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When was the last time you listened to someone, or someone really listened to you?
“If you’re like most people, you don’t listen as often or as well as you’d like. There’s no one better qualified than a talented journalist to introduce you to the right mindset and skillset―and this book does it with science and humor.”
-Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take
**Hand picked by Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink for Next Big Ideas Club**
“An essential book for our times.”
-Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
At work, we’re taught to lead the conversation.
On social media, we shape our personal narratives.
At parties, we talk over one another. So do our politicians.
We’re not listening.
And no one is listening to us.
Despite living in a world where technology allows constant digital communication and opportunities to connect, it seems no one is really listening or even knows how. And it’s making us lonelier, more isolated, and less tolerant than ever before. A listener by trade, New York Times contributor Kate Murphy wanted to know how we got here.
In this always illuminating and often humorous deep dive, Murphy explains why we’re not listening, what it’s doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing us to some of the best listeners out there (including a CIA agent, focus group moderator, bartender, radio producer, and top furniture salesman). Equal parts cultural observation, scientific exploration, and rousing call to action that’s full of practical advice, You’re Not Listening is to listening what Susan Cain’s Quiet was to introversion. It’s time to stop talking and start listening.
From the Publisher
New York Times Contributor Kate Murphy Draws Attention to the Worldwide Epidemic of Not Listening
How did you get the idea to write this book?
As a journalist, I listen for a living, and, increasingly, I noticed that people I interviewed seemed surprised, almost taken aback, that I was actually paying attention to what they said. They began telling me profoundly personal things, wholly unrelated to the stories I was writing, as if they’d been long waiting for the opportunity. And these were very successful, well-connected people—not lacking for company, but apparently lacking for listeners. They would always thank me for listening, and also often apologize for unloading. It happened with such regularity, it made me think this was something worth investigating.
What does it mean to be a good listener?
What I found is that rather than being a checklist of dos and don’ts, listening is more a state of mind. It’s about getting yourself in a receptive mode and also developing an awareness of the kinds of things that hijack your attention, cloud your perception, and make you zone out during a conversation. And, just as importantly, listening has to do with how well you respond—the degree to which you are able to encourage and elicit the clear expression of someone else’s thoughts. It’s both an art and a skill.
How do we balance planning what to say next and listening to the person talking?
A better response will come to you when you have taken in all that the other person has to say. Then, pause if you need to after the other person concludes to think about what you want to say. And if you’re still at a loss, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know what to say.” You can also say, “I’d like to think about that,” which conveys that you’re honoring what the other person said by taking time to think about it, while, at the same time, honoring that part of you that is uncertain or anxious and needs time to process. Better that, than responding in a way that is insensitive or misses the point.
Praise for YOU’RE NOT LISTENING