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Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
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Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,806 ratings  ·  682 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
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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. …moreI 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. (less)

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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
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. ...more
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." ...more
Sep 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
This book is basically an expanded version of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. Carr wrote his work in 2010, and Turkle wrote this in 2015. I learned things from both books, but ultimately both could have been better. Turkle takes Carr's ideas and puts an emphasis on how the technology that is changing our brains is also changing our conversations.

Turkle starts small and slowly adds ideas, with chapters on solitude and self-reflection, friendships, family relationships, rom
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
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 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."
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
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was ok
This book was not what I expected. I thought it's a self-help book and it's supposed to help me to limit my time on social media. But No.
It's a study on how mobiles affect our lives, she has done a fairly good research but when it comes to conclusions, she's so biased. Like she's literally making the wrong conclusions from a really good data:)))
It's obvious that she's an old-fashioned person who doesn't like mobiles even if the mobile has some good Apps (for exercise, diet, meditation,...). She
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
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
Laura Clawson
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A few power chapters that dig into the necessity of in-person conversation to develop empathy -especially in children. The chapter on technology and love (read:dating apps) was also verrrrry interesting. Can we deal honestly with technology and admit our vulnerability to our devices as humans? Love the charge for awareness that leads to building better systems and devices that free us up to do the most human thing: talk to eachother.
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.
Dawn Michelson
Feb 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
This woman just preaches and rants. I swear she says the same stuff over and over and over. I thought I'd like this book because of the title, but, boy, was I wrong.
Jessica Taylor
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was challenging, thought provoking, and sometimes uncomfortable. I felt called out and encouraged to change how I interact with technology and others around me.
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it

“Just because technology can help us solve a “problem” doesn’t mean it was a problem in the first place.”

In many ways this is a terrifying book, and often feels like a glimpse into a futuristic dystopia, where humans are deprived of genuine contact and have become heavily reliant and almost totally controlled by a selection of incredibly sophisticated and powerful electronic devices, and yet almost every single one of us can relate to it.

“The problem comes if these “reminders” of intimacy lead u
Kevin Eikenberry
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If I told you there was a book on a topic that is important to anyone who wanted to communicate more effectively and build better relationships, that would offer solid suggestions, challenge your way of thinking, and change the way you see everyday interaction . . . would you be interested?

If you are, get this book.

This is the newest book from renowned media researcher Sherry Turkle. She brings curiosity, interviews and great research together to help us see how conversation is fading as a skill
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I needed to read this book. Another helpful reminder about the good and ills of screens in our lives. Turkle explains how our over use of screens is causing us to lose the ability to converse. She offered some helpful thoughts for me as a parent especially realizing the more our children invest and use screens, the more their ability to be empathetic fades and dies.
Some quotes:
"We struggle to pay attention to each other, and what suffers is our ability to know ourselves. We face a flight from c
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: popcomp, abandoned
Turkle's thesis (backed up by some, but not abundant, research) is that we are losing our empathic skills because we communicate excessively through computers, particularly children. Unfortunately, this book (abandoned 25% of the way through) is an unfortunate blend of occasional research nugget, extensive (and presumably selective) quoting from interviews, and the author's strong opinions stated as fact. I'm with Turkle: social networking sites are built to broadcast, which is antithetical to t ...more
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
Ossi Tiltti
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
My first thought when reading this was that this is nothing new. After all, I have heard all the same things summarised by Simon Sinek in a one youtube video. I know the so called Millenials and later generations are in trouble what comes to interacting with other people and lacking empathy. But after reading the book half way through I realised that the problem goes way deeper, and it's only going to get worse. And the trouble is, we simply don't know how the digital age is transforming humanit ...more
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
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
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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.


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