Talking to Strangers is a weird book. It’s a book about… Well, horses on farms (joke). As is Malcolm Gladwell’s modus operandi, the book relies heavily on anecdotal evidence, slightly on obscure and vague studies, and draws fairly obvious conclusions from court cases and police work that feed into true crime TV shows. It even draws inspiration from Chamberlain’s meeting with Hitler to drive home the point that talking to strangers is hard. And as it meanders on for roughly 6 hours, one can’t help but wonder if this book could have been a blog post. Or even a tweet. Gladwell’s style is exhausting, to the point where the reader is forced to question its existence. Racism, police brutality, espionage, diplomacy, famous court cases, and dead poets? To drive home the following:
1. Talking to strangers is hard.
2. We default to truth when talking to strangers, i.e we assume that strangers are honest.
3. We distrust people who don’t conform to what we think truth should look like.
4. Understanding a stranger requires us to put their actions in a context.
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