Talking to Strangers x Malcolm Gladwell

I’ve always had at least one of Gladwell’s books on my “to-read” list, and this year I finally read his latest, Talking to Strangers: What we should know about the people we don’t know.

I am constantly reading books that I think have the ability to share a new perspective or to change how I view my world, and this book did just that. 

Gladwell poses the question, “Why do our interactions with strangers so often go wrong?” and suggests the tools we use to make sense of people are wrong and will inevitably lead to deception of some sort. Personally, I’ve always been interested in human psychology and the why behind what people do and why they do it, (you know this)! This book provided me with great insight about our troubled world and has changed my view of the world, which is one of the reasons why I read the books that I do. 

Each chapter he reviews in depth a specific case of deception. Controversial cases such as the trial of Amanda Knox, the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the Kappa Alpha Fraternity Party at Stanford, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the death of Sandra Bland and more. I mean, I knew about most of these cases, but honestly, just at the surface level. It was an interesting perspective on my psychological theories.

Within these chapters he discusses how our automatic response as humans is a default to truth. And he’s absolutely right. He says “to assume the best about another is the trait that has created modern society.” We might have doubts about some people, but unless there’s too many red flags to count, we’ll continue to believe the best about people. 

Again, I bring these reviews to you because if something has provided me with such insight and value it’s bound to have the same effect for others. This book has left me with more questions than when I started, so in turn, I will leave you with this: 

“Because we do not know how to talk to strangers, what do we do when things go awry with strangers? We blame the stranger.”

This book is seriously a GenZiz #MustRead and I’d love to discuss the psychology of it all when you all read it! Always feel free to start discussion by commenting on this post, or following me on @generationziz on Instagram and Facebook. 

-Ziz <3

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