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We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations that Matter

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,417 ratings  ·  342 reviews

In this urgent and insightful book, public radio journalist Celeste Headlee shows us how to bridge what divides us--by having real conversations

NPR's Best Books of 2017

Winner of the 2017 Silver Nautilus Award in Relationships & Communication

“We Need to Talk is an important read for a conversationally-challen
ebook, 272 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Harper Wave
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  2,417 ratings  ·  342 reviews

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Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, nonfiction
Lots of nuggets of wisdom regarding good communication skills, and in particular conversation skills, in this book. After all, "Good conversation doesn't happen naturally, though most of us assume the opposite." (p. 35) Honest and to the point, Headlee's strategies will help you improve your conversation skills, as well as know and understand others better.
Liza Fireman
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book can be summarized in a few short sentences, maybe one for the most part. We need to listen, and actually talk less. This is an important lesson, since we tend to talk and not listen much, and we tend to talk about ourselves.

As recited in the book: Sociologist Charles Derber describes this tendency to insert oneself into a conversation as “conversational narcissism.” It’s the desire to take over a conversation, to do most of the talking, and to turn the focus of the exchange to yoursel
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Headlee is a news show host on NPR whose primary business is interviewing people and learning from what they tell her. In this book, she uses her own observations backed up with current research to present several ways we can improve the quality of our conversations. Headlee argues that with Americans more divided than at any time in recent history, we are losing the ability to have civil, engaged conversations. The strategies she presents are not necessarily new or groundbreaking, but help us t ...more
Leigh Kramer
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, favorites
Celeste Headlee believes conversation can change the world and after reading her book We Need To Talk, I agree.

Good conversations increase our empathy and they help us consider other points of view, whether it's a political issue or how to handle a tricky situation at work or even a helpful tip related to a household chore. We walk away understanding ourselves and the other person better than we did before.

This, of course, takes work. More importantly, it takes self-awareness. Most of us believe
I first encountered the author when I randomly watched her Ted Talk on how to improve your conversations. I felt that her Ted Talk was engaging and offered really practical tips on how you can be a better conversationalist. I saw this book and I felt it would be great to refresh and improve my conversation skills. Before I continue, if you watched her Ted Talk, honestly you can skip the book because majority of what was said in the Ted Talk was just expounded on in this book.

I found out while r
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Listen. Cut to the chase. Stop formulating your responses while people are still talking to you. This was a really interesting read!
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks, borrowed, 2018
This is a topic that's become deeply important to me over the last few years - both as someone who publishes conversations as podcasts, and in my daily life. We could all listen more - all make a deeper effort to engage.

A lot of what Headlee brings up hit bullseyes for here's hoping it will help me be a better listener and a better conversationalist.
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book. Practical and written from an experts perspective but with humility and humour. Highly recommend!!!
“The attempt to change somebody’s mind is the death of good conversation.”

The ability to hold good conversations has become important to me; the skill for both listening and speaking is one that I would like to sharpen.

I came across We Need To Talk via a podcast where I heard the author speak of her work. She made a positive impression. I became curious about her book. The book did not disappoint.

Within the pages I found many good and practical pointers to improve conversation for both speaking
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Journalist and radio host Celeste Headlee, in her well-organized and nicely researched work of non-fiction, "We Need to Talk," suggests that too many of us do not listen attentively or communicate effectively. In an age of instant messaging, surfing the Web, Facebook, and email, how often do we have more than a cursory chat with our relatives, friends, neighbors, and colleagues? Although superficial exchanges are the stuff of everyday life, there are instances when hearing what someone else has ...more
One of those books that you may already heard of it's content multiple times before but you still need to read it to refresh your mind and to give a bit more effort to understand and think about what the author is saying to fully grasp the meaning behind it all and it's implications.

I really enjoyed reading about this and it has made me think about many of the conversations I had, the ones I try to avoid, the ones I listen to half-heartedly, the ones where I can't wait for the person to shut up
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club, 2018
A few chaffing points, but even before I finished reading the book I *immediately* became better at conversing with others, which is help that I really need and want. Highly recommend, especially as we approach Thanksgiving 😉
Aliya Janjua
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Must read for how to communicate.
Don't be shifter, be a supporter.
Jay Dev Pandey
I found this book really good and I am applying it in my day to day life.

To be a good conversationalist, What we almost all think is to speak more but that not true what actually needed is to listen more & talk less to win the affection of other people.

Everyone loves to speak, If we can really listen to them we would be a better conversationalist & have a good relationship.
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good. I learned some things I need to improve on!
Bruce Ciotta
Jul 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Lots of helpful info on how to have meaningful conversations. Now all I have to do is implement. 🤨
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Helpful in this post-Trump era.
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I believe with all my heart that we have a window of opportunity right now to make things better in our world and it starts with an act as simple as saying hello to your neighbor. So put away your smartphone for just a moment and go talk to someone. Better yet, go listen to someone. People will surprise you. They will delight you, enlighten you and sometimes anger you. But if you can get past the superficial chit-chat most of us mistake as conversation, people will never bore you."

This book was
Alisa Wilhelm
This book is based on NPR show host Celeste Headlee's TED Talk, "10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation."

The 10 points in the talk each have a corresponding chapter in the book. The points are:
1. Don't multitask - be fully in or fully out of the conversation.
2. Don't pontificate.
3. Use open ended questions.
4. Go with the flow / Travel together.
5. If you don't know, say that you don't know.
6. Don't equate your experience with theirs.
7. Try not to repeat yourself.
8. Stay out of the weeds.
9. Li
Robert Cox
Overall a quick easy read with some insightful points about conversation that can have application in real life. Some are things we might know already but need reminded of:

-We cannot multitask. I do this all the time, try to hold a conversation and write or read an email. Just doesn’t work.

-Going into a conversation with the intent of changing someone’s mind is more often than not a suicide mission. However listening to viewpoints that you disagree with and allowing the person to explain themsel
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If asked, “Are you a good driver?” What would you say? How about a good listener? “Of course,” I’d reply, without looking up from my smartphone.

Our perceptions often don’t match how we are perceived. And common sense isn’t that common after all.

Celeste Headlee provides a reality check while teaching her readers the most valuable skill; how to listen.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I initially thought the title "We Need to Talk" was a bit dramatic, but Headlee is passionate and convincing about the merits of meaningful conversation and the risks of our deteriorating ability to listen and communicate to ourselves and society; there were many times while reading this book that I found myself nodding along enthusiastically. Headlee frames these benefits and risks at the personal AND global scale, showing the stakes, especially in these divisive times, of being unable or unwil ...more
Kevin Lin
I picked up this book after listening to an interview with Celeste in a podcast. She mentioned a few interesting pointers about conversations and piqued my curiosity enough that I got her book.

"We Need to Talk" makes the case for in the importance of conversation in society and some practical advice in having good conversations. It's a short read that could have been a quarter of its size and still gotten the same points across.

The book is divided into two halves. The first half tries to estab
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Headlee had me at her dedication, “For Grant: I wanted to be a better person so I could be a better mom.”  I think this speaks to so many parents out there.
This book is so timely in our current politicized environment and she touches on having discussions with people who differ on politics as well as having productive discussions with your boss or employees.
Did you know humans now have the attention span of a goldfish?  Technology over the last few years has made up skim and look for sound bites
Jennifer Trovato
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the book I've been wanting to read for a while. It is very practical while enjoyable to read. I'm walking away with things that I can really work on to make my conversations rise above small to talk. She focused a lot on having conversations with those that you can't imagine being able to talk with and I appreciated how she sees that everyone has a right to express their opinion. Your main goal is to listen as a means to really try to understand someone else's view. She makes the analogy ...more
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had a hard time rating this book. On one hand, it has its shortcomings: repetitions, diving into unnecessary detail, some inconsistencies between chapters. On the other hand, it introduced me to a few very important concepts and made me look at the way I'm having the conversations. I agree with a general premise of the book – we need to talk with each other more and we need to consciously improve the way we do it.

The key takeaways are the model of a good conversation as a friendly game of c
Thea Zhu
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, self-help
Read an interesting article from the author posted by TED and had to get my hands/ears on the (audio-)book.

Didn't realized how desperate I was for a book on conversation until I heard about Celeste Headlee. I was having exhausting discussions with my mum about BLM and though I finally found a breakthrough in communication.

Since both the hopes and stakes were high, I have to admit that I was hoping for a brighter spark of epiphany on the conversation-front - but still close enough.

Plus the author
Faizah Aulia R
“If we can learn to talk about the hard things, if we can find common ground and begin to discover the issues on which we can agree, it could be possible to solve some of the more intransigent problems we face.”

“Empathy, at its most basic, is the ability to sense someone else’s feelings, to be aware of their emotional state, and to imagine their experience.”

baca buku ini jadi inget quote di salah satu buku ust. salim A Fillah, "memenangkan kebenaran bukan hanya perkara memenangkan argumen, leb
Heather L
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is very informative and a good reminder for us when we want to have meaningful conversations. It is not only essential to understand other people, but it is also good for us mentally. I can’t say how many times I have come away from a great conversation with someone I barely knew when my interaction with them initially was filled with dread or disinterest. I think everyone should take notice of this book and realize that just because you may not agree with a person on certain topics do ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lindsay by: Gina
That was fabulous! I was thoroughly engrossed from beginning to end. There's a lot here that makes so much sense, but I'd never *really* thought of it before. I feel like I identified so many of my own flaws in how I converse with others...I'm such a jerk! This has definitely rewired the way I experience and value interactions with other people and will hopefully influence me to become a better friend, family member, and colleague to all those I encounter. Bonus: the audio is superb! Short and s ...more
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There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
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“Being a good talker doesn’t make you a good listener, and being smart might make you a terrible listener.” 7 likes
“We must learn how to talk to one another and, more important, listen to one other. We must learn to talk to people we disagree with, because you can’t unfriend everyone in real life.” 5 likes
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