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Let's Talk About Hard Things

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  453 ratings  ·  64 reviews
From the host of the popular WNYC podcast Death, Sex, & Money, Let’s Talk About Hard Things is “like a good conversation with a friend” (The New Yorker) and an invitation to discuss the tough topics that all of us encounter. “You will laugh, cry, nod in recognition, and by the end, feel like no topic is off-limits when it comes to creating meaningful connection” (Lori Gott ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 4th 2021 by Simon Schuster
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Apr 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a fairly longterm podcast listener of Anna Sale's WYNC show Death, Sex & Money, and was keen to try out this book that is so closely related it's almost a direct spin-off, despite not often being someone who'd head to the "Health, Mind & Body" section of a bookshop.

If you've listened to the show, you'll know that Sale's style of interviewing her guests is one filled with gentle compassion and curiosity, and truly about listening to them and their experiences. While conversations frequ
Apr 23, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, giveaways
I have mixed feelings about this book. The content is presented in an approachable and informative writing style, which is a great merit of Anna Sale's writing. That said, I found many jarring typos and a few odd phrases throughout that took me out of the overall message of the paragraph or even the entire passage they were included in.

I do appreciate, however, that Sale not only drew from her own experience, but took the time to really research and interview people of varying identities, belie
Candice Brusuelas
Apr 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This short but in-depth book covers the biggest topics we don't like to talk about: Death, Money, Family, Sex, and Identity. Each offers a diverse view of these topics and the many challenges they face, along with some helpful perspectives about how to broach these topics with loved ones. Because, after all, they are incredibly important topics to talk about.

As someone who likes to write about difficult things, I was impressed with Sale's level of understanding and clarity on all of these issues
Author Anna Sale offers a book with challenging topics and urges readers to explore these topics without fear. Death, sex, relationships and identity are all fair game in a book of anecdotes taken from her own experiences and conversations with others. While I found the book interesting, it didn’t rise above the newspaper advice columns that offer such deceptively attractive advice to readers. LET’S TALK ABOUT HARD THINGS was softer than I expected. I received my copy from the publisher through ...more
La Crosse County Library
Not to sound like Yogi Berra, but talking about hard things is hard. Emotions run high, vulnerabilities are exposed, and awkwardness abounds. It's impossible to make it to adulthood without having at least one "squirmy" conversation. Author Anna Sale recognizes that "it's downright terrifying to discuss the things that are most important to us with the people who are most important to us," and offers guidance on how to approach difficult conversations in a better way.

Sale hosts the long-running
I was surprised that this would be a two star book for me, although I also gave up before the family and identity sections. I don't listen to the author's podcast but had enjoyed hearing her interviewed on other podcasts, so I thought I would like to book. I found it pretty shallow and structurally repetitive, introducing a topic, collecting anecdotes, adding experiences from the author's life, touching on everyone's experiences briefly, and then wrapping up. ...more
Ray Teggin
Jun 03, 2021 rated it liked it
Felt more like a podcast transcript than a book.
Jun 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
I think I was expecting different things from the Money and Family chapters, but this was really good and insightful.
Janet Hutchinson
This is a good read. The author doesn’t give you a script, more a reasoned and compassionate approach to hard conversations. Death, sex and money are certainly difficult conversations, but her approach to having these, takes into account perspective, position, and what is wanted/needed out of the conversation. But it was from her chapter on identity that I think I got the most out of. These are tricky conversations, but her thoughtfulness would help guide you through them.
Jun 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Liked it... didn't love it. Was a pleasant enough audio book. ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I've been an avid listener to Anna Sale's podcast, "Death, Sex, and Money," so requesting this ARC to review was a no-brainer for me. I spend a lot of my life at work and outside it with people who are facing difficult or weighty things-- death, relationship pain, chronic illness, homelessness, disability, and other sources of pain and frustration. I've watched how often, people's discomfort with talking about the hard thing keeps them from seeking or resting in the human connections that could ...more
Erin Kowal
Jun 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I just started listening to the Death, Sex & Money podcast this month (on the wide recommendation of another author). The first episode I heard referenced this new book — so I’m reading the newest writing while listening to back catalog podcasts.

I liked this book even more than I expected. It’s serious and smart, and completely accessible. I’d recommend this to someone who doesn’t read a lot, but I’d also recommend it to someone with lots of academic reading. It connects with real (daily and ex
Zibby Owens
May 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The book "Let's Talk About Hard Things" is a memoir that focuses on what happened in the author's life when she hit thirty, and her first marriage was surprisingly ending. She had to figure out how to rebuild her emotional scaffolding and decide the next phase of her life. This book points out that when we dare to talk about hard things that happen to us in our lives, we learn more about ourselves. This book dives into five difficult topics like death, sex, money, family, and identity.

I liked h
Elizabeth O
Jun 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Maybe a 3.5. I really enjoyed the first half more than the second half. I'm rating it lower as there was a certain lack of flow to the book. I do think this is a good one to listen to. I'm very familiar with the podcast "Death, Sex, and Money" that this is based off of and I really like that premise-- things we think about a lot and need to talk about more. I thought the thoughts and comments on death and grief were particularly pertinent as people so often do not know what to say and/or parrot ...more
May 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: high-caliber
I’m a big fan of the Death, Sex, and Money podcast, so I was primed to enjoy the book. It’s basically a condensed, organized version of seven years of the show. There’s also a bit of memoir snuck in here as well. I don’t know if there’s much new for those who are existing listeners, but it’s a pleasant way to engage with the difficulties of discussing complicated social issues.
Jun 09, 2021 rated it liked it
While I enjoyed reading this, it isn't the book I thought it was going to be. If you are an avid listener of her podcast, Death, Sex & Money, a lot of the stories included in the book will be familiar. Overall, it feels like more of a "guide" on how to have hard conversations than I was anticipating. So, if that is what you are looking for, it's worth checking out. But it didn't quite live up to my expectations. ...more
Scribe Publications
The number one driver of human happiness, across time and culture, is meaningful connection to others. The road to connection is conversations. Anna Sale is giving us the encouragement, the example, and the tools to do the one thing that can bring us closer: talk about hard things.
Kelly Corrigan, Host of Kelly Corrigan Wonders and Bestselling Author of Tell Me More

In Let’s Talk About Hard Things, Anna Sale brings us fascinating conversations that feel both intensely personal and widely universal
Scribe Publications
The number one driver of human happiness, across time and culture, is meaningful connection to others. The road to connection is conversations. Anna Sale is giving us the encouragement, the example, and the tools to do the one thing that can bring us closer: talk about hard things.
Kelly Corrigan, Host of Kelly Corrigan Wonders and Bestselling Author of Tell Me More

In Let’s Talk About Hard Things, Anna Sale brings us fascinating conversations that feel both intensely personal and widely universal
Feb 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
LET'S TALK ABOUT HARD THINGS is a natural byproduct of Anna Sale's fantastic podcast "Death, Sex, and Money." While the podcast has a catchy name, it is ultimately focused on talking about topics that are difficult to bring up and discuss. Sale expands upon these areas in her book as well as adds two additional themes- family and identity, though all of the themes can be interconnected. Each section usually begins with an example from Anna's life, then adds interviews she has done on her podcast ...more
Katie - Girl About Library
"When we have the courage to talk about hard things, we learn about ourselves, others and the world that we make together".

I recently finished reading "Let's Talk About Hard Things" by Anna Sale. I was unfamiliar with her podcast before beginning the book but was pulled in by the title and topics covered - the hard conversations in life - death, sex, money, family, and identity - and why we should have those conversations, despite, and because of, their difficulty.

In the first chapters, the book
Jt O'Neill
May 24, 2021 rated it liked it
I've listened to Anna Sale's podcast (Death, Sex, and Money) pretty much from the beginning. I look forward to new episodes and the conversations that are delivered to my ears. I was ready to devour this book as soon as it came out, hoping for more of what she brings to the podcast.

The truth is, I'm sure it was there in the book too but I couldn't find it so easily. I am a believer in hard conversations. I have participated in ones that became life changing. I am willing to risk hard conversatio
May 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As a long time listener of the Death, Sex and Money podcast, I had been looking forward to this book for months. And it did not disappoint. In this book, Anna Sale does exactly what she does on her podcast, bring up the topics that we don’t want to talk about. I appreciated her openness and willingness to be so frank about her own life, even her sex love and her marriage(s). That kind of candor really helped draw me in and lent the book a credibility that would have been lacking otherwise. Anna’ ...more
Kate (kate_reads_)
Jun 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Do you listen to podcasts? If so - you may have heard of the podcast Death, Sex and Money with Anna Sale. In the book Let’s Talk About Hard Things, Sale goes further into these topics - things that are hard to talk about but also so important. In addition to sections on these three topics, there are also sections on Family and Identity. In addition to share real people’s stories including often Sale’s own experiences, it also helps offer some phrases that can be useful in having these tough conv ...more
Vicki Larson
Apr 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
I'm a huge fan of Death, Sex & Money and podcast host Anna Sale, whose curiosity and kindness come through in the way she talks to her subjects. Her book does the same, expanding on the themes of her podcast and interspersing it with her own life stories in a way that makes the reader feel like, I'd like to be her friend.

All the topics she addresses — death, sex, money, family, and identity — are indeed hard to talk about with friends, coworkers and loved ones, so her suggestions of how to start
April Sanders
May 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Each chapter of this book covers a different topic that tends to be difficult for people to discuss. Death, Sex, Money, Family, and Identity. In addition to the author’s own words and anecdotes, she interviews and writes about other people that may have had very different experiences on the same topics. I enjoyed reading about all the different perspectives on how to have these hard conversations, and the multitude of results that can come from them. I only wish the chapter on Identity had discu ...more
Jun 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
This was a miss for me. I love the podcast - but did not find that the concept translated well to this book. The podcast is great in part because the stories speak for themselves. That beauty was lost with the book which interspersed the stories with lots of forced “telling not showing” drawing of clunky conclusions. And the best story snippets in the book were from episodes of the podcast, which felt unfair to the reader. I also found the overarching premise very boring and underdeveloped - bas ...more
May 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I loved this book, It was a nice easy listen, and if you are familiar with Anna Sale's voice you know this will be a warm tea that will help you cozy up to the words of the author, even when you are very familiar with some of the stories she has mentioned in the book, since most come from her podcast.
If you are not familiar with Anna Sale, this book is a nice way to get to know her, and the things she talks about. The last three chapters and specially the ending did it for me.

"Hard conversations
Mulberry Street Library
Selection for the Mulberry Street Library/WNYC Online Book Discussion Group, Wednesday June 23, 2021!
The discussion will take place ONLINE between 6-7:00pm Eastern Daylight Time.
Please register at this link --
We will then be able to send you a link to the discussion about one day before it happens.
The author will not be at the Mulberry Street Library discussion, but she will appear with Alison Stewart on WNYC the Greene Space, RIGHT AFTER our book discuss
Rowena Mohammed
Jun 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't expect to like this book. But it is a book that really addresses the issues of our time, of our lives.

Thoughtful, essential, unexpected, entertaining and inspiring must read. I am not one to read non-fiction, but this non fiction anthology has the type of characters and heroes that I admire. They are the type of characters that inspire us to aspire to be like them. Yes the are flawed, but we don’t celebrate their flaws we celebrate them because they learn to overcome their flaws.

It is
Kate Henderson
I know the clue is in the title - but I found this book quite hard to read.
I wanted to come away feeling inspired, and having learnt more about these difficult topics - however I was left feeling slightly flat.

I didn't particularly like Anna Sales writing style - I have never listened to her podcast, but I feel that because podcasting and the audio format is what she is used to, maybe I would have preferred and got a lot more out of the audio version of this book.

I didn't get any great insight i
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“There is a lot in life that is difficult, and there is no getting around that. Good conversation will not take away the shock of death or heal the sting of heartbreak. But isolation and stigma will inevitably make that pain so much worse.” 0 likes
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