“Our country’s future depends on our ability to reach beyond our echo chambers. Jay and Grant guide us through starting the conversations so crucial to our democracy.”

Van Jones, CNN Cohost, Author, and Activist

A field manual for change agents on how to build bridges across differences and move from talk to action.

Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS and GIVE AND TAKE

This book is not for the faint-hearted, but if you truly want to change the world, it gives us the tools and the inspiration to do so.

Gwen RutaSenior Vice President, Climate and Energy, Environmental Defense Fund

We need the creativity that can be harnessed from competing perspectives to craft a thriving organization and a thriving society. This book gives people the tools to take that on.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market

Whether you’re hoping to shift your company, your community, or even yourself, Jay and Grant have produced an accessible and practical guide that will make you chuckle with recognition — then motivate you to get to work.

Christine BaderAuthor of The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil

In this savvy and highly practical book, Gabriel Grant and Jason Jay offer a way forward for groups that get stuck in seemingly hopeless, zero-sum conflicts. It should be required reading not only for corporate offices but also for congregations who preach unity and peace, but don’t always know how best to achieve them. And in a period of real polarization and deep division in our national culture, this is a book for our time.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, XXVIIPresiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

Conversations are the most important leverage point for leaders and change makers. Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant offer critical insights and tools that will help you craft better conversations and thus a better world.

Otto ScharmerFounder, Presencing Institute, Author Theory U and Leading from The Emerging Future

IN USE AT…

AS SEEN AT…

ABOUT THE BOOK

Think about the last time you tried to talk with someone about political, social, or environmental issues who didn’t already agree with you. How well did it go?

All too often, well-meaning attempts to effect change get stuck in the noisy traffic jam of competing ideas, priorities, and ideologies. Indeed, gridlock is holding the United States and other countries across the globe hostage, illustrating on a large scale how rare it is for individuals to break through and produce results for oneself, one’s organization, or our society as a whole.

In Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World, authors Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant share clear-cut and actionable pathways for having these hard conversations. The well-tested methods advocated in this book can be applied to any conversation where change is needed. With proven exercises and rich examples, this interactive ‘field guide’ walks readers through a process of transforming paralysis and effecting positive change.

Endorsements

“A field manual for change agents on how to build bridges across differences and move from talk to action.”
—Adam Grant, Professor of Management, The Wharton School, and New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

“This book is not for the fainthearted, but if you truly want to change the world, it gives us the tools and the inspiration to do so.”
—Gwen Ruta, Senior Vice President, Climate and Energy, Environmental Defense Fund

“Our country’s future depends on our ability to reach beyond our echo chambers. Jay and Grant guide us through starting the conversations so crucial to our democracy.”
—Van Jones, cofounder and President, The Dream Corps; CNN contributor; and author

“We need the creativity that can be harnessed from competing perspectives to craft a thriving organization and a thriving society. This book gives people the tools to take that on.”
—John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market

“Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant single out authenticity as the key to breaking through the conversational gridlock that afflicts so many of our public and private interactions. They highlight the traps we fall into, as well as promising pathways for working our way out of them. It won’t be easy, but you can use the exercises they offer to practice sidestepping the polarizing moves we make without even being aware of what we are doing.”
—Lawrence Susskind, founder of the Consensus Building Institute; Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, MIT; and Vice Chair, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School

“Whether you’re hoping to shift your company, your community, or even yourself, Jay and Grant have produced an accessible and practical guide that will make you chuckle with recognition—then motivate you to get to work.”
—Christine Bader, author of The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist

“In this savvy and highly practical book, Gabriel Grant and Jason Jay offer a way forward for groups that get stuck in seemingly hopeless, zero-sum conflicts. It should be required reading not only for corporate offices but also for congregations who preach unity and peace, but don’t always know how best to achieve them. And in a period of real polarization and deep division in our national culture, this is a book for our time.”
— The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, XXVII Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

“Conversations are the most important leverage point for leaders and change makers. Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant offer critical insights and tools that will help you craft better conversations and thus a better world.”
— Otto Scharmer, Founder, Presencing Institute, and author of Theory U and Leading from The Emerging Future

Recent News
& Media

Case Study & Video: Training Leaders to Break Through Gridlock

Poll Everywhere | January 3, 2018

“The conversations that matter are rarely easy. Cesar Chavez said movements happen one conversation at a time. Gabriel Grant and Jason Jay are working to help leaders and students transform their most difficult, polarizing conversations into one-on-one opportunities for change. They’re using this workshop to move the sustainability conversation forward at corporations, universities, and community centers everywhere.”

How One Teacher Prepares Her Students for Difficult Conversations

Poll Everywhere | December 28, 2017 | Maxwell McGee

“Sara Soderstrom, assistant professor at the University of Michigan, took what she learned from Breaking Through Gridlock and brought it back to her classroom. Soderstrom uses this curriculum to help her students better connect with friends, family, and future bosses.”

Holiday Conversations in a Polarized World: How Love Wins

Psychology Today | November 22, 2017 | Jason Jay & Gabriel Grant

“In today’s highly polarized political climate, even time spent with family and friends can quickly turn contentious. There we are, innocently gathering around the holiday dinner table, when — BAM! — an issue comes up that threatens to ruin not just the meal but our closest relationships.”

In Turbulent Times, How To Talk Politics At Work

WBUR Cognoscenti | August 5, 2017 | Jason Jay & Gabriel Grant

“Whatever your political views, it’s likely that a tsunami of tweets, opinion pieces and late night comedy skits have made their way into your news feeds and dinner table conversations. It’s seemingly unavoidable with an administration whose leader makes international news with every early morning tweet. But what happens when that wave of opinions and information makes an unwelcome entrance into your workplace?”

Book Review: Can Authenticity Melt Gridlock? An MIT Scholar and a CEO Say Yes.

Huffington Post | June 26, 2017 | Michael Shammas

“In a world with more ways to communicate than ever, we often seem more close-minded than ever. It doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you’re a corporate manager trying to inspire employees or a professor wading through difficult issues within campus cultures that can feel politically stale and overly judgmental, Breaking Through Gridlock provides a forward-path.”

#BreakingGridlock
on Twitter

Articles, Publications & News

Case Study & Video: Training Leaders to Break Through Gridlock
Poll Everywhere | January 3, 2018

How One Teacher Prepares Her Students for Difficult Conversations
Poll Everywhere | December 28, 2017 | Maxwell McGee

Holiday Conversations in a Polarized World: How Love Wins
Psychology Today | November 22, 2017 | Jason Jay & Gabriel Grant

How to Wield the Power of Vulnerability: Break through gridlock in conversations that have otherwise run afoul
Psychology Today | October 18, 2017 | Jason Jay & Gabriel Grant

What’s the Key to Winning Hearts and Minds? Start with Your Own
Psychology Today | August 26, 2017 | Jason Jay & Gabriel Grant

In Turbulent Times, How To Talk Politics At Work
WBUR Cognoscenti | August 5, 2017 | Jason Jay & Gabriel Grant

Positive Luxury Feature: Breaking Through Gridlock interview with Jason Jay
Positive Luxury | June 23, 2017 | Sophie Corfan

Book Review: Can Authenticity Melt Gridlock? An MIT Scholar and a CEO Say Yes.
Huffington Post | June 26, 2017 | Michael Shammas

SB’17 Detroit Workshop Explores Actionable Strategies for Breaking ‘Gridlock’
Sustainable Brands | June 7, 2017 | Nithin Coca

A Toolset for Getting Stuck Conversations Back On Track
MIT Newsroom | April 10, 2017 | Kara Baskin

The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox (Oxford Handbooks) 1st Edition
Oxford University Press | November 14, 2017 | Smith, Lewis, Jarzabkowski & Langley
Chapter 17: Navigating the Paradoxes of Sustainability – Jason Jay, Gabriel Grant & Sara Soderstrom

The 3 pitfalls that trap sustainability leaders — and how to avoid them
GreenBiz | April 15, 2015 | Ellen Wienreb

THE AUTHORS

Jason Jay

Jason grew up in Boulder, Colorado, where he lived in awe of snowy mountains and watched his parents build a business that improved people’s lives. He moved to Boston and fell in love with his wife, Alaka, and life in a coastal city. Alaka’s family in India made him their own and helped him see the world as fundamentally interconnected. He grew to understand how all these places he loves are fragile and committed himself to seeing them flourish for his children, Vikram and Uma, to enjoy with their children.

Today, Jason is a senior lecturer and the director of the Sustainability Initiative at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He teaches courses on strategy and innovation for sustainable business to hundreds of leaders every year. Through his writing, teaching, and community building, he empowers business leaders to help their organizations thrive while tackling the tough social and environmental challenges of our time. Before he began teaching, he ran an Internet start-up, traveled around the world, taught kindergarten, received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in education from Harvard University, worked as a consultant with Dialogos International, and earned a doctorate in organization studies from MIT.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasonjjay/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonjay/

Gabriel Grant

Gabriel is the founder of Human Partners, where he helps senior level executives craft cultures of purpose, trust, and engagement. He is also a cofounder of Byron Fellowship Educational Foundation. His consulting, research, and coaching focuses on how people and organizations flourish within the pursuit of societal and planetary flourishing. Gabriel holds a PhD in Leadership and Sustainability from Yale University, an MS in Ecological Systems Engineering and a BS in Physics from Purdue University. His professional clients represent a diversity of sectors including: social entrepreneurship, transportation, energy, information and communication technology, healthcare, commercial and residential development, municipalities, and cultural institutions. In his volunteer time, he has mentored over one hundred social entrepreneurs from around the globe. Gabriel’s pedagogy for activating and supporting purpose driven leaders developed at Yale is also used in universities like MIT, Cornell, and Cambridge. His academic, professional and non-profit ventures are all committed to the dream of all life flourishing together through people experiencing their life as a calling. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Sarah, and daughters, Ariana and Madeleine with whom he shares a mission of creating unconditional love and powerfully contributing to others.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gabrielgrant
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gabriel.grant
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gbgrant

SPEAKING & CONSULTING

We run workshops and consult for companies, organizations, communities, and investor groups interested in effecting positive change.

CURRICULUM RESOURCES

Our free curriculum resources support educators in bringing Breaking Through Gridlock to the classroom.

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