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  • Writer's pictureNishant Mittal

12th book of 2019: Talking to strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is the reason I got into reading Non fiction. I remember reading The Tipping Point (and then Outliers) and then not turning back to fiction for a long, long time. It was clear that reality could be just as spellbinding, maybe even more at times. Also, you could learn from it. So when I got to know that 'Talking to Strangers' was releasing, I had to come out of my reading hiatus and get to it. Which I did.

The book begins with a violent apprehension of a Black Woman which happened in the US by a police officer. The policeman found her suspicious, the lady got angry, one thing led to another and the lady killed herself in jail three days later. Instead of taking it as a one off incident, Gladwell went on to study how we perceive strangers in general; and what's right (and wrong) about it. From our inability to spot liers, to what happens when we're drunk, to how the society has grossly miscalculated the weight of "transparent facial cues" in judging people - Mr. Gladwell goes on to decode the society in the most fascinating and important ways. As he always does.

The book ended with the thought that society could really benefit from realizing that "we" don't know about strangers as much we think we do. We suck at it. And it'd be better to be careful before labeling someone as a pervert, or a saint. Both judgements could backfire in startling ways.

Educating and entertaining. Thank you, Mr. Gladwell. Wouldn't have missed it anyway. :) .

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