Books: Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

I finished “Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know” by Malcolm Gladwell a few days ago.

I’ve always appreciated Gladwell’s approach to storytelling. The audio version of this book was done especially well because it is not only read by the author, it includes other actors and where possible, the subjects of the stories themselves. There are sound effects and music that serve to enhance the experience, not distract from it.

In the book Gladwell shares several perspectives drawn from history and current events. The stories themselves are complex, often difficult, and illustrate his broader point through example:

“The right way to talk to strangers is with caution and humility.” – Malcolm Gladwell, Talking to Strangers

We tend to assume that we understand strangers, their intentions, their motives, and their beliefs. But we are often wrong, and especially when we assume that their purposes are misaligned with our own this can lead to mistakes or oversights that have substantial, even deadly, consequences.

But we can’t give up on trust in the process.

“To assume the best about another is the trait that has created modern society. Those occasions when our trusting nature gets violated are tragic. But the alternative – to abandon trust as a defense against predation and deception – is worse.” – Malcolm Gladwell, Talking to Strangers

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