An international consultant, instructor, author and speaker, Dr. Deidre Combs has studied and taught cross-cultural strategies for resolving conflict and overcoming challenges for the past 18 years. 

Deidre Combs is the author of three books on cross-cultural approaches to resolving conflict and overcoming challenges: The Way of Conflict, Worst Enemy, Best Teacher and Thriving Through Tough Times. The books integrate common wisdom from the world's lasting cultural traditions with systems theory and brain research. She provides leadership and conflict strategies as a management consultant, coach, mediator and professor.

the way of conflict

The Way of Conflict teaches how to use ancient wisdom passed down through symbol, folk tale, and ancient classics such as The Art of War and the Bhagavad-Gita to confidently engage in any dispute and reach a balanced resolution. It is the first book to integrate the wealth of conflict skills found throughout the world’s major religious and indigenous traditions with the latest scientific systems and conflict resolution theory. The Way of Conflict employs the cross-cultural metaphor of the four natural elements — earth, water, fire, and air — to identify our innate conflict personalities and forge an understandable path through the chaos of conflict. Using assessment tests, anecdotes from indigenous and religious traditions, and illustrative folk tales, Dr. Combs describes how to quickly assess a conflict and its participants and implement an appropriate resolution strategy.

worst enemy, best teacher

Both science and spirituality see the enemy as a teacher — one who holds information critical to resolving common struggles. But learning from one’s enemies, especially in these polarized times, can be a profoundly difficult task. Worst Enemy, Best Teacher integrates spiritual, cultural, and scientific methods to transform adversarial relationships into powerful learning experiences. Here mediator and corporate trainer Deidre Combs expands on the revolutionary philosophy introduced in her first bookThe Way of Conflict. She suggests a cross-cultural elemental typing system — earth, air, fire, water — to identify and learn how best to approach the person or problem that plagues us most — whether it’s a neighbor, a brother-in-law, a new boss, or the factory’s fiercest competitor. The book shows how to apply the wisdom gained from studying the opponent to any challenge, whether within one’s self, with friends or family, or between companies or nations, and offers ingenious tips and techniques for learning from the enemy and converting conflict into resolution.


Life can dish out some nasty circumstances: we get fired, suddenly lose someone we love or get really ill. Deidre Combs provides eight practical techniques to overcome difficult times by drawing from twenty years of cross-cultural research and consulting. Recognizing that tough times are universally referred to as battles or death and rebirth experiences, she integrates perennial conflict resolution and death/mourning cultural practices into simple approaches to help us reach stability once more. Combs introduces the four key phases of tough times and how to move through each with greater ease and support.

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
- Nelson Mandela, A Long Walk to Freedom