Podcast & Book Reviews

March 2, 2022

Book Review | Talking with Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

By Jared Tilley | Senior Investment Analyst at NAOS Asset Management

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York best sellers and in Talking with Strangers, he embarks on a long and detailed exploration of people’s first interactions with a stranger and how often they can go so wrong.

No topic is off limits for Gladwell including Bernard Madoff, Amanda Knox, Friends, even diving into espionage, torture, suicide and pre-war appeasement. The key themes between the topics are teased out as he looks at the social science behind the interaction as the reader is encouraged to examine their own behaviour and thought processes that can derail interactions.

For anyone that wants a deep dive into social interactions and to question their own gullibility and learn how our lapse in judgement is swayed by our expectations, this book is well worth a read.

My favourite quotes from the book include:

  • Doubts are not the enemy of belief, they are its companion.
  • We are bad lie detectors in those situations when the person we’re judging is mismatched.
  • Don’t look at the stranger and jump to conclusions. Look at the stranger’s world.
  • You believe someone not because you have no doubts about them. Belief is not the absence of doubt. You believe someone because you don’t have enough doubts about them.
  • The right way to talk to strangers is with caution and humility.

Link to book 


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