Book reading: Sweet Fruit from the Bitter Tree, stories of compassionate communication, July 7

Mark Andreas, son of the eminent Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) innovators Steve and Connirae Andreas, has published a book of stories called Sweet Fruit from the Bitter Tree. He’ll be in Austin on Saturday, July 7, reading from his book. You’re invited to attend. Details are below.

Click the link above to read a couple of stories on

NLP and story-telling go hand in hand. We study two different language models (meta and Milton) in practitioner training, and of course, NLP arose in the mid-1970s from modeling the influential, effective linguistic patterns of Milton Erickson, Fritz Perls, and Virginia Satir (hypnotherapy, gestalt, and family therapy, respectively), none of whom were slouches at using a good story to great effect.

Sweet Fruit includes 61 stories by numerous authors, including Erickson, Steve Andreas, Robert Dilts, Tom Best (my dear late NLP teacher), Marshall Rosenberg (Non-Violent Communication), Muhammed Yunus (banker, Nobel Peace Prize winner), and many more.

These are real-life stories, not fiction. They are stories about people experiencing conflict both with others and within themselves, about how to stay connected through difficulty, about drawing on creative inner resources to resolve conflicts.

The book has received all 5-star reviews on One reviewer says:

This book is a moving page-turner that brought me to laughter and to tears, but the best thing about it is the way the stories settle into your consciousness and keep surfacing over the days and weeks after you’ve read them. I’ve found myself applying principles I read about in the stories to situations in my own life without even noticing until I’m reflecting back later. “Sweet Fruit from the Bitter Tree” isn’t overtly trying to teach anyone how to live peacefully, but it goes ahead and does just that through its artful sharing of such varied human experiences of connection and conciliation.

Another reviewer wrote:

As a bodyworker, a big part of my job involves communication, so I started telling all my fellow bodyworkers about this book. Then one of them mentioned to me that no matter who we are or what we do for a living, our lives depend on compassionate communication. Good point. These inspirational stories help me think of different ways to view potentially harmful situations, and re-define what can lead to peaceful conflict resolution. These stories will make you laugh, make you cry, and above all get you thinking about your fellow human beings in a different way.

A friend of mine who got the book on Kindle says it reminds her of Rachel Naomi Remen’s Kitchen Table Wisdom. Every story expands your capability of being a more resourceful, generative human being.

There’s not much I love as much as listening to someone read a really good story aloud or tell a great story from their own experience. My parents read stories to my siblings and me when I was a child, and I’ve loved it ever since. I’ve been blessed to hear some really great storytellers tell some really great stories.

I’m going to an afternoon of readings from the book on July 7 sponsored by NLP Resources Austin. There will also be some exercises and discussion, followed by a book signing.

If you’re interested in attending, click here for details. You can bring your own book, buy one at the event, or just listen.

Hope to see you there.

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