I was all set to write about climate change and, more particularly, to reflect on some excellent writing on that subject which addresses so-called climate change sceptics or deniers. It seems to me that there is much to be learned about the motivations and psychology which affect such people and which can easily be read across to help us understand the resistance that is still so prevalent to mediation.

However, I can keep that blog for next time as the best thing I can do now is to commend a truly excellent new book entitled How to Master Commercial Mediation, authored by David Richbell, one of the real father figures of mediation in Europe, together with 85 other contributors. I confess that I am one of those contributors and that David is one of my mentors and a close friend. However, I received the book today and opened it for the first time. Put simply, it is a masterpiece.

The title is deceptive. The book covers every topic imaginable, in a lucid and charming way, in three sections: Moulding, Maturing, Mastery. In section 1, you can learn about the core skills and much more; in section 2, psychology, relationships, risk, ethics and much more; in section 3, one chapter is headed: “Trust, Truth, Love and Forgiveness (or rather Greed, Lies, Hatred and Revenge)”. This gives a sense of the book’s scope. That chapter delivers….and there is much more.

Many of us owe David Richbell a lot. With this magnificent legacy (though he is adamant that he is resisting retirement), many more of us will owe him a great deal more.

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One comment

  1. Thanks for this post John.
    I wait in anticipation for my copy of David’s new book.

    I am one of those who owes David a lot, and I was lucky enough to catch up with him over dinner at the CIArb’s latest conference in Birmingham. David trained me as a mediator in 2011 and I always look forward to speaking with him, he always has time for others, one thing I guess which makes him such a natural mediator.

    Now I look to David and other mediators such as yourself and Bill Marsh to learn from, to listen too, to practice and to hopefully evolve into a good mediator in my own right. I’m 38 and have jumped ship (dumper) from managing building sites in mud to commercial mediation. Most say I’m mad, David naturally reframed that to ‘brave’, but it was his teaching and his inspiration that led me do something that I love doing, even when one has one of those mediations where you cannot sleep thinking what I could have done differently, even if it means that I end up back on building sites resolving disputes, it’s truly a fantastic profession.
    It’s a real shame that David stopped training mediators, I understand his reasoning and I respect that he felt that he couldn’t keep training mediators with such little work available. However, it means that new mediators miss out on one of the best (probably best) mediation teachers in the world. Hopefully his new book will inspire the newcomers to this brilliant profession in addition to all of us who’ll benefit from David’s writing.
    I remember what you told me John, after we met briefly at the CIArb DRS Conference in London late last year – you said ‘whatever you do, stay humble’ and as an ex-labourer and ex-hole digger, I totally understand. Thanks John.
    Paul Whittle
    Paul Whittle Mediation

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