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Talking to Strangers

Talking to Strangers

2019 . Social Science, Sociology, Psychology, Social Psychology, History . Malcolm Gladwell

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127 total


244K total

Talking to Strangers
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About the book


Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers and why they often go wrong—now with a new afterword by the author.  A Best Book of the Year: The Financial Times, Bloomberg, Chicago Tribune, and Detroit Free Press  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 one another that isn’t true?   Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland—throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt.   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. In his first book since his #1 bestseller David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times.






Little, Brown




0316535621 (ISBN13: 9780316535625)

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Publishers Weekly image

11 months ago


In this thoughtful treatise spurred by the 2015 death of Sandra Bland, an African American woman who hanged herself in jail after a traffic stop, New Yorker writer Gladwell (The Tipping Point) aims to figure out the strategies people use to assess strangers—to “analyze [those strategies], 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. He uses a variety of examples from history and recent headlines to illustrate that people size up the motivations, emotions, and trustworthiness of those they don’t know both wrongly and with misplaced confidence. He relates, for example, the story of a whole cadre of American spies in Cuba who were carefully handpicked by American intelligence operatives, all of whom turned out to be pro-Castro double agents. Gladwell writes in his signature colorful, fluid, and accessible prose, though he occasionally fails to make fully clear the connection between a seemingly tangential topic such as suicide risk and the book’s main questions. In addition to providing an analysis of human mental habits and interactions, Gladwell pleas for more thoughtful ways of behaving and advocates for people to embrace trust, rather than defaulting to distrust, and not to “blame the stranger.” Readers will find this both fascinating and topical.


New York Times Best Sellers image

11 months ago


Famous examples of miscommunication serve as the backdrop to explain potential conflicts and misunderstandings.


Beau McGinnis

2 years ago


I always enjoy Gladwell’s books. That being said, I did feel as if there were some leaps taken in assuming how/why humans act the way they do. I will overlook that though because you can’t write the book without a few assumptions here or there.


erica gallagher

1 year ago


Always love Malcolm's insghts!


Christian Alexander

1 year ago


If you like Gladwell you’ll like this


Pippo Puppo

1 year ago




Cameron Strilchuk

1 year ago


Great book

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