical and empathetic guide to taking the high road is worth a look for workers lost in conflict." - Publisher's Weekly

A research-based, practical guide for how to handle difficult people at work.

Work relationships can be hard. The stress of dealing with difficult people dampens our creativity and productivity, degrades our ability to think clearly and make sound decisions, and causes us to disengage. We might lie awake at night worrying, withdraw from work, or react in ways we later regret-rolling…

Book cover of Leading Through Collaboration: Guiding Groups to Productive Solutions

James Tamm and Ronald Luyet Author Of Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

From the list on creating collaborative relationships and organizations.

Who are we?

Jim Tamm was a Senior Administrative Law Judge for the State of California with jurisdiction over workplace disputes. In that role, he mediated more school district labor strikes than any other person in the United States. Ron Luyet is a licensed psychotherapist who has worked with group dynamics pioneers such as Carl Rogers and Will Schutz.  He has advised Fortune 500 companies for over forty years specializing in building high-performance teams. Together they wrote Radical Collaboration and are excited to share this list with you today.

James' book list on creating collaborative relationships and organizations

Why did James love this book?

A very personal look at strategies, mindsets and tools to create collaborative leaders and more collaborative organizations. John Glaser balances both theory and practical advice gained from his extensive experience as both an outside consultant and an internal leader, as school superintendent of one of California’s most prominent and successful school districts, Napa Valley Unified School District. John Glaser knows what he’s writing about.

By John P. Glaser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leading Through Collaboration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

`Written by a very successful leader, problem solver and negotiator, the book combines a strong rationale for its practices, well delineated practical strategies, and vignettes from John Glaser's extensive background that provides the reader with a clear understanding of how to become a truly collaborative leader' - Pat Wolfe, Education Consultant Mind Matters, Inc

'What a marvelous blend of theory and practice! Glaser's writing is so engaging, so personal, and so informative that you will want to read every word. This book should be a requirement for every person who is serious about learning how to lead.' - Leonard O.…

The Art of Peace

By Morihei Ueshiba, John Stevens (translator),

Book cover of The Art of Peace

Christian Grobmeier Author Of The Zen Programmer

From the list on Zen which changed the way I think.

Who am I?

As a software developer who discovered Zen, I am not a master, but rather a humble student. Embracing Zen has transformed my perspective on work and life, providing me with invaluable tools to manage stress and maintain balance. Through this book, I hope to share these insights and empower others to experience the profound benefits of Zen in their own lives.

Christian's book list on Zen which changed the way I think

Why did Christian love this book?

Immerse yourself in the profound teachings of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, with The Art of Peace.

This inspiring collection of aphorisms, poetry, and philosophical musings explores the principles of harmony, non-violence, and the interconnectedness of all beings. Ueshiba's wisdom transcends martial arts, offering valuable guidance for navigating life's challenges with grace, compassion, and inner strength.

Accessible and thought-provoking, The Art of Peace invites readers to embrace a more harmonious way of living. To be honest, I found this book watching the famous The Walking Dead TV-Shows. Like many, I wanted to start with Aikido immediately, but I ended up reading this book and was not disappointed.

As this book is basically a collection of quotes, I found it inspirational to read on a quiet evening. Ueshibas words touched me, although I am not into martial arts, because they are full of compassion and inner strengths.

By Morihei Ueshiba, John Stevens (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller

These inspirational teachings show that the real way of the warrior is based on compassion, wisdom, fearlessness, and love of nature. Drawn from the talks and writings of Morihei Ueshiba, founder of the popular Japanese martial art known as Aikido, The Art of Peace, presented here in a pocket-sized edition, offers a nonviolent way to victory and a convincing counterpoint to such classics as Musashi's Book of Five Rings and Sun Tzu's Art of War.

The Anatomy of Peace

By The Arbinger Institute,

Book cover of The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict

Zachary Elwood Author Of Defusing American Anger: A Guide to Understanding Our Fellow Citizens and Reducing Us-vs-Them Polarization

From the list on healing the political divides in America.

Who am I?

For my psychology podcast, I’ve interviewed many political and psychology experts on the subject of political polarization and conflict resolution. That led to me writing my book Defusing American Anger. I believe extreme us-vs-them polarization is humanity’s biggest problem: I see it as an existential threat not just to specific nations, including America, but to humanity as a whole, especially as our weapons and technologies get more powerful. And I think we need more people working on reducing our seemingly natural tendency to always be fighting with each other. 

Zachary's book list on healing the political divides in America

Why did Zachary love this book?

This book is not about America, and not directly about politics or political polarization. It's a well-known conflict resolution book. I included it because I think it might help some people see our divides through a different and more healthy lens. 

This book uses an engaging fictional premise to walk through some important points about resolving conflict. For example, it talks about how even when we're sure we're right in a conflict (as most people in conflicts tend to be), we may still be wrong in how we treat others. And it talks about how our animosity and contempt towards others can cause them to behave in the very ways that most upset us.

By The Arbinger Institute,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Anatomy of Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the authors of Leadership and Self-Deception (over 2 million copies sold) comes a new edition of this bestseller that has been thoroughly revised to more effectively address the diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges that plague our communities and hinder our organizations.

What if conflicts at home, at work, and in the world stem from the same root cause? What if we systematically misunderstand that cause? And what if, as a result, we unwittingly perpetuate the very problems we think we are trying to solve?

The Anatomy of Peace uses a fictional story of an Arab and a Jew—both of…

Monsters in Love

By Resmaa Menakem,

Book cover of Monsters in Love: Why Your Partner Sometimes Drives You Crazy-and What You Can Do About It

Pavini Moray Author Of How to Hold Power: A Somatic Approach to Becoming a Leader People Love and Respect

From the list on creating business relationships that feel alive.

Who am I?

As a human, I struggle with staying connected during conflict. Because conflict naturally shows up in all relationships, I had to figure out how to do it better, or die alone! My path has woven through studying conflict resolution, becoming a relationship therapist, doing deep learning within my own life partnership, and exploring the realm of somatic psychology in my doctoral work. I long for a world where we have the skills we need to work through conflict without resorting to violence. In my dreams, the world is able to coexist with love and conflict. Our relationships thrive when we speak our full truth, and embody our values in action.

Pavini's book list on creating business relationships that feel alive

Why did Pavini love this book?

The theme of this book is growing up and relating in a way that honors your own integrity.

Menakem is a relationship therapist and a long-time married person who promotes the idea of clean pain vs. dirty pain. Clean pain is doing the hard work of speaking what is true for you in your relationship. Dirty pain is blaming or manipulating your partner.

With a rare and rigorous honesty, I learned from this book that conflict is actually necessary for healthy relationships. 

By Resmaa Menakem,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Monsters in Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Conflict is a natural part of any intimate relationship. Yet most couples either avoid it or try to smooth over their differences. This results in at least one partner compromising their integrity-and stunting their own growth.

Monsters in Love challenges the idea that conflict between partners is unhealthy or something to avoid. Instead, it encourages both people to stand by what they need and who they are-but to do so with compassion rather than competitiveness or vengefulness. This is the purpose of an intimate relationship: to create an atmosphere where both people learn to grow up and mature in their…