An Effort To Understand

Paperback $16.99
250 pages
ISBN: 978-1-63331-048-3
Release date: March 2, 2021

Ebook $14.99
ISBN: 978-1-63331-049-0

Media Inquiries: Allison Shapiro,

Twitter: @TheMurr

An Effort To Understand

Hearing One Another (and Ourselves) in a Nation Cracked in Half

David Murray

What we say,
what we don’t,
and why it matters.

This new collection of essays from rhetoric authority and celebrated writing blogger David Murray applies his signature blend of humor and heart to a free-wheeling conversation about how we communicate in America.

With essays like “We Deserve Leaders Who Act Like They Like Us,” and “Speaking Truth to Power: Talking to Myself,” Murray’s words give readers a window into everyday American discourse—from the backroads of rural Illinois to the carpeted halls of the C-suite.

Guided by an ear for the lessons of history, An Effort to Understand shows that the personal and political gulfs between us are small compared to our common desire to connect.

American discord is nothing new, but we have a chance at trust, peace, and solidarity if we make an effort to speak more honestly and listen to understand.

“A sharp, witty account of American's failure to communicate.”

Kirkus Reviews

“In these hyperpartisan and polarized times, Americans interested in building bridges to each other rather than forever manning the ramparts can find no better instruction than the intelligent, absorbing new book by veteran communications expert David Murray. A smart and persuasive guide for how to communicate effectively to political opposites.”

Mark Salter, author of The Luckiest Man: Life with John McCain

“An insightful book packed with wonderful writing, practical advice, and hope for a better, kinder future.”

Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life

“David Murray is one of my favorite writers, and this book arrives not a moment too soon. Writing simply, directly, and with great kindness, Murray reminds us that the ways in which we communicate show us who we are. A worthy and reparative tool for these times.”

Phoebe Judge, host and co-creator of the podcasts Criminal, and This Is Love

“This is high-level entertainment that will improve your moral character. It is a wonderful defense of truth telling in our sordid post-truth time.”

Tom Geoghegan, labor lawyer and author of Which Side Are You On: Trying to Be for Labor When It’s Flat on Its Back

“The ultimate communicator’s analysis of how to bridge the gaps in our understanding of each other, no matter how great the divide.”

Viv Groskop, author of How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking

“Sharp, witty, and entertaining, Effort to Understand is a fun—but equally instructive—read!”

Mike DeWine, Governor of Ohio

“David Murray says great communication requires great listening. I hope everyone reads David’s compelling book and applies the lessons in real life. We’ll be better off for it.”

Bob Feldman, founder, The Dialogue Project
David Murray

About The Author

David Murray heads the global Professional Speechwriters Association and comments daily on communication issues on his popular blog "Writing Boots." He is an award-winning journalist and is editor and publisher of Vital Speeches of the Day, one of the world’s longest continuously published magazines. He is the author of Raised By Mad Men, a memoir about his advertising parents, and co-author of the New York Times bestseller Tell My Sons: A Father’s Last Letters.

The son of two writers, Murray grew up in Hudson, Ohio, and studied English at Kent State University before moving to Chicago to make his own writing life. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Cristie Bosch, and daughter, Scout Murray.

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