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From the author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Barking Up the Wrong Tree comes a cure-all for our increasing emotional distance and loneliness—a smart, surprising, and thoroughly entertaining guide to help build better friendships, reignite love, and get closer to others, whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, socially adept or socially anxious.
Can you judge a book by its cover?
Is a friend in need truly a friend indeed?
Does love conquer all?
Is no man an island?
In Plays Well with Others, Eric Barker dives into these age-old maxims drawing on science to reveal the truth beyond the conventional wisdom about human relationships. Combining his compelling storytelling and humor, Barker explains what hostage negotiation techniques and marital arguments have in common, how an expert con-man lied his way into a twenty-year professional soccer career, and why those holding views diametrically opposed to our own actually have the potential to become our closest, most trusted friends.
Inside you will learn:
The two things essential to making friends – and what Dale Carnegie got wrong.What creates love, reignites love, and sustains love. (There’s no Build-A-Bear store for a happy marriage but this is close.)The ethical and effective way to get your partner to change.How social media can actually improve relationships.The antidote to loneliness and why what we usually hear doesn’t work.
And so much more. The book is packed with high-five-worthy stories about the greatest female detective to ever live, the most successful liar to ever open his mouth, genius horses, thieving hermits, the perils of perfect memories, and placebos. Leveraging the best evidence available—free of platitudes or magical thinking—Barker analyzes multiple sides of an issue before rendering his verdict. What he’s uncovered is surprising, counterintuitive, and timely—and will change the way you interact in the world and with those around you just when you need it most.
Barker, whose blog and first book are both titled Barking Up the Wrong Tree, tests truisms about relationships, romantic and otherwise, in this well-researched investigation. The author subjects to scientific scrutiny four common maxims on relationships: "don't judge a book by its cover," "love conquers all," "a friend in need is a friend indeed," and "no man is an island." Exploring case studies that include a horse who could answer simple math questions using people reading skills, and a woman with near-perfect memory, Barker unravels how perceptions affect human judgment and concludes that people are "bad at reading others." On love, the author finds that it may not conquer all, but some strategies can make overcoming more likely, such as trying new things as a couple and encouraging "positive growth and improvement." Barker's wide-eyed curiosity and intellectual openness ("This is a I had no idea what I was doing so I talked to a lot of people... to get some solid information book") make him an ideal tour guide. The result is a fascinating, myth-busting look at relationships.