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When Strangers Meet: How People You Don't Know Can Transform You (TED…

de Kio Stark

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344563,518 (3.17)4
Argues for the practice of talking to strangers as a way of widening one's experience of the world, addressing the transformative possibilities as well as the political and practical considerations of engaging with strangers in public.
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3.5 This is a TED book, which means it was originally a TED talk (which I have not seen) and expanded a little. It's cute -- like a gift book with substance. Kio Stark's premise is that talking to strangers is fun and important (oversimplified) and she does have some caveats about safety and appropriateness which I appreciated. While the concept seems simple, it is bolstered by sociology and ethnography and some pretty thorough research. Here's her reasoning in her own words: "When you talk with strangers, you make beautiful and surprising interruptions in the expected narrative of your daily life. You shift perspective. You form momentary, meaningful connections. You find questions whose answers you thought you knew. You reject the ideas that make us so suspicious of each other." (2) In all honesty this book has nudged me to make an effort to talk to people I encounter rather than just smile or nod. It takes a little time and more importantly, purpose. Usually my purpose is to accomplish whatever errand or task I'm doing as quickly as possible with minimal interruptions. Re-thinking that approach. It's been nice to have my eyes opened. She includes a few "expeditions" that would make encounters with strangers even more intentional, (getting 'lost' in a new neighborhood, asking people for directions, saying hello to every single person you encounter on a half hour walk -- presumably in a city bigger than mine). Fun ideas, but think I'll stick with random for now. Would make a good gift for an introvert or a high school grad heading to college. Practical and insightful. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
I was disappointed in this short book. I had read a synopsis of it and it sounded interesting, but, frankly, it really didn't say anything I didn't already know.
The research included was illuminating, but really only served to reinforce ideas and conclusions I had already reached. From smiling and greeting strangers while on a walk, to engaging with strangers while on a subway or bus, to talking to strangers while waiting inlines, everything covered in this book was really not new, and I believe most people could have pretty much come to the same observations and conclusions that are reached in this book. ( )
  Paul-the-well-read | Apr 18, 2020 |
An interesting look at how we see strangers. What is a stranger, really? Someone we don't know at all? Someone who rides the bus with us? Also about how we can brighten our day by talking to others we don't know with a brief hello, nice day, whatever. ( )
  MichelleConnell | Sep 26, 2018 |
In this short book, Kio Stark examines the possibilities that become available to us if we take the time to notice and talk to strangers we encounter as we go about our busy days. I was intrigued by this idea, and by the sub-title, "How People You Don't Know Can Transform You". I was, however, disappointed. The book, in my view, was very light on substance and stated a lot of what, to me, is very obvious. Because this is a TED book, I expected to learn something. Maybe I'm an outlier -- I already talk to strangers regularly -- but I didn't take away and new insights from this book.

ETA: A few days have passed and I've been wondering if the new generation, so tied to their smart phones needs to read this kind of advice. And that makes me sad....are people isolating themselves from their surroundings too much? ( )
  LynnB | Sep 2, 2018 |
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Argues for the practice of talking to strangers as a way of widening one's experience of the world, addressing the transformative possibilities as well as the political and practical considerations of engaging with strangers in public.

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