Posted 20 hours ago

Let's Talk: How to Have Better Conversations

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I read this at the same time as Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers and despite the books being on a similar topic/approach, this is hands down the better of the two. For other, more casual conversations, it’s the desire to actively listen rather than wait to respond.

The beginning of the book, with its history of how societies perceived conversation, was interesting enough to me to raise this to a 3* review. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a US Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes. Annoyingly, I couldn't finish it as I couldn't renew the library copy - three people in line behind me to read it! When I first heard him interviewing someone, I genuinely thought he had forgotten his train of thought, the pauses and space between the interviewees conversation and his was something I’d never heard on radio before. For those who aren’t aware, Nihal Arthanayake is a Radio DJ for BBC Radio 5 Live and the host of the Headliners podcast.I found it really interesting in a number of ways, not least because it made me review my own conversations. If the tag line had been something like " stories from my life as a radio host," it wouldn't have felt like such a letdown. He currently presents a daily daytime show on BBC 5 Live, and his unique interviewing style was recently recognised at the BBC Radio and Music Awards where he won Interview of the Year.

Let's Talk blends Nihal's experiences as an acclaimed interviewer with expert opinion on the secrets and psychology behind successful communication. Very good talking heads (Sutherland, Syed, Hari, Rick Haythornthwaite) and the familiar style where the reader is led by the hand. Now he wants to understand how he developed his skills, what it exactly means to have a 'great conversation' and, most importantly, how he can teach us to have better interactions in our everyday lives. Sir Michael Caine knows a thing or two about gangs: whether that’s joining one as a kid, or playing them in movies for over 50 years.A self-declared passion project which reminds a great radio presenter and his audience that we have two ears, should be curious and find common ground with enemies. Part how-to and part manifesto, Let’s Talk is Nihal’s accessible, anecdotal and invigorating toolkit to having better conversations with anyone, any time. There's a reason We Are Legion was named Audible's Best Science Fiction Book of 2016: Its irresistibly irreverent wit! Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. The book has signposted me to some really interesting new media to check out though with some great examples of interesting conversationalists, so it’s worth a read on that aspect!

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