Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know Talking to Strangers discussion


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Let's discuss the book

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Sunita I just finished reading the book and looking for some humans to discuss with.


Alexis I found this book to be very interesting! I was really caught off guard by how the world's supposed leaders of being "lie detectors" aren't as skilled as we'd like to believe. What were some of your favorite parts?


Sunita Alexis wrote: "I found this book to be very interesting! I was really caught off guard by how the world's supposed leaders of being "lie detectors" aren't as skilled as we'd like to believe. What were some of you..."

Yeah! That was a big surprise for me too. The other being we trust our instincts to judge a stranger but it is not really our instincts rather hollywood and movies. We are conforming to what is showed to us


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

This book left me angry. Gladwell shows how things go wrong, but then walks away, metaphorically.
He uses horrific examples of abuse and then basically shrugs his shoulders and says, of course no one could have known.
I expected too much from this book.
The intensity of his examples is in no way offset by useful information about what we MUST DO TO CHANGE IT.
Anyone can point out what's wrong. That doesn't effect change.


Gregory Williamson @ Storyplease - In all his writings, Gladwell does a good job of crafting his series of arguments to present the point he is trying to make. I don't think he intends to do anything more here than point out what's wrong (or what could be wrong...it is just a theory after all). Before people can effect change they have to understand what the underlining issue is and I believe he is trying to make this a first step into effecting change by raising awareness to his questions. Anyone else feel this way?


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Gregory, Thank you for your response.
May I ask of you, what you took away that Gladwell pointed out as wrong; what the underlying issue is?
I am wondering in what way he may have raised your awareness?
I ask this before a longer response about my concerns, so that I may engage on particular points we may share, rather than wholly my own interpretation. Thanks.


message 7: by Shawn (new) - added it

Shawn Criscito After reading Tipping Point, I kind of felt either way about Gladwell. This book- Talking to Strangers- caused me to read the rest of his books. His storytelling is top notch. I love how he causes the reader to look at the contents from a perspective that is not usually the common one. This book was a bit heartbreaking at points, but I think the point was to cause us not to jump to conclusions and be thoroughly mindful of there being possibilities beyond our initial reaction.


Hong Nhung Great book I never seen before


message 9: by Anita (new) - added it

Anita I finished this book a couple of months ago, and I am struggling with it today. I try to read all Gladwell's books and believe he offers good theories. However, living in the time of Covid19, with all the conspiracy theories out there, I have to wonder if humans' default really is to "good." His book points to that using the examples he gave, but... Would love others' thoughts.


Sunita @Anita I think in light of covid19 the book is not the one to look at for reasons. I probably would go back to Blink if were to find some good points.


Marina I am a biology teacher and I tend to look at social behavior from the perspective of natural selection and survival. I think that humans are biologically programmed to behave in a way that facilitates them to "belong" to a group and to conform. We want to fit in, we want to be part of society, we don't purposefully act the opposite of that (dare I say) instinct unless we have ulterior motives. My personal belief is that one can't be taught to talk to strangers - unless you are plainly teaching someone to lie. We subconsciously operate on a very visceral level whether we want to or not. In one of Gladwell's other books - Blink, he talks about how you can tell if a marriage is in trouble if the spouse shows physical contempt in their "micro-expression" (see TV show "Lie To Me"). Our reaction to other people in many ways are things we can't control. What keeps us from committing acts of violence is civilized societal laws. But even then, people struggle with it because I strongly believe that we can't really excise millions of years of evolution out of our system. My students often become extremely offended when I tell them we are animals. I don't mean it in a negative way - I simply mean that our actions with each other and reactions to one another is pre-programmed biologically. This is the one point in his book that rings the most true to me - that we are inclined more towards trust than suspicion and we get it wrong sometimes but that is the price we pay to live in a civilized society - innocent until proven guilty. We are either really good liars or we aren't. The liars become great politicians. (haha)


Ali Sami Farooq I'm starting this book in this weekend ~ Ali Sami Farooq


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