The Key to Survival: Interpersonal Communication by Tracey L. Smith, Mary  Tague-Busler
224 pages, $28.95 list
The Key to Survival
Interpersonal Communication
Fourth Edition
The Key to Survival has established itself as an affordable, straightforward text geared toward students with varying backgrounds. Based on reader feedback, research in communication and other fields, and events in the news, the first ten chapters have been thoroughly revised. An added final chapter addresses the widespread surge in communicating electronically and offers practical guidelines for using this medium.

Smith and Tague-Busler’s conversational writing style and their clear presentation of multifaceted topics defuse the possibility of confusion or intimidation. They define and analyze how specific human mental and physical processes affect interactions with others, stressing that effective communication is essential to meeting basic human needs. Unlocking a more complete understanding of these processes enables readers to implement the authors’ suggested techniques for mastering successful communication.

Engaging chapter-opener narratives link common miscommunication experiences to essential points discussed in the text, spiking readers’ interest in ways to improve their own communication. Discussion questions, activities, boldfaced key terms throughout the text, and a comprehensive glossary are additional features that enhance teaching and learning about interpersonal communication.
“Nice coverage of main ideas. Fantastic price point for students!” — Sandra Bein, South Suburban College
Table of Contents
1. An Introduction to Communication
Why Study Communication? / Why We Communicate / Basic Communication Axioms / Basic Communication Terms / Basic Communication Model / Conclusion

2. Verbal Communication
What Is Verbal Communication? / Uses of Verbal Communication / Characteristics of Verbal Communication / Categories of Verbal Communication / Misuse of Verbal Communication / Language: Influence and Effects / Suggestions for Effective Verbal Communication / Conclusion

3. Nonverbal Communication
What Is Nonverbal Communication? / Uses of Nonverbal Communication / Characteristics of Nonverbal Communication / Categories of Nonverbal Cues / Misuse of Nonverbal Communication / Suggestions for Effective Nonverbal Communication / Conclusion

4. Listening
What Is Listening? / The Listening Process / Not Listening Can Be Troublesome and Costly / Why We Don't Listen / Benefits to Listening / Becoming a Better Listener / Conclusion

5. Self-Concept and Self-Esteem
What Are Self-Concept and Self-Esteem? / How Is Our Self-Concept Formed? / Characteristics of the Self / Communication and the Self / Making Positive Changes / Conclusion

6. Self-Disclosure
Self-Disclosure Defined / Self-Disclosure Involves Choice / Self-Disclosure Involves Risk / Self-Disclosure Can Be Positive / Why Do We Avoid Self-Disclosure? / Self-Disclosure Is Distinct / Self-Disclosure Is Challenging / Guidelines for Self-Disclosure / Self-Disclosure in Five Easy Steps / Conclusion

7. Gender Communication
What Is Gender Communication? / Why Are Men and Women So Different? / Misunderstandings Cause Cross-Communication / Avoid Cross-Communication / Quick Tips / Conclusion

8. Perception
What Is Perception? / Physiological Factors / Psychological Factors / Perception Is a Process / Challenges to the Perception Process / Conclusion

9. Defensiveness
What Is Defensiveness? / Defensiveness Is Natural / Defense-Producing Behaviors / Defense Mechanisms / Defense Eliminating Behaviors / Decreasing Your Own Defensiveness / Conclusion

10. Conflict
What Is Conflict? / What Contributes to Conflict? / Types of Conflict / Conflict Styles / Approaches to Conflict / Conclusion

11. Electronic Communication
What Is Electronic Communication? / Characteristics of Electronic Communication / Misuses of Electronic Communication / Suggestions for Effective Electronic Communication / Communicating Effectively as an Online Student / Conclusion