My New Book Is Out!
To celebrate: a quiz, book-tour invites & a GIVEAWAY!
It’s hard to believe this day has finally come. High Conflict is officially out in the world! (For a sneak peek, check out the CBS Sunday Morning Show segment featuring several people from the book — as well as a short excerpt here!)
This is my third book, but only now am I noticing what they all have in common. In each case, I found myself baffled and demoralized by some quagmire I was covering as a reporter: first disasters, then education, now conflict.
Each time, I went off in search of hope. (I didn’t call it that at the time. I called it “reporting.” But that’s what it was.) In 2017, it seemed like we were stuck in so many miserable conflicts as a country—in politics, on social media, everywhere. I got sick of documenting the problems—or reading studies quantifying exactly how bad they were. I kept thinking, “OK, it’s bad. Very bad. We got it! What now?”
I was impatient to know: does anyone get out of conflict like this? What does that look like?
So off I went, looking for wisdom from regular people who had experienced some kind of transformation in the quagmire. This time, I followed people who were stuck in all kinds of conflicts: a politician in California, a former gang leader in Chicago, an activist in England, frustrated liberals in New York City and frustrated conservatives in rural Michigan.
I learned that conflict is not the problem; conflict is necessary. High conflict is the problem. High conflict silently distorts everything else. It’s like the third person in a marriage—the one you didn’t know was there.
Here’s the thing: everyone I followed has now gotten out of high conflict. And they didn’t give up—or change their minds. They are still fighting for what’s right—but they are much more effective. (And much less miserable.)
Conflict is a deep and mysterious part of the human condition. We can understand it better (and we must) but it’s dazzlingly complex. Maybe for that reason, this was the hardest book to write, by far. (Though for the record, my husband says I say that every time, so I could be imagining this.)
Four years later, I can say I’ve found the hope I was looking for. All the people I had the privilege of following have been lost in really ugly conflicts—and gotten to a better place. It can be done. And the science backs them up: humans are quite capable of good conflict. We are hardwired for it, in fact. It’s time to design our society to make it happen more often.
Here’s to impatience, hope and the wisdom of survivors,
QUIZ: Am I Trapped in High Conflict?
Find out by taking the interactive questionnaire on my Instagram Story, saved here.
To celebrate the book launch, I’m sending special signed High Conflict bookplates to three Unraveled readers.
Follow me on Instagram (@ripleywriter) and comment on a post with the hashtag, #HighConflictGiveaway. Maybe tag a friend who could use a little hope.
Or, purchase a copy of High Conflict for yourself or someone who could use a little help getting unstuck. Drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) with proof of purchase. (And while you’re there, I’d love to hear more about your own adventures in conflict.)
Virtual Book Tour
April 13 at Noon ET
In conversation with Sabrina Tavernise
Hosted by the Solutions Journalism Network
April 14 at Noon ET
In conversation with Garrett Graff
Hosted by the Aspen Institute
April 22 at 9 pm ET
In conversation with Jason Marsh
Hosted by UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center
April 28 at Noon ET
In conversation with David Plotz
Hosted by Future Tense
I write about change and people who have undergone transformations (and the researchers who study them) for The Atlantic, Politico, The Washington Post and other outlets. You can find me on Twitter or email me at email@example.com.
If you’re curious to understand conflict better, personal and political, check out High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out here.
And finally, you can find my latest stories about conflict, Covid and human behavior on my website amandaripley.com.