Talking to Strangers

Talking to Strangers

What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know

Book - 2019 | First edition
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In this treatise spurred by the 2015 death of African American academic Sandra Bland in jail after a traffic stop, the author aims to figure out the strategies people use to assess strangers - to "analyze, critique them, figure out where they came from, figure out how to fix them," in other words: to understand how to balance trust and safety. The author uses a variety of examples from history and from headlines to illustrate that people size up the motivations, emotions, and trustworthiness of those they don't know both wrongly and with misplaced confidence
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2019
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780316478526
0316478520
9780316536233
0316536237
9780316536240
0316536245
9780316457453
Call Number: 302 G543t 2019
Characteristics: xii, 386 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm

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j
jackiegladman
Jan 24, 2021

An interesting overview of the way we interact with strangers from various perspectives via interesting relatable narratives. Would not have picked based on the title but it chosen as a read or the Mac alum book club. Glad they did.

b
Bookworm1136
Jan 19, 2021

4 stars. This book was recommended to me highly by family members and is my non-fiction read of January. I found it to be a very interesting read about how we don't read other people well and how it impacts others, using some very famous examples of mis-reading gone wrong. it is a very thought provoking subject and had me pondering the issues raised long after I'd turned the last page.

k
kristenruiz
Dec 27, 2020

For some reason I went into this book thinking it was going to tell me how to be better at "talking to strangers." Instead, the book highlights three societal characteristics that influence WHY we often mess up in our judgments and actions when talking to strangers. Regardless, I still found the book fascinating and fell down some rabbit holes looking into some of the stories he shared. Malcolm Gladwell entertains and educates his readers with ease.

d
dizzycircus
Oct 10, 2020

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Talking to Strangers, he does a brilliant job challenging common thought around some high-profile catastrophes. Through a compelling combination of skillful storytelling and shrewd observation he is able to construct a much deeper understanding around these situations than we might have thought. Where most would be inclined to construct a superficial narrative around these events, Gladwell is able to connect the contextual dots to arrive at a stronger, though less obvious conclusion.

FPL_John Oct 06, 2020

If you enjoy insightful books about human behavior, you'll like this book. Gladwell takes research statistics and merges them with case studies to create a compelling book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

e
EucaryaM
Oct 02, 2020

“To assume the best about another is the trait that has created modern society.”
“Because we do not know how to talk to strangers, what we do when things go awry with strangers? We blame the stranger.”
Interesting stories picked to prove his way of thinking, but as the same shows it’s never strait forward as it seems.

m
Manuel Gonsalves
Aug 28, 2020

This was hand deliver to the library at the same time I picked up The book" What's funny about me".

c
Cidherman
Jul 26, 2020

Fascinating look at human behavior that reads more like individual essays, than one cohesive story.

Reviewed in the United States on July 21, 2020

There is no doubt in my mind that Malcom Gladwell can make usually droll research findings , facts and statistics absolutely fascinating. He has proved it time and time in books like BLINK and THE TIPPING POINT, among others. He has a gift for using .real human interest stories as analogies to explain scientific findings to laymen. This book reminded me how much I want my go back over his body of work, reading anything I have missed.

That said, TALKING TO STRANGERS isn't one of his better books. It was absolutely interesting and timely (more so than he could have forseen. It touches on Black Lives Matter and what's wrong with Policing In America, yet its publication predates the horror of the callous murder of George Floyd, possibly by mere months. The problem, with the book, for me, lies in the attempt to corral the various stories and social research entries under a single broad heading, that is the title of the book. It seemed like a stretch to me without a satisfactory conclusion, or even much insight into how to correct the rampant miscommunication, missed opportunities for understanding, and dead wrong assumptions that happen, when strangers meet face to face, all too often leading to tragic consequences.

The books message is mixed, concluding that giving stranger the benefit of the doubt is better for, and necessary, to have a functioning society. This is almost in direct opposition to the first part of the book which determines that we are terrible at spotting liars, even when the stakes are high and we are given reasons to suspect them. "We default to the truth" and brush away our doubts. This kind of thinking allowed double agents to act against US interests, sometimes for years, costing the lives of many CIA spies.

It is a fascinating book but it reads more like a series of essays on social behavior that are not necessarily related, but still, well worth reading.

m
mitanline
Jul 22, 2020

Malcolm uses many case studies and also cites significant cases such as Brock Turner and Sandra Bland. The book provokes thoughts and asks its readers to think deeper, to try and understand why we think the way we do, and assume things about strangers with one interaction. How do we decide if someone is lying to us? Is the truth subjective or is it perspective? Can we determine if a person is lying by facial expressions or do we need more? While there are no real answers or conclusions stated In the book, it leaves a realm for open-ended interpretations. The readers can come to their own conclusion ironically relating to the fact that we take our stand about strangers with just a conversation. The title correctly justifies the ideas expressed in the story, making it a compelling read!

b
bceccoli
May 12, 2020

In addition to the insightful perceptions of Malcolm Gladwell regarding the tools and strategies we use to evaluate the strangers we meet this book has interesting ties to Kansas City. He reviews multiple case studies about Kansas City’s efforts to reduce crime. Starting in the 1970’s Kansas City tried to improve the way police deployed their forces to reduce crime by employing a criminologist. It was the first of several attempts that ultimately became known as the “Kansas City Model”. Gladwell takes a critical look at how our attempts to learn why people act as they do and why anticipating their behavior is so fraught with problems.

Gladwell’s well researched investigations reviews how Cuba was able to plant spies within our intelligence agencies, why Neville Chamberlain placed his trust in Hitler and how Bernard Madoff was able to fraudulently gain the trust of many seemingly sophisticated investors. Gladwell illustrates why talking with strangers is more complex than we ever knew and our how assumptions can lead us down paths that can have devastating consequences.

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andreareads
Jan 10, 2021

There is no perfect mechanism for the CIA to uncover spies in its midst, or for investors to spot schemers and frauds, or for any of the rest of us to peer, clairvoyantly, inside the minds of those we do not know. What is required of us is restraint and humility. We can put up barriers on bridges to make it more difficult for that momentary impulse to become permanent. We can instruct young people that the kind of reckless drinking that takes place at a fraternity party makes the task or reading others all but impossible. There are clues to making sense of a stranger. But attending to them requires care and attention.

VaughanPLTiziana Feb 24, 2020

"We think we can easily see into the hearts of others based on the flimsiest of clues. We jump at the chance to judge strangers. We would never do that to ourselves, of course. We are nuanced and complex and enigmatic. But the stranger is easy. If I can convince you of one thing in this book, let it be this: Strangers are not easy."

"We have a default to truth: our operating assumption is that the people we are dealing with are honest."

"Default to truth becomes an issue when we are forced to choose between two alternatives, one of which is likely and the other of which is impossible to imagine."

"You believe someone not because you have no doubts about them. Belief is not the absence of doubt. You believe someone because you don’t have enough doubts about them."

"When we confront a stranger, we have to substitute an idea—a stereotype—for direct experience. And that stereotype is wrong all too often."

j
JENNIFERES
Feb 08, 2020

The first set of mistakes we make with strangers - the default to truth and the illusion of transparency - has to do with our inability to make sense of the stranger as an individual. But on top of those errors we add another, which pushes our problem with strangers into crisis. We do not understand the importance of the context in which the stranger is operating.

j
JENNIFERES
Feb 08, 2020

Sometimes the best conversations between strangers allow the stranger to remain a stranger. (p. XII)

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Docenos
Feb 03, 2020

Docenos thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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