Ripley tells the harrowing tales of people who got drawn into fights that consume their lives and make them capable of committing terrible injustices, from a gang leader on the South Side of Chicago to a guerrilla fighter in the Colombian jungle ... Ripley also explains how it is possible for hardened combatants to leave behind the conflicts that once defined the core of their identity. But even conflicts that appear intractable, Ripley points out, often attenuate over time.Conflict, Ripley argues, can be productive ... Ripley’s book is not overtly political. Though she discusses the deep divisions now tearing apart the United States, her main motivation is to show that the dynamics pushing us into high conflict — as well as the techniques that can help to pull us out again — are universal. Whether she describes private clashes or political battles, the same themes emerge ... And if Ripley’s book is to be believed, other towns and families and countries can, too.
Ms. Ripley pleads less for kindness than for intelligence. It’s one thing to have reasons for resenting one’s spouse, another to utter the words one knows will make everything worse ... In high conflict, Ms. Ripley argues, we often think that we’re being smart and furthering our ambitions. But we sometimes feel high conflict seize us, as if from the outside, and make us stupid and self-destructive ... Our culture and values, Ms. Ripley argues, can also draw us into high conflict ... She considers our adversarial legal system and our two-party political system so obviously wrongheaded that there must be a 'conflict-industrial complex' that explains their persistence ... The most important insight of this part of the book is that you can’t beat high conflict with scolding it, however high-mindedly.
A deep dive into the concept of high conflict and its emergence in global and personal examples ... Drawing on numerous research findings and real-life stories of individuals and communities interacting in high conflict, Ripley examines these polarizing situations, and identifies stakeholders and strategies for de-escalation ... Readers interested in conflict management and negotiation and the decision-making process will be intrigued as Ripley thoughtfully explains the intensities and nuances of conflict, and the crux of high conflict in any setting.