Note – I received a copy of this book from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About We Need to Talk

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Harper Wave (September 19, 2017)

WE NEED TO TALK.

In this urgent and insightful book, public radio journalist Celeste Headlee shows us how to bridge what divides us–by having real conversations

BASED ON THE TED TALK WITH OVER 10 MILLION VIEWS

We Need to Talk is an important read for a conversationally-challenged, disconnected age. Headlee is a talented, honest storyteller, and her advice has helped me become a better spouse, friend, and mother. (Jessica Lahey, author of†New York Times bestseller The Gift of Failure)

Today most of us communicate from behind electronic screens, and studies show that Americans feel less connected and more divided than ever before. The blame for some of this disconnect can be attributed to our political landscape, but the erosion of our conversational skills as a society lies with us as individuals.

And the only way forward, says Headlee, is to start talking to each other. In We Need to Talk, she outlines the strategies that have made her a better conversationalist–and offers simple tools that can improve anyone’s communication. For example:

  • BE THERE OR GO ELSEWHERE. Human beings are incapable of multitasking, and this is especially true of tasks that involve language. Think you can type up a few emails while on a business call, or hold a conversation with your child while texting your spouse? Think again.
  • CHECK YOUR BIAS. The belief that your intelligence protects you from erroneous assumptions can end up making you more vulnerable to them. We all have blind spots that affect the way we view others. Check your bias before you judge someone else.
  • HIDE YOUR PHONE. Don’t just put down your phone, put it away. New research suggests that the mere presence of a cell phone can negatively impact the quality of a conversation.

Whether you’re struggling to communicate with your kid’s teacher at school, an employee at work, or the people you love the most–Headlee offers smart strategies that can help us all have conversations that matter.

My Thoughts

As soon as I read the synopsis of this book I knew I had to read it. How we communicate has been on my mind for awhile, which to some might sound obvious: I work in communications. But beyond that, I’ve been thinking about how we, as a society, communicate with each other and how we seem to be losing the art of communication. I’ve noticed that so often we just talk and call that a conversation, but we’re missing a vital piece: actually listening to others.

I really enjoyed reading this. Headlee covered the common obstacles we face in communicating with others–and most of them are obstacles that WE put in our own path. I appreciated that when illustrating each point, she used examples from her life. She’s open about the fact that she hasn’t perfected the art of conversation (has anyone?!), but she learns from her experiences and continues to work on it.

My recurring thought as I read this was, “Everyone needs to read this book!” Now, more than ever, I think we need to focus on how we can communicate with others and how we can have real conversations. And this book is a practical and informative tool to help everyone do just that. (Bonus: it’s a quick read. It totally drew me in and it didn’t bog me down as I read through.)

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee is the host of the daily news show On Second Thought on Georgia Public Broadcasting. She has spent more than a decade with National Public Radio and has been a host for Public Radio International since 2008. Celeste has appeared on CNN, the BBC, PBS, and MSNBC. She’s also a classically trained soprano who doesn’t get enough time to sing anymore. She has one son and one rescue dog, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Find out more about Celeste at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.