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Talking to Strangers

What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know
Written by: Malcolm Gladwell
Narrated by: Malcolm Gladwell
Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (190 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The highly anticipated new book from Malcom Gladwell, host of the chart-topping podcast Revisionist History

With original archival interviews and musical scoring, this enhanced audiobook edition of Talking to Strangers brings Gladwell’s renowned storytelling to life in his unparalleled narrating style.  

The routine traffic stop that ends in tragedy. The spy who spends years undetected at the highest levels of the Pentagon. The false conviction of Amanda Knox. Why do we so often get other people wrong? Why is it so hard to detect a lie, read a face or judge a stranger's motives?

Through a series of encounters and misunderstandings - from history, psychology and infamous legal cases - Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual adventure into the darker side of human nature, where strangers are never simple and misreading them can have disastrous consequences.

No one challenges our shared assumptions like Malcolm Gladwell. Here he uses stories of deceit and fatal errors to cast doubt on our strategies for dealing with the unknown, inviting us to rethink our thinking in these troubled times.

©2019 Malcolm Gladwell (P)2019 Malcolm Gladwell

Critic Reviews

"I love this book...reading it will actually change not just how you see strangers, but how you look at yourself, the news - the world. Reading this book changed me." (Oprah Winfrey)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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True to it's word

very well narrated. have been a fan girl of Mr. Gladwell.

very often we don't know how to talk to strangers and often take them for granted which created a ripple of effects.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Too much US centric

most of the examples have been from US which makes the book too US centric. I liked the way the book has been naratted.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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One of the best audio books

Very thought provoking. MG is awesome as always. His own voice makes this audio book a perfect one.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

over all its really good reading

over all its very good reading but sometime I am.not able to correlate , thubk it's because of reader and writer are from different continents and both are having are different social culture

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Good read and writer seems to be very detailed

Writer is very knowledgeable and detailed oriented. Very nice examples chosen to connect to the topics.

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Could have been great

A good book but fails from becoming great as it meanders in many directions. A good book for lawyers, cops - all negotiators

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Good book; Good narration

loved it. good stories. however all of them may not directly fit talking to stranger theme. however, lots to learn

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Interesting Prespective on understanding Strangers

Picked up book based on Audable suggestion. Would Not say the best book I have come across. At the same time, still worth your time.

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great narration!

Best audio book that I've heard so far! You will definitely love listening (the narration is that good). The book shows that our modern society functions on the basis of an inherent trust based system i.e. by default humans are biased to trust strangers. Great anecdotes to explain how suicide rates are coupled with guns, how police aggressiveness results partially due to inherent lack of trust etc. Society pays a higher price when we lack the ability to trust others. Great synopsis in the last chapter.

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Insightful

The book details the psychological aspects of interacting with strangers. It stresses the need to be mindful of our language and not make any assumptions about the stranger beforehand.

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  • Nick
  • 03-10-19

Not the most compelling MG book Ive read

I am a huge Malcolm Gladwell content fan. However, I have to say that I enjoyed this book the least out of all of the MG books I have read/listened to.

Positives:
I always appreciate Malcom narrating his own audio books - first class.

I was hugely excited by the novelty of including actual recordings in the book i.e. hearing quotes from the very sources themselves and making it into a kind of podcast on steriods. I think this was novel and a front runner of how future audio books of this nature will evolve. Full marks here.

I enjoyed the high pace and reporting style which the book follows, which aligns to previous MG book formula.

Thought provoking.

Negatives:
The subject and the stories while interesting did not make a convincing argument for me. In comparison to how compelling the subjects, theories and arguments in the stories of Blink, David and Goliath and Tipping Point were, this is not in the same league.

I found the argument tenuous at best. I think the stories were compelling because of their emotive and moral shock value, but the arguments put forward as to why these happened were not convincing ... they almost had a 'conspiracy theory' quality to them. I was hoping for more sources, better examples, less repetition on for example 'default to truth theory' and a clearer and more compelling link and argument. It was however, thought provoking which is I would imagine always an author's objective.

I still remain a fan, and continue to look forward to all of Malcolm Gladwell's content - one to mention, is that I am well into season 4 of Revisionist History and love the subject matter and format of these episodes.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-09-19

Disappointing

The book delivers none of Gladwell's usual magic of describing a handful of unexamined historical events, and rendering their connection visible in a way that brilliantly supports his thesis. Instead, he recites a string of anecdotes, only to give the most obvious of pronouncements with a self-congratulary smirk. We often get people wrong. We assume people tell the trust most of the time.

It is politically problematic to the point of needing a trigger warning. Brock Turner is said to have raped an unconscious girl due to inebriation. The catalyst for Sandra Bland's death was not police brutality, but a miscommunication.

I enjoyed a few of his other books far too much to be able to finish this one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-09-19

Book version of Ira Glass's This American

Loved the way Mr. Gladwell brought relevant facts and stories pertaining to the Sandra Bland tragedy. He builds and pulls from Friends, Amanda Knox, and other bits to remind us of the danger of societal stereotypes and acceptance of simple explanations without digging deeper to understand people not like us. This is my favorite of all his books I have read to date.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-11-19

great listen

Malcolm gladwell does not disappoint. well researched, beautifully told and narrated.... loved listening and learning

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-11-19

Malcolm Gladwell delivers again.

This is a compelling book which forces you to examine the way you interact with strangers.

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  • Rafidah
  • 12-11-19

Good topic but not engaging enough or missing the ‘so what?’

Good topic on talking to strangers and reviewing our perceptions on a stranger in front of us on the basis of his or her behaviour.
However I am missing the ‘so what’ on some of the stories and interviews shared. Some of the stories seem to reference to the same point.

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  • Francine
  • 07-11-19

Outstanding!

Great format, insightful, thought provoking and moving

Thank you thank you thank you Malcolm Gladwell for your best book yet!

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  • Chidi Mbanisi
  • 01-11-19

Intriguing Read!

Loved every bit of it.
I thoroughly enjoyed the narrator.
Hanna Montez & Sandra Bland really tugged at my heart.

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  • VC
  • 31-10-19

excellent read of an unusual topic!

enjoyable experience.. filled with interesting examples and insights. thoroughly researched. I highly recommend this for anyone curious!

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  • Suman Amarnath
  • 26-10-19

Something familiar about it

Listeners of Malcolm Gladwell's podcast will instantly recognize this audio book as something familiar. There is the familiar voice of the author, the narrative arc of each chapter resembles much like that of each episode, the use of music, the interview excerpts and in the end even the usual people are thanked. So if you listen to "Revisionist History" and like it as I do, this audio book is a bonus: a bunch of episodes released all at once.

Even as a book, there is something familiar about this. Gladwell is in his element here, taking less publicly known research and relating it to a theme of events. The book begins with a detailed account of the Sandra Bland case and it ends with the aftermath and an analysis of the case. Between both these chapters Gladwell constructs a large narrative arc - of how we talk and relate to strangers. Each chapter examines this question through a different lens: what role does transparency play, what role does context play etc. Along the way each chapter takes up a different case study from Neville Chamberlain's misreading of Adolf Hitler, Amanda Knox's misreading by the Italian police to the role context plays in the death of the poet Slyvia Plath. You get the picture. Each one of the names and cases are famous and if you are as Gladwell aware as I was, you would be curious to hear his spin on each one of these cases. Hell, even if he didn't contextualize it differently you would love to hear his narration of the story, for Gladwell is such an effective story teller.

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  • steve farmer
  • 11-09-19

Classic Gladwell please do not leave it another 6 years

So what can I say. Within the first few minutes I’m driving along with my jaw on the floor- oh my god! All my commutes have been reduced to minutes whilst Malcom takes me on a journey of enlightenment and discovery. Forget counting down the miles, I arrive home and sit on the drive not wanting to turn this off! I have waited so long for your new book and still you fail to disappoint. Simply brilliant !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

30 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • Philip O Mahoney
  • 11-10-19

Extra Long Revisionist History...

... but not in a bad way. Gladwell borrows heavily from his podcast in both production and story telling; breaking up the chapters into episodes that could stand alone. The thinking behind the piece, as usual, is extremely interesting and the individual stories are brilliantly fleshed out with actual audio which can break up the rare monotony in the narration.

The theme of the book is a worrying look at how we interact with strangers and our human shortcomings. The only issue I have with Gladwell highlighting each of our fallacies is that knowing about them doesn't seem to help navigate around them (see Kahneman on that).

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Egal
  • 16-10-19

Brilliant - Gladwell changes your mind, again

This non-fiction book has an arc and you need to listen it completely to fully understand the story. Gladwell's analysis never leaves out the other side of the story and once again exposes our human flaws in judgement. If you loved the Revisionist History podcast, this is for you. If you haven't - this is probably for you as well. Don't expect anything ordinary and sit it through to the end.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • 12-10-19

Entertaining if not insightful

Malcoln Gladwell is brilliant at what he does, breaking down complex ideas so that the mass public can pretend to understand. Here in lies the problem, it's so watered down when done that the impact is superficial. I'll continue reading/listening to him as it's easy going but I would love to see him take on truly new ideas, not just regurgitate what's been covered more academically by others.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • jimvgeorge
  • 02-10-19

Invisible walls of 2019 are broken down

Another masterpiece by Malcolm Gladwell. Felt like I was listening to a documentary, not the boring kind, the kind that has your heart on edge.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Dels
  • 02-10-19

Brilliant

A brilliant book or should I say production... the enhancement including audio files from court cases etc brought it to life! Malcom Gladwell as always presents a brilliant case!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-09-19

Next level audio book

Brilliant, a classic Malcolm Gladwell book combined with an entertaining podcast feel.
I really like the journey he takes you on, off on behavioural tangents, you have to go with it and enjoy the ride. You can feel sad, enlightened, annoyed, disappointed but that's the best bit whatever he writes gets a reaction and hopefully we learn something and optimistically we improve how we act.
Now I understand where some of his podcast materials came from recently ;-)

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • A. Lobo
  • 17-09-19

Reviewed by a stranger

Well researched, thoughtful, intelligent and interesting perspective on human interactions. Like a crime investigation deconstructing the events and reconstructing them. Then providing a different and more realistic view of what actually happened. Could not stop listening.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr Nicholas Kyle
  • 12-09-19

Gladwell does it again.

Great story telling for Gladwell, as always. If you like Revisionist History you'll love this book.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Mmmmmm
  • 01-11-19

annoying

I usually like gladwell books and theories but this just annoyed me. it was doom mongering and lacked focus. his editor should have been stricter with him on his premise and thoughts on how he would portray them. seems to be more about bias than talking to strangers. it all felt a bit of a stretch. could it be he was desperate to release another book? I dont know but it didnt quite hit the right note for me.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-09-19

Please label the chapters

Considering the amount of work poured into this masterpiece, it’s quite disappointing to see that the chapters were not labelled at all.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Ethan Collins
  • 19-09-19

Always glad for more Gladwell, but...

Gladwell never fails to entertain, and this audiobook stands out in incorporating original and re-enacted source material, but the thesis falls a little flat. No regrets, but no revelations either. Time to shake up the method?

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Davidb
  • 01-11-19

Best Audio book in a long, long time!!

Malcolm's story, delivery, voice, content, facts and production values made this my favourite audio book... ever!! Some other author/narrators should take a lead from Malcolm.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-09-19

What a production

Thanks for sharing your insights.
I throughly enjoyed the listen and I highly recommend everyone do the same.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Robin Boyd
  • 20-09-19

Not bad

less insightful than some of Gladwell's other books but pretty good. I like the inclusion of original audio.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca Henry
  • 13-09-19

Love the enhanced audio book format

Really loved the audio clips, music backing tracks and interview material which interspersed the narration. This is Gladwell at his best, confronting and insightful.
This book should challenge and change you.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Kate
  • 20-09-19

A good writer, but thin arguments

Gladwell usually boils things down really well but I think he's oversimplified some complex issues in his quest to make it all easy. I think he's straying into rape apologist territory at times; and was it really just misunderstanding that led an intensely corrupt and incompetent police investigation into Amanda Knox? Too easy I think.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-09-19

Best audiobook ever

I would have found this book riviting anyway, but with all the brilliant production values of how podcasts, this book becomes utterly enthralling.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam
  • 17-09-19

Another exceptional Gladwell book.

Talking to strangers is an interesting study of human nature, entertaining, thoughtful, in depth. A great read.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Alex.D
  • 16-09-19

best work yet

same style an insights as hus other books but done better with more up to date topics

2 of 3 people found this review helpful