Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Talking to Strangers:
What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know
by Malcolm Gladwell

Published: 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Psychology
Hardback: 388
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
In July 2015, a young African American woman named Sandra Bland drove from her hometown of Chicago to a little town an hour west of Houston, Texas.

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.

My two-bits:

Like his other books, I love Malcolm's insight and analysis into the topics he chooses. This book includes hot current topics to illustrate his points which are pretty spot on.


  1. Thanks for reminding me to put this book on my TBR list. I’ve heard good things about it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I can see how this would be very relevant these days. I'm marking it for my list.


Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu