LIZZIE BOOK REVIEW 05: Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Welcome to the Lizzie Book Review for Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell.

All Lizzie Book Reviews are a 3 minute read, and in this format:

  1. Why I Chose This Book.
  2. The Review (under 300 words)
  3. My scores for Creativity, Insight and Precision.
1. Why I Chose This Book.

Two reasons why I was curious to read this book. The first is that being in the people business I was keen to discover further insights. Secondly, with the preface of “Why do we so often get other people wrong? Why is it so hard to detect a lie, read a face or judge a strangers motives?”  and the knowledge that Malcolm Gladwell writing always leaves you thinking. It was a must on the reading list.

QUOTE:  “What strategies used to translate one anothers’ words and intentions”

2. The Review.

Gladwell has pulled together stories that you may know and some you don’t. It is a book based on research, psychology and some legal events. In a world where we rely on our human nature to assume the best in everyone, the book shows how wrong we can be. Stories shared have an impact on national security, wrong person convicted of crime and how we can couple together events that lead to the wrong decisions. Your thoughts, beliefs and assumptions are challenged.

Whether you are a leader or a person in the community, this book will be enlightening. The learnings might make you more aware. However you will need to remind yourself about them to ensure you will use them on an ongoing basis. If you are recruiting, selling, buying or helping someone in the street. This may allow you to think again your approach.

QUOTE: “The thing we want to learn about the stranger is fragile”

3. My scores for Creativity, Insight and Precision.

CREATIVITY – How interesting and innovative was it?
This is an interesting and thought provoking book. Through the collection of live stories that heighten your awareness, send shivers down your spine or take you away from your naive approach to talking to people you don’t know, Gladwell subtly allows you to reflect on your own actions.


INSIGHT – What will it teach you?
We rely too heavily on the fact we assume the best in everyone. On the other hand you cannot make decisions and assumptions through your own perception or personal lens.


PRECISION – How exactly can you apply what it teaches?
Yes this is a book you learn from however it is hard to pull out exact examples. You would need to be very disciplined to ask yourself at the end of each chapter “what have I learnt that I need to apply?” How can apply what I have learnt?”



QUOTE: “Default to truth is a crucially important strategy that occasionally and unavoidably leads us astray”

Should I buy the book?

If you would like a book that gives you a brief background and shows you how:


If you would like a book with stories and long hand examples that you could twist a little to fit your context:


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