Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, “Talking to Strangers” is a book about reading people and trust. It is a book about gauging someone you don’t know and how to discern if they are telling the truth. Gladwell weaves the stories of some of the top new stories of the past decade and before to explain his concepts. He starts with Sandra Bland, an African-American who was pulled over by a police officer for not signaling when changing lanes. She then resisted the officer, reacting with indignation for getting pulled over, who then forcibly arrests her. Three days later she is found dead as she hung herself in jail.
Other news stories include: the case of Amanda Knox, Jerry Sandusky, Bernie Madoff, even Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler. These stories are about reading people and the human brain’s “default to truth” mode that we assume everyone is telling us the truth until the evidence otherwise turns the tide to mistrust.
Another concept covered is when someone’s behavior is “mismatched” to the circumstance. These incongruent personality anomalies make our brain doubt what we hear people our eyes don’t “see” it. These actually lead to us placing blame on innocent people.
The final concept discussed in his book was “coupling.” That certain activities are tied inherently to locations, methods, etc. that would be avoided if the thing it is tied to is curtailed.
This book was a very fascinating read on how we see and perceive the world around us. It gives new insights about what we may or may not be perceiving in others and that we need to look more closely in some cases before declaring judgment on someone without all of the information, especially a complete stranger.
I received this as an eBook from Little, Brown and Company via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of the title. I did not receive any compensation from either company. The opinions expressed herein are completely my own.