You're Not Listening
What You're Missing & Why It Matters

- Kate Murphy


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).



When was the last time you listened to someone? Really listened, without thinking about what you wanted to say next, glancing down at your phone, or jumping in to offer your opinion? And when was the last time someone really listened to you? Was so attentive to what you were saying and whose response was so spot-on that you felt truly understood?



Done well and with deliberation, listening can transform your understanding of the people and the world around you, which inevitably enriches and elevates your experience and existence. It is how you develop wisdom and form meaningful relationships.

I found this to be an insightful read. I have always struggled to be a good listener for many reasons (mainly anxiety) and it was nice to be reassured that not only is this common, but it is possible to overcome.

Listening can be particularly challenging for introverts because they have so much busyness going on in their own heads that it's hard to make room for additional input. Because they tend to be sensitive, they may also reach saturation sooner. Listening can feel like an onslaught, making it difficult to continue listening, particularly when the speech-thought differential gives their minds occasion to drift.

I enjoyed the vast array of different sources the author pulled from both academic and professional fields. It kept it interesting and applicable to many people. There are anecdotes, theories, interviews, and, most importantly, tips and examples to help you become a better and more attentive listener.

To listen is to be interested, and the result is more interesting conversations. The goal is to leave the exchange having learned something.

I found this book to be full of both theory and application. It flows well from chapter to chapter without becoming too repetitive or pedantic and never feels condescending. I think it would be helpful for anyone who is conscientious about their friendships and relationships and their interactions in the world. I found it timely and applicable on many levels in various interactions and had to stop myself from highlighting and taking notes on almost every page. I think if this were mandatory reading in high school, we would soon find ourselves in a more pleasant and understanding world.

Everybody is interesting if you ask the right questions. If someone is dull or uninteresting, it's on you.


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