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.
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Malcolm Gladwell has created a thought-provoking exploration of how we respond to unfamiliar people and situations. In his always engaging and accessible way, the New Yorker writer explores how first encounters can have devastating consequences, from the fall of the Aztec empire to Fidel Castro fooling the CIA. This book is a different sort of read than previous Gladwell bestsellers like The Tipping Point and Outliers—he writes more openly about his own thoughts and feelings on the topics he covers, which made us reexamine how we react in unfamiliar circumstances. Talking to Strangers feels like an important reminder to think twice before making snap judgments.
Customer ReviewsSee All
My Third Gladwell Read
Again he has written a book I could not put down! Learned a lot. Things I had not thought about.
MG Jumps Small Rubber Shark Screaming Jaws
A collection of tedious liberal totems re-told unimaginatively.
Just to make a single observation: "M Brown was SUSPECTED of robbing a convenience store"?? No Malcolm, we have a videotape of hi, robbing the store and roughing up the terrified owner. He was a 6' 8", 300# hyper-violent thug who assaulted a police officer in his car and then attacked him again. Even the egregious E Holder's Justice Department could not find anything wrong with the officer's actions.
The rest of the book is packed with shallow bias and nonsense. You have gotten lazy and arrogant. I will never waste another dime on you.
I couldn’t get going with it
I wanted to like this book; I bought it on Gladwell’s reputation (I loved Tipping Point) but found Talking to Strangers lacking any insight or original thought. I also liked (but didn’t love) blink and outliers. He is certainly talented.
I muscled though half of this book before throwing in the towel and writing this review. It felt like a walk back in time through some of history’s darkest interpersonal moments. I found it rather dark and bending a bit to typically new-social norms. Sorry, I recommend passing on this one.