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Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know

av Malcolm Gladwell

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,2605610,958 (3.8)31
In this thoughtful treatise spurred by the 2015 death of African-American academic Sandra Bland in jail after a traffic stop, New Yorker writer Gladwell (The Tipping Point) aims to figure out the strategies people use to assess strangers-to "analyze, critique them, figure out where they came from, figure out how to fix them," in other words: to understand how to balance trust and safety. He uses a variety of examples from history and recent headlines to illustrate that people size up the motivations, emotions, and trustworthiness of those they don't know both wrongly and with misplaced confidence.… (mer)

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I would definitely obtain the enhanced audiobook. It's read by Gladwell with the original audio inserted (or actors reading lines) where needed. Really raises up the argument he presents and makes it stick in your mind. ( )
  drwilko | Nov 17, 2020 |
Using a collection of true stories, Gladwell illustrates how we think we know what the person we are talking to is really thinking or meaning by their words or demeanor. Using the examples of Chamberlain misreading Hitler, investigators interviewing Bernie Madoff and believing his explanations, the Italian justice system's mistreatment of Amanda Knox, the Jerry Sandusky pedophile case, the suicide of Sylvia Plath and the death of Sandra Bland to illustrate how this happens. Fascinating to read and the amount of research he has done to illustrate each situation is amazing. Up to his usual standards. ( )
  lamour | Nov 10, 2020 |
Not Gladwell's best, but good writing. ( )
  sberson | Oct 12, 2020 |
One of Gladwell's best! Talking to Strangers has become even more relevant in 2020, the year of COVID, where the book's central topic, how to understand strangers, and police violence are once again at the forefront of the national conversation. Gladwell even devotes an entire section to the police training programs, and their subsequent disincentives, which eventually led to the explosive clashes with the police in 2020. The casual reader might be shocked to learn that police forces across the country have been trained to target suspicious activity in high-crime areas. In other words, police are trying to catch criminals before they commit wrongdoings. This has been shown to significantly reduce crime, which is what the public wants, but there are risks to this approach. The casual reader might have missed the warning embedded near the end where those who set up the program cautioned against deploying these tactics too broadly because then you run the risk of souring public relations without actually reducing crime at all. It was always a fine line to walk, and as 2020 has shown it's gotten out of hand.

The section on the police and crime reduction is only a piece of the larger puzzle when it comes to strangers. A powerful and often mentioned phrase is one defined early on, called "default to truth." It's the tendency to misread people who are ill-intentioned because the majority of us aren't predisposed to behave that way, and, this is perhaps the most important part, we don't want to believe in an evil world. I'm certainly guilty of defaulting to truth. I would like to believe I can successfully read someone's character by interacting with them in person, but the evidences suggest my biases would work against me. Even more disconcerting, it might be impossible to remove the bias entirely. As with the examples of the judges handing down bail rulings, programing an algorithm to review only the criminal record and comparing that with a judge who has access to the same criminal record AND meets the offender face-to-face, the algorithm outperformed the human the majority of the time.

Bonus recommendation: Listen to the audiobook if you can. Gladwell himself is the reader and his intent was to give "Talking To Strangers" the feel of a podcast. In some cases, there are actual recordings and in other cases, where recordings don't exist, voice actors are employed which give it an oral history feel. Gladwell 100% nails it with this production. ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Sep 30, 2020 |
I appreciate Gladwell's story-telling prowess. He finds interesting events and tells them with a unique perspective, including different sides and backstories that you may not have heard in the popular news. His leaps in logic though are often frustrating.

As an example, he walks through a very interesting take on academic studies done in Kansas City around crime, then explains how that study was taken out of context, applied to a setting that didn't reflect the original study parameters, and then leaps to saying the problem is people don't communicate with each other. I don't understand how he got there. Academic studies are rarely applied correctly. The real communication issues are between academics and the people they purport to educate with their research. Applying controlled research with no understanding of the key attributes of the study guarantees misapplication on a grand and often damaging scale.

I still recommend reading this one. The story telling is too good to miss, the points raised are raised in a way that creates friction, thought, and argument, a worthy end to any academic pursuit. But please, form your own opinions and recognize that Gladwell's opinions are just opinion. While he includes real-life stories and a thorough and interesting bibliography, this is not research. It is a long-form opinion essay. ( )
  out-and-about | Sep 12, 2020 |
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Gladwell, Malcolmprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Gladwell, MalcolmBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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For Graham Gladwell, 1934-2017
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In July 2015, a young African American woman named Sandra Bland drove from her hometown of Chicago to a little town an hour west of Houston, Texas.
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We start by believing. And we stop believing only when our doubts and misgivings rise to the point where we can no longer explain them away.
"Trying to get information out of someone you are sleep-depriving is sort of like trying to get a better signal out of a radio that you are smashing with a sledgehammer...."
In his book Why Torture Doesn't Work, neuroscientist Shane O'Mara writes that extended sleep deprivation "might induce some form of surface compliance"—but only at the cost of "long-term structural remodeling of the brain systems that support the very functions that the interrogator wishes to have access to."
And of every occupational category, poets have far and away the highest suicide rates—as much as five times higher than the general population.
Sherman crunched the numbers and found something that seemed hard to believe: 3.3 percent of the street segments in the city accounted for more than 50 percent of the police calls.
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In this thoughtful treatise spurred by the 2015 death of African-American academic Sandra Bland in jail after a traffic stop, New Yorker writer Gladwell (The Tipping Point) aims to figure out the strategies people use to assess strangers-to "analyze, critique them, figure out where they came from, figure out how to fix them," in other words: to understand how to balance trust and safety. He uses a variety of examples from history and recent headlines to illustrate that people size up the motivations, emotions, and trustworthiness of those they don't know both wrongly and with misplaced confidence.

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