Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Brought to you by Penguin.
The highly anticipated new book from Malcom Gladwell, host of the chart-topping podcast Revisionist History.
With original archival interviews and musical scoring, this enhanced audiobook edition of Talking to Strangers brings Gladwell’s renowned storytelling to life in his unparalleled narrating style.
The routine traffic stop that ends in tragedy. The spy who spends years undetected at the highest levels of the Pentagon. The false conviction of Amanda Knox. Why do we so often get other people wrong? Why is it so hard to detect a lie, read a face or judge a stranger's motives?
Through a series of encounters and misunderstandings - from history, psychology and infamous legal cases - Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual adventure into the darker side of human nature, where strangers are never simple and misreading them can have disastrous consequences.
No one challenges our shared assumptions like Malcolm Gladwell. Here he uses stories of deceit and fatal errors to cast doubt on our strategies for dealing with the unknown, inviting us to rethink our thinking in these troubled times.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 42 minutes|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||10 September 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank||
170 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
2 in Popular Applied Psychology
2 in Popular Culture in Social Sciences
4 in Social Sciences (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from Australia
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Talking to Strangers, however, brings a new depth of heft and challenge to the Gladwell canon. I found myself reviewing significant passages to make sure I properly got the message. It was almost like the first stranger I had to learn to talk to was myself. I had to put aside personal biases and allow myself to be challenged to the point of change.
I can’t say I ‘enjoyed’ this book as much as his others and it wasn’t as ‘entertaining’ as others have been. However - and more valuably - I was much more engaged to think my way through it and from that I have been most powerfully rewarded.
Worth every minute of the reading ... and re-reading.
Somehow the substance of this book seems a bit ‘thin’ compared to Blink, the issues MG literally discusses were three (reverting to Truth, transparency and Coupling). They are well discussed and illustrated with current examples and life events, which is in MG DNA of writing. I enjoyed the Coupling phenomenon more than others personally. One point I would like to point that is MG certainly makes great points of view by presenting evidence which suits his own views as an author, it would be very helpful to reach the truth as a reader if the author presented some counter points/ research on the matters he discussed.
I highly recommend this book to those readers who seek to know social trends and the psychology of daily events and affairs.
This book is a masterful journey, written with a destination in mind. That destination is a starting point and not and end. When you finish the book, it feels as though the journey is really just beginning.
The content is impactful but contains some heavy themes that some may find disturbing.
Having said that Gladwell has a gift of making the Obvious interesting and presented in an engaging way. But that obviously means he isn't saying anything new
Seems Malcolm has found a new favourite topic, determining TRUTH from other humans is very interesting, less so the other sections.
Top reviews from other countries
However, I'm afraid this book has nothing to say. It is a compendium of interesting crime cases and celebrated moments from history and popular culture, ranging from Hitler to Friends to 9/11 and a whole load of controversial court cases, with some examination of suicide as a diversion. For the first half of it - and it's a very quick read, so do give it a try if you are inclined to doubt my criticism - I just found myself wondering: “where is he going with this? What is the thesis? What is his point?”
Ostensibly the book is about whether or not we can judge strangers. I think. But many of the examples that he draws on have no apparent lesson. Many of them are nice little vignettes which show how broad-ranging the author's mind is, and would make good “dinner party anecdotes” - but rather in a mansplaining vein, where you tell someone that what they think about Chamberlain and Hitler is so wrong because there's so much more to it... But actually they’re right.
There are digressions via Cuban spies, Bernie Madoff, Jerry Sandusky and Amanda Knox. All nicely told. But what does the book actually tell us? Sorry Mr Gladwell. I got nothing.
This is a thought-provoking book on the premise that the majority of people are unable to tell whether a stranger is trustworthy.
The author starts and ends with the true, tragic case of 28 year-old African American Sandra Bland, who in 2015 was pulled over by a traffic cop in Texas, arrested, and committed suicide in her jail cell three days later.
Chapters detail famous cases of the consequences of trusting – Montezuma and Cortes, Chamberlain and Hitler, spies undetected for years in high places. I couldn’t see the relevance of all the cases, for example the drunken rape case, interrogation methods and the Amanda Knox trials. A better example might have been the Lindy Chamberlain dingo case, to demonstrate how people mistrust innocent people whose body language does not match our expectations.
Gladwell asks “why can’t we tell when the stranger in front of us is lying?” He suggests that those recruiting, or judges setting bail, make better choices based on what they hear or read, rather than on who they are looking at. He also suggests that to keep society harmonious, we default to a position of trust.
We all know that those younger, prettier, taller, better dressed and educated – and in some cases whiter – have an advantage in life. I could add examples to the author’s, our former children’s laureate Malorie Blackman who was singled out in a first class carriage for a ticket check, the way the family of Stephen Lawrence were treated by the police.
I was still struggling to keep up and follow the train of thought at the chapter on coupling, the theory that, for example, if someone wants to commit suicide and at the perfect and ideal time the perfect and ideal method presents itself they will go ahead, otherwise they might not carry out the act.
I have read the transcript of the exchange between the cop and Sandra Bland and also watched a video of the exchange. The cop, who was rightly subsequently sacked, quickly became aggressive. But so did Bland – even the fact she lit a cigarette early in the exchange shocked me. These were two people with supressed anger and aggression, resentment, and preconceived judgements on both sides that escalated into disaster.
It turns out that the tragic Bland, who had a promising life ahead of her, had a troubled past. Certainly she should never have been pulled over, during an aggressive and unnecessary “stop and search” programme.
I also struggle to place the incident in the context of life in America, living as I do in England. It seems a uniquely American encounter to me. I cannot imagine anyone lighting a cigarette when pulled over by the police unless wishing for further antagonism, and British cops do not – yet – carry guns. But we currently have the situation here where anyone criticizing a certain new royal princess for acting like a prima donna film star flashing her cash is called “racist” when please, look at her – olive skin and sleek straight hair. It’s nothing to do with her background – her sister in law got equal flack for her mother’s profession. It’s about behaviours and we need to carefully separate the two, and challenge our own and others preconceptions.
Malorie Blackman politely challenged the ticket inspector: “Aren’t you going to check anyone else’s ticket?”. The family of Stephen Lawrence gained nationwide respect for their quiet dignity in their fight for justice. Sandra Bland was treated appallingly, humiliated and isolated, and she didn’t have the resources internal or external to overcome that treatment, spending her last days sobbing alone in her cell. A dreadful, damning example of policing gone awry. Perhaps she suspected she never would have found redress after release. This book, I hope, will in some way make up for that and I salute the author for it.
But, and it is a big but ...
What is the point of the book? There don't seen to be any startling insights. The vignettes are over-used and repetitive. There's almost nothing on solutions. In conclusion, a shallow second-rate book. Pity ...
1. You will research a lot of unrelated anecdotes and try to piece them together. Even if the association of a particular anecdote, with your book’s central idea, is at best tenuous, still you would try to twist it into the story.
2. You will write it brilliantly. You will give away a sliver of a story here and another after a few pages and return to the story after a few chapters, trying to rise as many imaginary hairs as possible.
3. Try putting the title of the book at weird places. It has to be reminded to the readers once in a while that the title has something to do with the book, and that the interesting unrelated incidents you are narrating are in fact, justifiably included.
4. Of course, cash in your name, if it is popular enough. Spend some of the goodwill you generated previously by writing valuable books.
In summary, you try too hard. Malcolm Gladwell is guilty of the same crime.
If you are new to Gladwell, you will greatly enjoy "Talking to Strangers"... as it is a must read for anybody who needs to make snap judgements about people's character and behavior.
Of course, if you are a fan of Gladwell, you will of course enjoy it, especially if you hear it on Audible. Gladwell produces the Audible version as if it was an extended episode of his "Revisionist History" Podcast. The music and all the extra interviews from actual people, really brings the book to life.
Heck... if you don't like it, return it... though if you start, you will probably keep it.