This perceptive and rather chatty offering considers the sociological research behind why human beings are so averse to making connections with strangers, and why it’s so important to do so ... Journalist Keohane is a good storyteller and great proponent of engaging with the unknown, extolling the informational, emotional, and psychological benefits of talking to new people ... This authoritative, thoroughly entertaining read comes along just at the right time, and will help readers re-engage after their long quarantines.
Journalist Keohane debuts with a playful account of his 'quest to master talking to strangers.' Enriching his own social experiments (including 'the ultimate taboo of talking to people on mass transit') with the findings of psychologists, sociologists, biologists, and theologians, Keohane unpacks the fear of rejection, notes the importance of eye contact, and details how social interaction promotes happiness ... Keohane lucidly explains the scientific and sociological research and shares practical advice on how to get past small talk ('just a door to a better conversation'), establish commonalities, listen closely, and bring a conversation to an end ... Keohane doesn’t fully acknowledge why members of historically marginalized groups might be less comfortable than a straight, white man with engaging a stranger on the subway. Still, his entertaining and well-informed musings will inspire readers to strike up more conversations.
After a year of quarantine and masks and years of severe political division, journalist Keohane shows us why it’s vital for us to come together ... Reading this book is like taking a college course that becomes a cult favorite because the witty, enthusiastic professor makes the topic seem not only entertaining, but essential ... Possibly life-changing ideas supported with extensive sociological research, lively storytelling, and contagious jollity.