Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know

by Malcolm Gladwell

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In the B&N Podcast: Malcolm Gladwell on Why We Get Each Other Wrong. Listen Now

Overview

Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and #1 bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, David and Goliath, and What the Dog Saw, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers—and why they often go wrong.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316478526
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/10/2019
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 7
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers— The Tipping Point, Blink,Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath. He is also the co-founder of Pushkin Industries, an audio content company that produces the podcasts Revisionist History, which reconsiders things both overlooked and misunderstood, and Broken Record, where he, Rick Rubin, and Bruce Headlam interview musicians across a wide range of genres. Gladwell has been included in the TIME 100 Most Influential People list and touted as one of Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers.

Hometown:

New York, NY

Date of Birth:

September 3, 1963

Place of Birth:

England, U.K.

Education:

University of Toronto, History degree, 1984

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Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Neil Best 4 days ago
In a falsely dichotomous world where someone is either right or wrong, republican or democrat, good or bad, this or that, 0 or 1, Gladwell has undertaken the Herculean task of understanding why we are so disposed to opposing viewpoints. In typical Gladwell fashion, he seamlessly weaves together a series of historical anecdotes and challenges our assumptions about what we think to be true. He jumps from 1500’s Aztecs to the #metoo movement and sexual violence, to the 1940’s and Nazi’s, all along the way pulling together a single narrative about what it means to interact with the “other.” He challenges us not be meet strangers with assumption or suspicion, but to turn that suspicion to our own beliefs and convictions. Talking to Strangers has the hallmarks of Gladwell’s style with intimate descriptions of people, social science research, and unique stories that we never took the time to research ourselves. The book is divides 12 chapters into 5 different sections which are meant to help organize the main theme of talking to strangers. Early on, in the first section, Gladwell presents two puzzles of why these interactions are so complicated and challenging. • Puzzle Number One = “Why can’t we tell when the stranger in front of us is lying to our face?” • Puzzle Number Two = “How is it that meeting a stranger can sometimes make us worse at making sense of that person than not meeting them?” His strikingly simple answer is that we are human and are overwhelmingly predisposed to default to truth, which is a concept he borrows from Tim Levine. Gladwell’s historical anecdotes and research summaries methodically reinforce the truth that, like objects in motion, we default to our current beliefs until there is enough evidence to the contrary. In the end, Talking to Strangers is a masterful gut punch that catalogs the dangers, not of interacting with strangers, but of being too committed to our existing beliefs. Gladwell’s argument is far more nuanced than strangers are dangerous. Instead, he argues that the true danger comes from not critically evaluating our own beliefs and assumptions and the trust that we put into people in positions of authority. For those of you familiar with Gladwell’s books or new to his craft, this is Gladwell at his best. It’s easy to read, challenging to digest, and hauntingly truthful in its analysis. With our country at a crossroads and seemingly so eager to divide into opposed viewpoints, this books challenges us to melt into the uncertainty of a third alternative that recognizes the truth that exists on both sides. For those that have ears to hear or a desire to move beyond the hopeless gridlock of society, this book demands your fullest attention and consideration.
Anonymous 2 days ago
I have read and loved every book by this author. I was eagerly awaiting this book but frankly, not his best. it felt a bit disjointed and lacked the depth of his other books,
JAMuckley 3 days ago
Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, "Talking to Strangers" is a book about reading people and trust. It is a book about gauging someone you don't know and how to discern if they are telling the truth. Gladwell weaves the stories of some of the top new stories of the past decade and before to explain his concepts. He starts with Sarah Bland, an African-American who was pulled over by a police officer for not signaling when changing lanes. She then resisted the officer, reacting with indignation for getting pulled over, who then forcibly arrests her. Three days later she is found dead as she hung herself in jail. Other new stories include: the case of Amanda Knox, Jerry Sandusky, Bernie Madoff, even Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler. These stories are about reading people and the human brain's "default to truth" mode that we assume everyone is telling us the truth until the evidence otherwise turns the tide to mistrust. Another concept covered is when someone's behavior is "mismatched" to the circumstance. These incongruent personality anomalies make our brain doubt what we hear people our eyes don't "see" it. These actually lead to us placing blame on innocent people. The final concept discussed in his book was "coupling." That certain activities are tied inherently to locations, methods, etc. that would be avoided if the thing it is tied to is curtailed. This book was a very fascinating read on how we see and perceive the world around us. It gives new insights about what we may or may not be perceiving in others and that we need to look more closely in some cases before declaring judgment on someone without all of the information, especially a complete stranger. I received this as an eBook from Little, Brown and Company via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of the title. I did not receive any compensation from either company. The opinions expressed herein are completely my own.
Anonymous 4 days ago
This is the first book that I have come across that I read every page of it.
mytwocents 5 days ago
Wow, does this book ever suffer from a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease! I almost didn’t make it past the introduction. In my pre-publication copy, Gladwell writes, “The Sandra Bland case came in the middle of a strange interlude in American public life” and then goes on to discuss a series of cases of police violence against black people that happened around 2014. “Strange interlude.” Really? That phrasing suggests that this treatment was some sort of aberration in American history and that the violence only happened during the few years he references. Did Gladwell really mean to ignore America’s long history of this problem? I don’t think so? I think he may have meant that the attention paid to police violence was unusual, but dude, choose your words much more carefully. Later on, there are some good points made about how and why we tend to misunderstand each other. But, again, I almost put the book down, this time while reading the chapter on the Brock Turner sexual assault case. Without going into detail, that chapter could only have been written by someone who's buried his head in the sand over the past five years or so. It’s tough to ignore the problematic elements of Talking to Strangers. I could definitely see the discussion of the causes of sexual assault offending some readers to the point that they abandon the book altogether. I’ve definitely enjoyed other books by the author a lot more than this one. Two stars. Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for giving me a DRC of this book.