Learning to Disagree

Learning to Disagree: The Surprising Path to Navigating Differences with Empathy and Respect

Are you discouraged by our divided, angry culture, where even listening to a different perspective sometimes feels impossible? If so, you’re not alone, and it doesn’t have to be this way. “Learning to Disagree” reveals the surprising path to learning how to disagree in ways that build new bridges with our neighbors, coworkers and loved ones — and help us find better ways to live joyfully in a complex society.

In a tense cultural climate, is it possible to disagree productively and respectfully without compromising our convictions? Spanning a range of challenging issues — including critical race theory, sexual assault, campus protests and clashes over religious freedom — highly regarded thought leader and law professor John Inazu helps us engage honestly and empathetically with people whose viewpoints we find strange, wrong, or even dangerous.

As a constitutional scholar, legal expert, and former litigator, John has spent his career learning how to disagree well with other people. In “Learning to Disagree,” John shares memorable stories and draws on the practices that legal training imparts — seeing the complexity in every issue and inhabiting the mindset of an opposing point of view — to help us handle daily encounters and lifelong relationships with those who see life very differently than we do.

This groundbreaking, poignant, and highly practical book equips us to:

  • Understand what holds us back from healthy disagreement.
  • Learn specific, start-today strategies for dialoguing clearly and authentically.
  • Move from stuck, broken disagreements to mature, healthy disagreements.
  • Cultivate empathy as a core skill for our personal lives and our whole society.

If you are feeling exhausted from the tattered state of dialogue in your social media feed, around the country, and in daily conversations, you’re not alone. Discover a more connected life while still maintaining the strength of your convictions through this unique, often-humorous, thought-provoking, and ultimately life-changing exploration of the best way to disagree.

About the Author

John Inazu is the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion at Washington University in St. Louis. He teaches criminal law, law and religion, and various First Amendment courses. He writes and speaks frequently to general audiences about pluralism, assembly, free speech, religious freedom, and other issues. John has written three books and published opinion pieces in the Washington Post, Atlantic, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, USA Today, Newsweek and CNN. He is also the founder of the Carver Project and the Legal Vocation Fellowship and is a senior fellow with Interfaith America.

John Hendrix is a New York Times best-selling illustrator and author of many children’s books, including “Shooting at the Stars,” “Drawing is Magic,” “John Brown: His Fight for Freedom,” “Miracle Man: The Story of Jesus” and “The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler.” His illustrations have appeared on book jackets, newspapers and magazines all over the country. Hendrix is the Kenneth E. Hudson Professor of Art, teaching illustration at the Sam Fox School, where he is founding chair of the MFA in Illustration & Visual Culture program.

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