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

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Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangersand why they often go wrong.

A Best Book of the Year: The Financial Times, Bloomberg, Chicago Tribune, and Detroit Free Press

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to one another that isn’t true?

Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland—throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt.

Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. In his first book since his #1 bestseller David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times.

ISBN-13: 9780316478526

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Little Brown and Company

Publication Date: 09-10-2019

Pages: 400

Product Dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Malcom Gladwell is the author of seven New York Times bestsellers: The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, David and Goliath, Talking to Strangers, and The Bomber Mafia. He is also the cofounder of Pushkin Industries, an audiobook and podcast production company. He was born in England, grew up in rural Ontario, and now lives in New York.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xvii

Introduction: "Step out of the car!" 1

Part 1 Spies and Diplomats Two Puzzles

1 Fidel Castro's Revenge 17

2 Getting to Know der Führer 28

Part 2 Default to Truth

3 The Queen of Cuba 53

4 The Holy Fool 89

5 Case Study: The Boy in the Shower 107

Part 3 Transparency

6 The Friends Fallacy 145

7 A (Short) Explanation of the Amanda Knox Case 168

8 Case Study: The Fraternity Party 187

Part 4 Lessons

9 KSM: What Happens When the Stranger Is Terrorist? 235

Part 5 Coupling

10 Sylvia Plath 265

11 Case Study: The Kansas City Experiments 297

12 Sandra Bland 313

Afterword 347

Acknowledgments 357

Notes 359

Index 390