Endorsements by Global Practitioners in Relationships and Conversations
Bill presents a compelling case for why we are likely to be better served in seeking to enhance our relationships and build a better world together by focusing on regarding human communication as fundamentally conversations.
— Alan Sieler,
Author of Coaching to the Human Soul: Ontological Coaching and Deep Change, Volumes I - IV
I enthusiastically recommend Redesigning Conversations for anyone who wants to improve their success rate with having productive conversations and to make those difficult ones less so. As a bonus, improving your conversational skills will improve your relationships. We can all use some help in having successful conversations and relationships. So, take advantage of Bill’s wisdom, advice, and practical tips he has learned on his life’s journey to improve your conversation and relationship skills!
— Harlene Anderson, PhD;
Author, Coach, Consultant; Co-founder, The Taos Institute & Houston Galveston Institute
Bill Ash draws from a lifetime of rich relating and reflecting to offer us a treasure trove of insight into the art of meaningful and bounteous conversation. Thank you, Bill, for this lovely gift.
— Ken Gergen, PhD;
US social psychologist and emeritus professor at Swarthmore College;
Co-founder, The Taos Institute;
Author of Relational Being, Beyond the Individual and Community
Redesigning Conversations is a perfect guide for those who are feeling what Bill calls “a background of unsettlement” in their relationships, as he shares a multitude of evocative and provocative questions emanating from his own personal journey of generating new and do-able ways to relate to those most important to him.
— Dr Sally St. George & Dr Dan Wulff,
Co-authors/editors of Family Therapy as Socially Transformative Practice: Practical Strategies and
Patterns in Interpersonal Interactions: Inviting Relational Understandings for Therapeutic Change, Calgary, Canada
Extracts from Foreword by Alan Sieler, Director, Newfield Institute and Ontological Coaching Institute, Author of Coaching to the Human Soul: Ontological Coaching and Deep Change, Volumes I-IV
Bill Ash has written a beautifully thoughtful and practical book about human co-existence and our potential for living better lives in good spirit—individually and collectively.
Our unique human challenge can be framed as a question: ‘How can we engage with language and conversations in a manner that results in the flourishing of humans and other living systems?’ This means engaging in conversations that reverse the destructive tendencies we can all so easily fall into in the ways that we think and converse with one another. I think that Bill Ash’s book is a wonderful contribution towards this challenge.
Conventional wisdom tells us that interpersonal communication is vital in the development of relationships in our homes, workplaces, communities, and international relations. This wisdom informs us that we can learn new communication skills to improve the quality of our relationships. While these skills can be valuable, all too often there is a learning gap between the awareness of new skills and their application that is not bridged. Bill is well aware of this gap and takes up the responsibility engage the reader to engage in a different approach to learning how to bridge this gap. He does this by inviting you to engage in ontological learning.
Bill presents a compelling case for why we are likely to be better served in seeking to enhance our relationships and build a better world together by focusing on regarding human communication as fundamentally conversations. Bill clearly shows, through examples from his own life and providing practical exercises, how we can gradually learn to be different in all existential components of a conversation and bridge the learning gap between awareness and application.
Bill clearly shows, through examples from his own life and providing practical exercises, how we can gradually learn to be different in all existential components of a conversation and bridge the learning gap between awareness and application.
If you are committed to improving the quality of your communication and relationships, I highly recommend you read this book carefully. It is said that if we only get one idea from a book that changes our thinking and behaviour, it has been worthwhile reading. I believe reading Bill’s book contains the distinct possibility of you gaining many more than a single idea that will be continually beneficial for you and those you interact with.
Endorsements by Location
In a world awash with ways and means to communicate, we appear to have lost the art of meaningful conversation. In Redesigning Conversations, Lawyer, counsellor, husband and parent, Bill Ash delivers the ultimate handbook to communicating and connecting on every level.
— Anne-Maree David, GAICD,
Non-Executive Director; Executive Director, The College of Law Queensland
Real; Raw; Refreshing! Bill Ash has opened his world to us in a meaningful way to allow us to redesign our journeys though conversation and communication. Bill’s expertise and life experiences (which he has generously shared) set the foundation for confronting those difficult and vulnerable discussions in a real and easy to understand way and to enable us to challenge our preconceptions (and misconceptions) and open up all possibilities for growth, both person and professional. No matter what stage of your growth journey you are at, Bill’s book is an excellent resource to help you reflect, reset and redesign your communication to take that big next step.
— Dugald Hamilton,
Now more than ever, the ability to connect is under pressure - inside our homes, workplaces and society at large. We face greater complexity and evolving expectations. This book is for those seeking to embrace and navigate the never normal of today’s world, and those who would like to, while valuing relationships and personal growth. This book is a wonderful and insightful exploration, complete with reflective questions, of conversations that matter. No surprise that Bill has focused on the big questions that we face, nor that his response is to guide us to find our own answers. Well worth the read!
— Meredith Wilson,
Cultural Strategist, Executive Mentor and Coach
Bill has synthesised a wide range of knowledge about life to create a new way of thinking and acting through the power of well constructed conversations.
— Ian Sampson,
Co-author of The Etiquette of Leadership: The Art and Science of Leading Well
Conversations are often fraught with missteps and miscommunications. Yet they are powerful in helping us speak with others about what is important or necessary. Bill’s book is a warm, engaging and honest guide as to how to make conversations more relevant, honest and authentic.
— Fiona Hawthorne PhD,
For parents, leaders or anyone who wants to be their 'relationshipping' best, this is the kind of read that, once finished, will leave you saying "...And I almost didn't find it".
— Chris Pye,
Relationship Coach, A Single Step
This is a reading opportunity to enhance your understanding of yourself and your relationships. It has well written reflections on how to manage, add value, reverence and respect others in all your relationships. Something to be read time and again.
— Gary P Campbell,
Lawyer, London and Brisbane
We live in our stories, and our stories live in us. Conversations create new realities. These two statements are brought to life in Bill’s book. His stories and insights are compelling reading – authentic, honest, vulnerable, courageous and educational. They lead you, and teach you as the reader, to see and use language differently. His work will help you have conversations (both with self and others) that could be life changing. ‘#forthesakeofwhat’ should you read this book? That’s why!
— Conor O’Malley,
CEO’s Caddy, Credentialed Ontological and ICF Coach,
Author of Trust – begins and ends with self
This book touched me on a personal level … igniting my desire to explore conversations more in-depth with the aid of the thought provoking exercises peppered through the text. This is no ordinary read, but an essential one.
— Michael Ray,
Author of Who Knew?: from Bouncing and Barbells to Ballet and Braids
Bill Ash is living proof of the value of an 'examined life'. In Redesigning Conversations, he demonstrates that value through the masterful sharing of personal stories and reflections that have enriched his life, his family's life and - thankfully for us - the lives of his readers. His generous self-disclosure, coupled with his careful curation of a range of powerful concepts and frameworks, makes for a thoroughly inspiring and thought-provoking book.
Leadership Development Facilitator & Coach
If our minds are like parachutes and only work when they are opened -Bill Ash’s book Redesigning conversations is an opportunity for all of us to open our minds to observe how important our personal conversations are in creating new possibilities for greater understanding, effective action and caring relationships.
— Mark Molony,
Coaching with you in Mind
Few aspects of the contemporary human condition are not laid bare in a refreshingly clear, vulnerable and highly personalised communication.
— A family friend
An illuminating and refreshing guide to living as an intentional and deeply connected human being. Be it your family, friends, co-workers or significant other, Redesigning Conversations offers pragmatic insights which will take your relationships to another emotional level. In an age where there's much in the window, yet nothing in the room, Bill's book is a welcome change; replete with wisdom to last a lifetime.
— Cullen Haynes, MBA,
Director Legal Home Loans
In Redesigning Conversations, Bill gives us the communication tools to transition seamlessly from work to home and back again, while being kind to ourselves and letting go of the pursuit of perfection. Bill is honest and authentic, opening his life up to us to better illustrate his methodologies. Through his storytelling, he invites us to reflect and expand our own self-awareness, and identify and turn around our own ingrained patterns and habits.
— Darren Peacock,
Redesigning Conversations will help you to “flick the switch” and take your relationships to the next level … Bill generously shares his own personal and career experiences of conversations, and provides a raft of meaningful case studies and exercises.
— Emeritus Professor Gary Martin FAIM FACE,
Workplace expert and chief executive officer at the Australian Institute of Management Western Australia
As a speaker of a second language other than English (Japanese) the thoughts Bill presents also relate to how communication through conversations is basically the same in any language.
— Catherine O’Connell,
Principal, Founder of Catherine O’Connell Law, Lawpreneur, and Host of the Lawyer on Air Podcast
Johannesburg, South Africa
In Redesigning Conversations, Bill talks to us about how connecting and engaging with family, at work and through travel have opened up ways of seeing and being in the world he’d never imagined. It’s practical, clear and wise, calling us to curiosity and urging us to live our best life. Do read it!
— Jenny Button,
Coach for Parents
Auckland, New Zealand
An easy to read guide that is entertaining and spookily relatable. Bill’s book will cause everyone to pause and reflect on how they communicate at home and work.
— Deb Macrae,
Senior Professional Services Consultant
Massachusetts, Unites States of America
I now better appreciate why my desired outcomes may be thwarted by my approach to conversations with clients and their adversaries.
— Susan R. Finneran, Esq,
Founder, Finneran & Nicholson, PC, Attorneys
Reviews by Location
As the great modern systems thinker C.W. Churchman says; “The systems approach begins when first you see the world through the eyes of another.”
First and foremost. This is a book about Bill’s life experience and his way of being.
It provides perspectives from the many roles that he has played throughout it.
I have known Bill in many of these roles; as a friend, a peer leader, a coach to my CEO, a facilitator of my Board and as a workmate.
I have observed his meaningful embrace of human diversity, his infectious enthusiasm (aka mood contagion) for truly knowing others and his earnest commitment to giving everyone the opportunity to clearly represent their intended meaning.
We had a personal connection from the first moment of our meeting at a leadership T-group session.
Bill was always willing to explore our world with others and revel in our multiple interpretations of our shared reality which he holds no one more valid than others.
However, he is never shy to “hold a mirror up” for himself or others to help share “the gift of feedback”.
Bill is intelligent and well trained in his practice.
This work shows that he is widely read and always well referenced.
He is willing to learn from others and share his wisdom with those in need within his community…for me this is a true hallmark of leadership.
This hallmark also demands of Bill and those who he works with to go to places that are sometimes unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable, but Bill will never knowingly hurt you but he will make you aware of your own insecurities. Indeed, it is important to understand that you cannot change what you do not notice…..
Bill would be the first to suggest that his way of being is “perfectly imperfect” accompanied by a cheeky grin to reassure others that he is always willing to accommodate anyone’s vulnerabilities to the best of his considerable “Relationshipping” (Bill’s word) abilities.
— Dr Lewê Atkinson,
Global Partner, Haines Centre, Brisbane
This book invited me back into conversation with myself and my family in a truly profound way. It reminded me of how easily I can fall out of 'conversation' and into patterns or 'scripts' which may not serve the specific needs of my family today.
Bill writes in a way which aligns so authentically with the person he is, in the flesh. He has the ability to deeply engage his reader in a collaborative exploration of what it is to be a parent, a leader and a human being, in today's complex world.
With this book, Bill gently holds up a mirror to the assumptions, prescriptions and orthodoxies of family life and, with the skill of a masterful coach, invites us to take what we need.
Bill has shown me that declaring 'yes' to the mess may be my biggest personal challenge and I am reminded that my own imperfections and insecurities as a parent are part of the mess that I need to make room for.
This book is a rich and provocative offering. For parents, leaders or anyone who wants to be their 'relationshipping' best, this is the kind of read that, once finished, will leave you saying "...And I almost didn't find it".
— Chris Pye,
Relationship Coach, A Single Step, Brisbane
In this short book, Bill Ash invites us to create and actively participate in high quality conversations, much like those he describes occurring around his family’s dinner table.
The process of using language is well known: We think. We speak (out loud or in our heads) or we write our thoughts in language. We hear any response and interpret it. Sometimes a conversation ensues as the process goes through the “rinse and repeat” cycle.
Bill takes this simple process, deepens our understanding of what is going on during it, and lays out how to make it more lively.
He starts by wisely uncovering the various components of our thinking.
He lays these open to examination by generously sharing intimacies and events that have shaped his life.
With careful unpacking of a range of often covered-over constraints and thoughtful questions to consider for ourselves, Bill sets us up to be ready to live life fully in conversation, to Be In Conversation.
Co-author ‘The Etiquette of Leadership: The Art and Science of Leading Well’, Brisbane
An exquisite tapestry of academic knowledge and personal experience, “Redesigning Conversations”, touches on balancing fear with personal values.
A raw and honest account of Bill and Margi’s journey into parenthood and their fear of the unknown, honestly sharing their trials and tribulations raising their children, running their business and embarking on self - study adds an emotional aspect that juxtaposes the academic literature.
Bill shares how he overcome the masculine construct to show his own vulnerability, thus stating early on in the book, “We spend a lot of time toning our physical muscles, but little time toning our conversational muscles.” It drives home how we neglect the power of conversation.
“From your armchair you rule the world” will strike the core of many growing up in the classic heteronormative family and an enlightening way to start the book. There is loads of information supplied that affirms what we know, while challenging why we think like this. Bill touches some nerves and challenges the status quo when discussing respect, in both the family and workplace.
This book touched me on a personal level and reaffirmed so much of my personal beliefs and values while igniting my desire to explore conversations more in-depth with the aid of the thought provoking exercises peppered through the text.
This is no ordinary read, but an essential one.
Author of Who Knew?: from Bouncing and Barbells to Ballet and Braids, Melbourne
The conventional title of this book belies the visceral way in which the author exposes his personal life journey, family and marriage to the reader. Bill Ash challenges us to use language more wisely to create better lives together by reflecting on his own errors of judgement, joys and life changing encounters that taught him to use- and hone- his communication skills very carefully. Bill Ash’s analytical legal training delivers a singular text of lived experience within a comprehensive research context, a scaffold from which to explore and reflect on our own experiences and the “mood of unsettlement” of Australia in 2022. From the exploration of privileged childhood, gender and sexuality to the mental health impacts of climate change and the Covid surge in domestic violence, few aspects of the contemporary human condition are not laid bare in a refreshingly clear, vulnerable and highly personalised communication.
—A Family Friend, Sydney
Redesigning Conversations: A guide to communicating effectively in the family, workplace and society shines a very bright spotlight on how we engage in conversations with everyone from our family members, friends and work colleagues through to casual acquaintances and even complete strangers.
Based on the premise that our conversations affect everything we think, say and do, author Bill Ash urges us to reflect on how we approach those interactions, and to act on those reflections in redesigning our conversations. To support us along the way with the redesign process, he generously shares his own personal and career experiences of conversations, and provides a raft of meaningful case studies and exercises.
Importantly, readers are reminded that those around us soak up our language, moods, emotions and body language. Unfortunately, this fundamental premise of building important relationships is often forgotten, dismissed as unimportant or even ignored by parents, aspiring leaders and those who want to reap the benefits of strong, healthy exchanges.
Readers are also equipped with the necessary tools to enhance their conversational skills, and to enable them to reverse the often destructive nature of some of their exchanges.
This book is all about the foundation of our relationships with others – our conversations. Whether you are new parent or one experiencing challenges with teenage children, a professional wanting to make your mark in a new job or simply interested in becoming a better human being, Redesigning conversations will help you to “flick the switch” and take your relationships to the next level.
—Emeritus Professor Gary Martin FAIM FACE,
Workplace expert and chief executive officer at the Australian Institute of Management Western Australia
This book helps us to understand how our conversations affect everything we think, say, and do, through how we listen and speak and with our moods and physiology.
I found it very insightful to read how about how we can have heighted relationships with all around us if we focus on seeing human communication as essentially a connected thread of conversations. This especially rings true for me as a speaker of a second language other than English (Japanese) because the thoughts Bill presents also relate to how communication through conversations is basically the same in any language. I found this insight a particular “aha moment.”
Though the book is angled from Bill’s perspective primarily as a parent and partner, I took the text to be relevant in providing skills for all aspects of your life, whoever and wherever you are in leadership roles in business and in the community. It is clear from the book that the quality of each conversation we have with anyone really reflects directly on the quality of those relationships - be they deeper relationships with our family, work colleagues, and collaborators, or fleeting relationships with the person in line with you at the bank or at the supermarket counter.
I really recommend not skipping the introduction to the book from Bill as it gives a great overview of his approach to his writing and sets out some key concepts such as the field of study called “Ontology” (the study of being or the nature of human existence) which was new and insightful for me.
Giving us just enough of a sprinkle of theory, this sets you up well to then launch into reading the book. You can feel free take bite -sized reads or to jump to a chapter further on in the book that strikes a chord as you flick through the contents page. Being the person I am, I did the chapters in order. But it is not the kind of book you need to read in order as each chapter really stands alone. Without disclosing confidences, the book is full of real-life examples and experiences providing a lot of flavour to the “theory.” Bill’s style is to be very open and vulnerable and revealing which is how we really learn from other’s life journeys.
Each chapter of the book ends with a short reflection and I recommend taking the time to ponder so you have instant takeaways that can change the effect on your very next conversation. The little drawings dotted throughout the book are a delight and bring a smile.
With a great mix of aha moments and humor and insights tucked in each paragraph and calling upon the wise words of other authors and indeed the experiences of his own family, this book packs a punch of delight and insights. I highly recommend it!
Principal, Founder of Catherine O’Connell Law, Lawpreneur and Host of the Lawyer on Air Podcast, Tokyo, Japan
Massachusetts, United States of America
As a lawyer, most of my life is spent conversing with others, sometimes with acceptable results other times not so acceptable. Reading ‘Redesigning Conversations’ by Bill Ash, I now better appreciate why my desired outcomes may be thwarted by my approach to conversations with clients and their adversaries, potential and actual. Seeking to control rather than understanding the “we”, maybe, the single biggest hinderance in my yielding more consistent and effective results from conversing with others. In his thoughtful clarity ‘Redesigning Conversations’, Bill Ash urges us to forego control and, instead seek the “we”. Any other approaches are likely counter-productive in yielding desirable outcomes. Getting to “we” requires “conversational” skills governed by respect for your co-conversant, instead of seeking and/or exercising, control over that co-conversant. Only according due respect to your co-conversant gets to "we" and is likely to yield desired results. Now on to applying this technique and having it become a skill.
—Susan R. Finneran, Esq,
Founder, Finneran & Nicholson, PC, Attorneys, Massachusetts, USA