Karen's Reviews > You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters

You’re Not Listening by Kate   Murphy
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"For example, someone who has a critical inner voice will hear someone else's words very differently from how someone whose inner voice tends to blame others will. It's all your fault versus It's all their fault. In other words, our inner dialogue influences and distorts what other people say and thus how we behave in relationships."

I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, there was a lot of interesting information and data that explains how we listen, common pitfalls we fall into and why it's important to listen better. All of which I totally agree with. That's the reason I wanted to read this book to begin with. I knew I wasn't listening as well as I could be and I wanted to do a better job.

There were some really engaging bits. For example, I liked learning about the right-ear advantage and how you might be able use (if you're right-handed) to pick up up meaning vs using your left ear to hear more of the emotional feelings. It was new to me and an interesting concept. But overall, it was a lot of here's why you're not listening and here's what happens if only you could listen better.

The author did a good job of making her case of how we're not listening as well and why it matters. She had a lot of interesting studies and cited many resources. And if that's all the book promised, maybe I would have rated it much higher. To be fair, it is the title of the book so maybe that should have been my hint.

"People's inner voices have tremendous influence in part because they are perceived as louder."

Even though the title only promised to tell me what I was missing and why it mattered, the blurbs promised that it would also teach me how to listen better. And this is where I felt the book failed me.

The continuous repetition of how phones, internet and social media is killing my listening skills and making me a worse person just got old. I was already bought in, but after multiple times, it just felt like she was lecturing.

I think maybe I could have tolerated that if there was more examples on how to actually be a good listener. She talked about "shifting" and "support" responses which I really liked reading about. Such illustrations around what you do when you listen poorly and how you could listen better were exactly what I was hoping the book had more of.

"In fact, smart people are often worse listeners because they come up with more alternative things to think about and ae more likely to assume that they already know what the person's going to say. People with high IQs also tend to be more neurotic and self-conscious, which means worry and anxiety are more likely to hijack their attention."

And in the end, because so much of the how was missing, the book felt more and more didactic to me as I read on. I felt I was being lectured at, scolded, and reprimanded. Her tone started getting to me and I couldn't let it go. I was going to write: it might just be me but of course it's just me. Book reading is a personal experience and this was my personal experience. I don't read non-fiction as often as I read fiction but what I really love about non-fiction is that each time I read one, I learn something new, I grow, and I can look at the world and be in it a little bit differently.

This book did a good job of highlighting the importance of listening better. I'm sold. It did a less good job of how I could help bridge the gap and become a better listener myself. Maybe that can be her next book. :)

With gratitude to Celadon Books for an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Reading Progress

November 9, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read (Hardcover Edition)
November 9, 2019 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)
January 1, 2020 – Started Reading
January 1, 2020 – Shelved
January 3, 2020 – Finished Reading

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