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Talking to Strangers
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Talking to Strangers

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

Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, reinvents the audiobook in this immersive production of Talking to Strangers, a powerful examination of our interactions with people we don't know.


Bookseller Recommendation

Talking to Strangers

“Gladwell's synthesis of famous news clips, infamous moments in history, and a collection of behavioral studies is uncannily fascinating. I found myself at turns nodding along with his points and shaking my head incredulously. While I was reading, I would over-analyze conversations and encounters I had with strangers, and then laugh at myself for being so paranoid. I rose to the enraged defense of the victims of violent crimes he recounted in the book and was horrified to find myself possibly trying to understand with some of the behaviors of the perpetrators. In the end, I'm not sure I agree with everything Gladwell discussed. But then again, I don't think he set out to convince anyone of any particular thing. His goal was to answer what could have happened in the case of Sandra Bland and to peel back the layers to expose human behaviors and assumptions that could have possibly played a role in the incident. This was the first book by Gladwell that I've read and I look forward to exploring more of his work. This audiobook was particularly interesting. Gladwell narrated but integrated interview clips, news sound bites, and actor reenactments throughout the audio. At first jarring and a little worrisome, because I thought I wasn't going to understand the clips due to audio quality, it was an addition that I found myself enjoying and really added depth to the book's thematic goals. I definitely recommend this book! Especially the audiobook version.”

Gottwals Books image Rebekah, Gottwals Books

Description

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn't true?

While tackling these questions, Malcolm Gladwell was not solely writing a book for the page. He was also producing for the ear. In the audiobook version of Talking to Strangers, you'll hear the voices of people he interviewed--scientists, criminologists, military psychologists. Court transcripts are brought to life with re-enactments. You actually hear the contentious arrest of Sandra Bland by the side of the road in Texas. As Gladwell revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, and the suicide of Sylvia Plath, you hear directly from many of the players in these real-life tragedies. There's even a theme song - Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmbout."

Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don't know. And because we don't know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.

The audiobook edition of Talking to Strangers was an instant #1 bestseller, and was one of the most pre-ordered audiobooks in history. It seamlessly marries audiobooks and podcasts, creating a completely new and real listening experience.

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Quotes


The right way to talk to strangers is with caution and humility.
The closest we have to Holy Fools in modern life are whistleblowers. They are willing to sacrifice loyalty to their institution—and, in many cases, the support of their peers—in the service of exposing fraud and deceit.
Today we are now thrown into contact all the time with people whose assumptions, perspectives, and backgrounds are different from our own. The modern world is not two brothers feuding for control of the Ottoman Empire. It is Cortés and Montezuma struggling to understand each other through multiple layers of translators. Talking to Strangers is about why we are so bad at that act of translation.

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.


Reviews

Talking to Strangers is a must-read...I love this book... Reading it will actually change not just how you see strangers, but how you look at yourself, the news--the world...Reading this book changed me.”

Oprah Winfrey, O, The Oprah Magazine

“Gladwell has again delivered a compelling, conversation-starting read...At a time when the world feels intractably polarized, a book examining the varying ways we misinterpret or fail to communicate with one another could not feel more necessary...With a mix of reporting, research and a deft narrative hand, Gladwell illuminates these examples with the page-turning urgency of a paperback thriller.”

Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times

“Mr. Gladwell's towering success rests on the moment when the skeptic starts to think that maybe we're wrong about everything and maybe, just maybe, this Gladwell guy is onto something...Talking to Strangers is weightier than his previous titles.”

Amy Chozick, New York Times

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