A PERSONAL CHALLENGE UPDATE AND A REVIEW: Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell

I started this book years ago, but for some reason, it didn’t catch my interest right away as did Blink or The Tipping Point. Whatever the reason, I gave up on it at that time. Recently it turned up in a box of donations for my LFLs and the possible bookstore. Because I had enjoyed Gladwell in the past, I gave it a second try, and voila! it “took.”

Not my favorite Gladwell offering, but a good non-fiction book

Subtitled “What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know,” this 2019 publication poses the question, “Why do our interactions with strangers so often go wrong?” As usual, Gladwell uses anecdotes and examples from current events, this time, the Sandra Bland case, Hitler’s ability to make people think he was a good guy and to hide his agenda to take over the world from them, how the US was fooled by double spies during the Cold War, how Bernie Madoff was able to fool so many people, and more. Interestingly enough, Gladwell pulls off a skillful writing technique of weaving unequal, seemingly unconnected events and things to get his point across: x happened because we failed to communicate with people we did not know, and thus, were fooled–often to dire results and consequences.

It is an interesting book, well-written, and even though the current events used for examples are now out of date, it gives the reader a cautionary warning that can be heeded in the present.

“Because we do not 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.

I had hoped to read 22 Non-fiction books in 2022. Strangers is number 21.


Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

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