If you have been following along with my monthly reading list selections, you will know what an admirer I am of Malcolm Gladwell. When I put together the professional reading list for the Naval Special Warfare Center before leaving the SEAL Teams, all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books were on that list. His 2019 bestseller Talking to Strangers would most certainly have been on that professional reading list as well had it been published back then. What, you may ask, does a Galdwellian intellectual journey have to do with special operations? In short: everything.
Malcolm Gladwell is the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, David and Goliath, Talking to Strangers, and The Bomber Mafia. He is the host of Revisionist History, a podcast now in its sixth season. I have not missed an episode since it debuted in 2016. If you are not listening to it, subscribe today.
Talking to Strangers is a book I first read as a physical copy and then listened to in its audiobook format. The audiobook is not an audiobook as you may now be accustomed. It is more of a combination audiobook and podcast, much like Malcolm Gladwell’s latest, The Bomber Mafia, which I found makes for a richer, fuller listening experience.
Talking to Strangers was first published in September 2019. Less than a year later the country would be hit with COVID-19, civil unrest, and the most contentious election cycle in recent history, all of which we are still dealing with today. We would be a more polite, respectful, and thoughtful country if we all took a breath, put down our devices and spent time with Malcolm Gladwell in the pages of Talking to Strangers.