Breaking Robert’s Rules The New Way to Run Your Meeting, Build Consensus, and Get Results

Lawrence Susskind & Jeffrey L. Cruikshank

A handbook to change the way you hold meetings, paving the way for efficiency, efficacy, and peaceful decision making

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Every day in communities across America hundreds of committees, boards, church groups, and social clubs hold meetings where they spend their time engaged in shouting matches and acrimonious debate. Whether they are aware of it or not, the procedures that most such groups rely on to reach decisions were first laid out as Robert's Rules more than 150 years ago by an officer in the U.S. Army's Corps of Engineers. Its arcane rituals of parliamentary procedure and majority rule usually produce a victorious majority and a very dissatisfied minority that expects to raise its concerns, again, at the next possible meeting.

Breaking Robert's Rules clearly spells out how any group can work together effectively. After briefly explaining the problems created by Robert's Rules, the guide outlines the five key steps toward consensus building, and addresses the specific problems that often get in the way of a group's progress.

Appendices include a basic one-page "Handy Guide" that can be distributed at meetings and a case study demonstrating how the ideas presented in the book can also be applied in a corporate context. Written in a non-technical and engaging style, and containing clear ideas and instructions that anyone can understand and use, this one-of-a-kind guide will prove an essential tool for any group wishing to make its meetings more effective. In addition, neighborhood associations, ad hoc committees, social clubs, and other informal groups lacking a clear hierarchy will find solid advice on how to move forward without resorting to "majority rules" or bickering over who will take leadership positions.


"Blessedly free of jargon and written in a brisk and positive style…Can potentially make a real contribution to how people engage one another on difficult issues." – Michael Wheeler, Harvard Business School

"This book is revolutionary and hilarious. Revolutionary because the authors provide a new framework that will radically change the way organizations make decisions and resolve conflicts. Hilarious because it will remind the reader of every stupid or senseless meeting they've endured." – Warren Bennis, University of Southern California and author of On Becoming a Leader

Breaking Robert's Rules Attributes

Author: Lawrence E. Susskind and Jeffrey L. Cruikshank
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (2006)