Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age” as Want to Read:
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,386 ratings  ·  610 reviews
Renowned media scholar Sherry Turkle investigates how a flight from conversation undermines our relationships, creativity, and productivity—and why reclaiming face-to-face conversation can help us regain lost ground.

We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.

Preeminent author and re
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Penguin Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Reclaiming Conversation, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Gary I don't think making it required reading in high schools would be helpful. I think recommending it to teachers and students is a good idea.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,386 ratings  ·  610 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
Lance Eaton
I'm not a fan of Turkle. I've read her previous book and seen her TED Talks. I find she comes to egregious conclusions about how people interact with scant evidence. In this book, she argues that people are growing incapable of talking or having sophisticated conversations and that it's largely our digital technology that is creating this rift. There are several issues that I have with this book. The first is that it is clearly focused on upper-middle and upper-class people--the schools and coll ...more
Oct 28, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm always conflicted about Sherry's books. She admits that she only studies a particular behavior, leaving out all of the other things that people do. So for this book, it was studying the ways that people use their phones to avoid conversations with others in person. Which is interesting, and she definitely made me think more about this topic.

But as is typical, she fails to write about the other side, or recognize what happened in the past without phones. I've seen some surveys lately that sho
Rebecca McNutt
People of the 21st century have been conditioned into thinking that their digital devices are necessary. These days nobody notices anymore that "funeral selfies" or "fail videos" are in extremely bad taste, and digital tech is spilling way too far into the world. People nowadays expect the instant gratification of a friendship but refuse to speak face-to-face or give up their phones AND sacrifice their digital crutches to meet a friend.

Reclaiming Conversation is spot-on in explaining that w
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings on this book. I definitely see the author's point and understand her perspective but I felt it had too much fear-mongering and digital paranoia and not enough balance with the benefits of technology. I read the first quarter of it carefully and then skimmed the remainder. I felt it was way too long to make rather simple points.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
I desperately wanted to like this book but the author goes around in circles. Every chapter is the same: people bring their phone to the dinner table and it kills conversation; people argue through text and it kills empathy; people can't live without their phones and don't know what to do in moments of quiet without them. You'd get all of that if you read the first chapter. I ended up abandoning it halfway through.

That said, I think the author's central thesis is quite a wise one: that mobile p
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
"From the early days I saw that computers offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship and then, as the programs got really good, the illusion of friendship without the demands of intimacy."
Becky Pliego
This is a must read for those who own a device with a screen, a life with stories behind a screen- with a window into it through social media- and who have people in their life (in the same room!) with stories of their own to share.

Some good quotes:

"Technology enchants; it makes us forget what we know about life... But in our eagerness, we forget our responsibility to the new, to the generation that follows us. It is for us to pass on the most precious thing we know how to do: talking to the n
Conversation. Add it to the list of things us Millennials are killing.

Look, I'm a shitty Millennial. I specifically avoided getting a smartphone for as long as I could because I knew how it would affect me having a cartridge of Infinite Jest in my pocket, I quit any WhatsApp groupchat my friends try to add me to, and the very thought of going on Tinder is beyond depressing.

Sherry Turkle wants to do the right thing, truly. But she really hampers her argument by focusing on the anecdotes of Americ
Tomas Ramanauskas
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Hard to argue with Turkle's statements:

-Social media cures us of talking.
-Without physical conversation we are less empathic, less connected, less creative and fulfilled.
-We can’t get enough of each other, if we can have each other at a digital distance—not too close, not too far, just right.
-Online we share, therefore we think we are.
-We are scared of solitude, yet without solitude we can’t construct a stable self.

It is a timely book, full on spot-on observations, but... 300 pages too long.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Put down your mobile phone and close your laptop, if you can. Our increasing reliance on non-verbal, virtual communications is not just altering how we work, it's fundamentally undermining how children learn empathy and transforming how families manage conflict. I'm not sure if I completely agree with everything Turkle argues, and at times she seems to rely too heavily on well-observed anecdotes rather than hard data. Still, our personal and collective attention spans seem to be shortening the m ...more
Carol Bakker
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family, culture, 2015
I want to come back and expand my thoughts. My mind is aswirl with quotes and thoughts and applications.

"This is our paradox. When were are apart: hypervigilance. When we are together: inattention."
Dayna Smith
READ THIS BOOK - I mean it, seriously, EVERYONE read this book. This book takes on our technology addiction and its consequences for society in a very readable and understandable way. Turkle does not want us to get rid of technology, but to use it in a way that doesn't destroy our ability to talk to and listen to one another. She provides quotes from students, business people, and others who really make you stop and think. This is a phenomenal read and one I plan to push on everyone I can. It is ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was incredibly impressed by this book at first. Sherry Turkle was hitting on so many of the things I fear are happening to people, particularly to children, due to the constant wired state of the world. One of the most important issues being that children can no longer deal with solitude, which is crucial for learning how to think on one's own and for knowing oneself period. So, I'm happily reading and reading, agreeing with so much being said, until I'm almost 30% through the book, at which t ...more
Eli Johnson
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, favorites, learning
Dang. While I can see some of the arguments that this is alarmist at best, as a teacher, parent, Millennial, and human being, I see the loss of conversation in myself and all around me. Texting and emailing are more comfortable than talking. The ability to compose and edit comforts us far more than the awkwardness and discomfort of face to face conflict and confrontation. But the necessity of human interaction is too deep, and our desire for real connection can not be sustained through technolog ...more
Jul 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
I just feel like she went in with a forgone conclusion, did no real research, and then strung together tiny bits of data and stories to back up her preconceived bias.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Finished this as a faculty read and changed my view of what we do in the classroom, but also how thoroughly damaging our embrace of technology has become to our sense of awareness and particularly our ability to communicate effectively and have empathy for others. Turkle shows how we are rarely fully "present" even in social settings as we're so distracted by technology - our phones and laptops. Turkle was famous "in the day" for her early work on gender equity and STEM, especially with computer ...more
Josiah Hatfield
Dec 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Through a lot of qualitative research, Turkle comes to a lot of solid conclusions about the value of face-to-face conversations in an age of technology. I'm not sure I would find many of her findings to be revelatory but rather more confirmations of ideas many of us already have as we rely on technology while also not wanting to maintain our dependence on it.

Two complaints with the book. First, the majority of her research seems to be done with educated students and adults in privileged setting
Rachel León
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
(Maybe more like 3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up because this book is so important and necessary)

This book examines the way society has turned away from one another as everyone has become more absorbed in digital devices. It really made me rethink my obsession with my phone/ social media and this past week I've been letting go of these things and I feel so much better. I'm sleeping better, I feel more free and light, and more creative... At times this book wasn't quite what it set out to be and o
Dj Granville
Good book, but was looking for more of a solution to the problem... I feel like the author did a very good job explaining the problem that phones create, but lacked providing a solution to this modern dilemma.
Ben Macadam
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm quite hesitant about giving 5/5 stars on a book, but I think that this book has earned it. I will be purchasing this book and re-reading it in the near future. I would 10/10 recommend this to anyone who is feeling mildly frustrated with the amount of time that you, your family members, or your friends are spending on their devices. It is a dense book and I would recommend that you read it slowly and allow yourself to think about the massive implications that the increased use of technology i ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I really liked the ideas that Turkle was presenting. I totally agree that conversation is dwindling and that we need to find new ways to work with students and work on their interpersonal skills because I do think that's important. I think that some of her points were a bit much and she got a little dramatic. I also think that some points were a bit hypocritical and can be hard to reconcile with the times that she agrees with technology.
Shana Karnes
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
This was a worldview-changing book with lessons for me as a mom, teacher, friend, and wife. Its frequent foundations in the words of Thoreau remind me that the root of the solution to the problem Turkle presents is simplicity and solitude. Loved this important book!
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I agreed with the author's point- that we have let technology take over many aspects of our lives to the extent that we are excluding people and relationships. Ok, sure. But she could have stated this in a LOT less than 362 pages of mostly anecdotal evidence (that all ended up sounding pretty much the same) and random statistics. Seriously, if there were ever a book written to skim this is it.

At the same time I was led to think carefully about how often I'm distracted by my phone, especially in
tonia peckover
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm just going to go ahead and say this is such an important book for our time and you need to read it. Turkle has studied the effects of media on humans for thirty years and she brings that considerable perspective to examining the breakdown of conversation, empathy and connection in our modern society. I consider myself pretty thoughtful about media consumption, but Turkle revealed many things that I hadn't even realized about myself and the way media (particularly the smartphone) has changed ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking look at the ways in which our digital culture divides us while giving us the illusion of connection
Apr 03, 2018 added it
Listening to this book on audio as I read 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You. It's a complementary read revealing how phones are changing us from a sociological, psychological, and relational perspective.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this book took me a few months to read! I read it in small doses and made tons of highlights. It's long and dense in places, but what Turkle has to say about conversation in the 21st century is so, so worth reading. She breaks it down into the way technology is affecting our communication in personal relationships, business, and school. It was really fascinating and I can see this as a book I'll return to and recommend often. I'd love to have an actual conversation with someone who has read i ...more
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in psychology
5 stars

Very good book. Quite interesting too. The author makes valid points. Hope we will be able to talk to others face to face more often.
Jeffrey McDowell
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A thought-provoking and sobering read!
Norman Falk
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
That technology does something to our conversations is nothing new. Turkle describes in much detail what exactly, and offers practical and well informed guidelines as she addresses the centrality and proper place of conversations in our relations.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
  • Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
  • The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place
  • The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us
  • Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue
  • Now You're Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage
  • The Fractured Republic: Renewing America's Social Contract in the Age of Individualism
  • The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction
  • Fear: A Cultural History
  • Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now
  • Them: Why We Hate Each Other - and How to Heal
  • Growth IQ: Get Smarter About the Choices that Will Make or Break Your Business
  • Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations
  • Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked
  • Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy
  • The Best Care Possible: A Physician's Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life
  • Facebook: The Inside Story
  • Writing Machines
See similar books…
Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Professor Turkle received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist.


News & Interviews

Trying to figure out what to read next? Why not add some 2019 Goodreads Choice Award titles to your Want to Read list? After all, these popular...
79 likes · 18 comments
“But if we don’t have experience with solitude—and this is often the case today—we start to equate loneliness and solitude. This reflects the impoverishment of our experience. If we don’t know the satisfactions of solitude, we only know the panic of loneliness.” 13 likes
“Every time you check your phone in company, what you gain is a hit of stimulation, a neurochemical shot, and what you lose is what a friend, teacher, parent, lover, or co-worker just said, meant, felt.” 13 likes
More quotes…