Skip to Main Content

About The Book

Discover how to successfully and efficiently calm an angry person or diffuse a volatile situation in ninety seconds or less with this proven and accessible peacekeeping method by self-described “lawyer turned peacemaker” Douglas E. Noll.

We live in an increasingly divided world and most of us have encountered our fair share of aggressive people and difficult confrontations. Fortunately, we now have the tools to become peacemakers and transform emotionally volatile situations and hurt feelings to calm, non-aggressive ones.

Tested on prison inmates, De-Escalate offers a new set of social listening and communication skills, based on the latest findings in neuroscience and meditation. Along with practical exercises and scenario-based examples, each chapter focuses on specific themes, such as dealing with emotionally charged teenagers and frustrated coworkers. Additionally, Noll shares practical tips on how to be civil in an uncivil society.

With De-Escalate, we can bring peace to all facets of life, cultivate healthier relationships, and participate in creating a more caring and compassionate future for us all.

About The Author

Photograph by Aleya Dao

Douglas E. Noll, JD, MA left a successful career as a lawyer to become a peacemaker. He is an award-winning author, teacher, trainer, highly experienced mediator, and co-founder of the Prison of Peace project. This has been the most profound peace training Douglas has conducted thus far in his career. Inmates who have gone through his program have learned and applied deep, empathic listening skills, leadership skills, and problem-solving skills to reduce violence in their prison communities. To learn more about Douglas visit him at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books/Beyond Words (September 12, 2017)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501176258

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

“When faced with someone’s anger, we’re inclined to react emotionally to the words hurled at us, responding with silence or more words hurled the other way. Neither tactic works to bring understanding or peace. Douglas Noll encourages us to ignore the words and work with the emotion to “de-escalate” the destructive passion in just a few minutes. This book is written so the reader can learn to work with understanding behind the anger by ignoring the words and focusing on the emotions and reflecting them back. I’ll be recommending this book to clients with troublesome teens.”

– Dr. Georgina Cannon, author of The Third Circle Protocol: How to relate to yourself and others in a healthy, vibrant, evolving way, Always and All-ways

“The skills and techniques taught in this book and used by Douglas Noll and his colleague Laurel Kaufer, have been instrumental in transforming the lives of hundreds of female inmates in California prisons. These skills have demonstrated that when utilized as they have been taught, that they will help anyone de-escalate any argument, fight, or disagreement. I have observed the effects and benefit of using these skills within our programs. The end result was the ability to obtain resolution to many issues and bring about peace within the prisons in which they do this powerful work.”

– Velda Dobson-Davis, retired Chief Deputy Warden, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

"De-Escalate: How to Calm an Angry Person in 90 Seconds is based, in part, on the pioneering work in listening skills by Robert Bolton, the recent advances in understanding neuroscience, and the work that Doug Noll and I have been doing in California prisons since 2010. This book explains the skills we teach, why they work, and provides concrete examples for de-escalating highly emotional people. We have seen these skills tested over and over again in many workshops and they work! Whether you are dealing with an upset child or a politically polarized family member, using these skills can keep you centered, in control, and help you move through conflict productively."

– Laurel G. Kaufer, Esq., cofounder of Prison of Peace

"Doug Noll is one of the foremost thinkers, teachers, and practitioners of conflict resolution and mediation. We’ve taught together for more than a decade, and I’m still learning as I watch him transform skeptical mediators, judges, and law students into conflict de-escalators. He quickly trains hard-boiled lawyers to affect label unsuspecting dinner waiters and Starbucks baristas to their amazement. They return the next day full of successful stories of developing deeper, empathic connections in seconds. In De-Escalate, Doug makes that research and practice-driven insight real through hopeful stories from the most hardened criminals. As usual, Doug spells it out so that you can de-escalate parents, supervisors, teachers, and other disputants immediately. Do yourself a favor—read the whole book. It will be another effective tool in resolving conflict."

– Don Philbin, mediator, adjunct professor, creator of Picture It Settled, and curator of

"De-Escalate: How to Calm an Angry Person in 90 Seconds or Less is a ground-breaking new book on truly effective listening. Doug Noll teaches us to ignore the words of an angry person and focus only on the emotions. Using techniques that have been shown by neuroscience to quiet the emotional centers of the brain, he can teach anyone how to manage strong, angry emotions while remaining calm. Anyone can benefit from this book and Noll’s ideas. Strongly recommended."

– Eric Galton, professional mediator, Austin, TX

"Doug Noll’s latest book, De-Escalate: How to Calm an Angry Person in 90 Seconds or Less, is an extremely valuable addition to the conflict resolution and peacemaking literature. Doug builds on the current knowledge and literature in the field and adds to it by revealing skills developed through his years of experience as a mediator and peacemaker. His additions are grounded in neuroscience and refined in the Prison of Peace project. Just as he and his colleague Laurel Kaufer have trained hundreds of inmates in California prisons to be peacemakers and mediators, he now is making these valuable ideas and skills available to you, the reader. You can learn how to respond to any provocation calmly and compassionately. Follow his simple, elegant, counterintuitive steps and you will transform your life and the lives of those around you."

– Ron Claassen, MDiv, DMin, professor emeritus (peacemaking and conflict resolution) and coauthor of Discipline That Restores and Making Things Right

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images