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An alternative book club read, ‘Talking To Strangers’ investigates the darker side of human nature where strangers' motives and actions come to light. Gladwell's persuasive exploration of mis-understanding and human error, referencing some famous case studies, enables us to understand how and why we can and can’t detect lies. Perfect for the armchair psychologist as well plenty of material for book club debate!

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Den scores




345 pages

If you are an armchair psychologist and interested in an alternative book club read, ‘Talking To Strangers’ by Malcolm Gladwell investigates the darker side of human nature where strangers' motives and actions come to light. Renowned for his intelligent and forensic study of human behaviour this makes a timely read as we endeavour to get back to social interaction with friends and colleagues as well meeting and ‘talking with strangers’.

Gladwell seamlessly re-presents a series of famous historical events and unpicks how and why the experts, the authorities and the public were duped. Why couldn’t the CIA detect Fidel Castro’s double agent spy in their midst? Why were the police and the public so convinced that ‘Foxy Knoxy’ was involved in the murder of her room-mate? Was Sylvia Plath's suicide avoidable? More often than not, the case studies are tragic stories, but the author’s exploration of misunderstanding and mis-reading, that were made by human error, is fascinating for the reader and challenges how we approach what we comprehend in behaviours.

As well as the famous case studies Gladwell weaves in classroom experiments and scenarios to prove his points about how we read each other to detect lies. ‘Friends’ fans will enjoy his exploration of the ‘The One when Ross catches Chandler hitting on his sister’. Plus there are plenty of other tales and transcripts from interviews that makes this all the more addictive.

The audio version is also a brilliant way to appreciate Gladwell’s insights especially as it includes the original interviews which add colour and credible insights. Perfect for podcast fans who enjoy listening on the move! And a read that will set your book club debating whether you agree with Gladwell or not.

From the best selling author of 'Outlier', 'Blink' and 'The Tipping Point'.

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