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  • Talking to Strangers

  • What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know
  • Written by: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (7,014 ratings)

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Talking to Strangers

Written by: Malcolm Gladwell
Narrated by: Malcolm Gladwell
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Publisher's Summary

Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the number-one New York Times best seller Outliers, reinvents the audiobook in this immersive production of Talking to Strangers, a powerful examination of our interactions with people we don’t know.

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 each other that isn't true?

While tackling these questions, Malcolm Gladwell was not solely writing a book for the page. He was also producing for the ear. In the audiobook version of Talking to Strangers, you’ll hear the voices of people he interviewed - scientists, criminologists, military psychologists. Court transcripts are brought to life with re-enactments. You actually hear the contentious arrest of Sandra Bland by the side of the road in Texas. As Gladwell revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, and the suicide of Sylvia Plath, you hear directly from many of the players in these real-life tragedies. There’s even a theme song - Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout”.

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.

The audiobook edition of Talking to Strangers was an instant number-one best seller, and was one of the most pre-ordered audiobooks in history. It seamlessly marries audiobooks and podcasts, creating a completely new and real listening experience.

©2019 Malcolm Gladwell (P)2019 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"Malcolm Gladwell is a fabulous narrator of his latest book... His pleasing tone, phrasing palette, and exceptional skill with dramatic pauses all sound natural, yet add sparkling energy to his writing." (AudioFile Magazine)

"Talking to Strangers is a must-read...I love this book.... Reading it will actually change not just how you see strangers, but how you look at yourself, the news - the world.... Reading this book changed me." (Oprah Winfrey, O, The Oprah Magazine)

"Gladwell has again delivered a compelling, conversation-starting read.... At a time when the world feels intractably polarized, a book examining the varying ways we misinterpret or fail to communicate with one another could not feel more necessary.... With a mix of reporting, research and a deft narrative hand, Gladwell illuminates these examples with the page-turning urgency of a paperback thriller." (Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times)



Our favourite moments from Talking to Strangers

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About the Creator and Performer

Malcolm Gladwell is a Canadian journalist, author, and podcaster. He is the host of the podcasts Revisionist History and Broken Record and co-founder of the audio production company Pushkin Industries. For his sixth audiobook, the #1 New York Times audio best-seller Talking to Strangers, he drew on real-life audio–including archival footage and clips from his own interviews—to incorporate the production techniques of a podcast into the audiobook format. It has been praised by Audible listeners as "a new era in audiobooks…and maybe in relating to others." He has also written and narrated The Tipping Point (2000); Blink (2005); Outliers (2008); and David and Goliath (2013), all of which are New York Times best-sellers. Gladwell’s books and articles often deal with the unexpected implications of research in the social sciences, particularly sociology, psychology, and social psychology. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2011 and has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. He lives in New York.

Photographed by Celeste Sloman

Editorial Review

In his Audible audiobook Talking to Strangers, best-selling writer Malcolm Gladwell turns his keen eye on our relationship with strangers. Why do we so often fail to communicate? Why are we so bad at detecting when someone is deceiving us? Why did people trust Bernie Madoff with their money?

Narrated by Malcolm Gladwell himself, the Audible audiobook edition of Talking to Strangers draws on a cast of characters to create an immersive listening experience. Gladwell, who grew up in Ontario and is half Jamaican, is gifted with a clear and precise tone and dramatic pacing. You’ll revisit infamous deceptions, such as Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, and hear the voices of many of the players in real-life tragedies riddled with misunderstandings, such as the trial of Amanda Knox. There are interviews with scientists, criminologists, and psychologists as well as reenactments of court transcripts. The audio footage of Sandra Bland’s contentious arrest for failing to signal at an intersection in Texas is a visceral example of an exchange gone wrong. The protest song “Hell You Talmbout” by singer Janelle Monae is aptly used as the soundtrack.

Inspired by the number of high profile cases in the news about what he thought of as “strangers misunderstanding each other”, Gladwell challenges our false assumptions when encountering people we don’t know and how these can have dangerous repercussions not only for us but society at large.

Talking to Strangers is Malcolm Gladwell’s sixth title. It was one of the bestselling Canadian titles in 2019 and its Audible audiobook edition is one of the most pre-ordered in history. In addition to finding success on both sides of the border, it won a 2019 AudioFile Magazine Earphone Award. Gladwell is also the host of the popular podcast, Revisionist History.

" The extra effects in this book go a long way: from the use of music and sound effects, to the recreation of conversations with actors, Gladwell was able to bring to life his subject matter in a way that never fails to engage."

Sean M., Audible Listener

What listeners say about Talking to Strangers

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Very interesting, well researched and compelling

The research behind the stories is interesting. Gladwell really opens your eyes to the differences between people and their experiences.
I'll probably have to listen again!

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Great Book with a Different Angle

Although I loved the audiobook, I can understand why people have given mixed reviews.

Don't expect to learn an enormous amount of learning the various intricacies and nuances associated with talking to strangers, however, take what you can from the fascinating case studies which are detailed to perfection by Mr. Gladwell. The music and different voices I really enjoyed.

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Interesting, grest real life examples

its a good book to understand the concept of communication with strangers. it slowly but steadily goes into making us realise that the way we communicate definitly needs to change.

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Awesome literature and research

Very well story telling, examples, cases and rationales. We all have underlying biases, but what are implicit and explicit are very different and this booked showed me another dimension of it.

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great approach to an audio book

The mixture of actual footage and voices is a great way to tell the story. Glafwell is always meticulous with research and I learn something new all the time. Worth the read!

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such interesting concepts.

such a good job explaining in-depth concepts where he relates them to real life scenarios.

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Another great thought provoking piece

As with all of his books and podcasts I am again in awe of the world around me and will look at things a little bit differently

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Strangers...

Sets a new bar in terms of audio book performances. give it a listen. There is content, research and parallels drawn that make you pause and think how well this was crafted.

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Great audio book. I always enjoy Malcolm's work.

Don't miss another great book by Malcolm himself.

I have read some of his other works, and this is as good if not better!

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The best book of the last 10 years

If this book doesn't give you a golf ball in your throat by the end, you're not human.

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