“Who listens to you?” NYT contributor Kate Murphy asked people on five continents this question and the typical response was a long pause. In her new book, You’re Not Listening, Kate shares her two years of research and insight related to listening.
While you may think listening is a straightforward subject, Kate Murphy approaches it from every possible angle. Her book is full of knowledge on why we have the tendency to tune others out and how that’s affecting us on an individual and societal level.
In You’re Not Listening, Kate touches on how distraction, technology, differences in views, biases, and busyness can make us bad listeners. It’s obvious that technology affects the way we talk to and hear one another, but Kate shows us what that means for human connection or lack thereof. She enlightens us on the awful things that happen when we don’t listen and the incredible things that can happen when we do.
“Not listening to one another diminishes what we can achieve. We not only fail one another as individuals, we also fail to thrive as a society.” When we don’t listen to each other, relationships suffer, miscommunications are frequent, knowledge is stagnant, and both boredom and loneliness occur. When we listen, we often end up surprising ourselves with what we hear. We learn about ourselves, strangers, and even those we thought we knew best.
Kate also discusses the importance of listening in order to heighten our intuition. “You can’t be good at detecting intricate cues in conversation if you haven’t listened to a lot of people. The more people you listen to, the more aspects of humanity you will recognize, and the better your gut instinct will be.” Therefore, listening can also serve as a form of protection. When we know what to listen for, we’re more capable of avoiding potentially harmful situations.
You’re Not Listening is the “black mirror” of books. In a world full of distraction, Kate reminds us why listening is vital to humanity. This book is SO important, possibly one of the most influential books of the year. It’s educational, compelling, heartwarming, and life-changing. You’re Not Listening forces you to reevaluate how you listen and are listened to. Personally, I think it should be required reading for everyone high school age and up.
There’s so much to be said about You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy. Kate shares how listening made her a better journalist but also illustrates how listening can make us all better people. By listening closely, we interpret things in ways that we may not have otherwise. We understand and relate in ways that surface listening doesn’t allow. We form better bonds, have more interesting conversations, and feel more alive.
Though it’s hard to listen in a world full of so much noise, You’re Not Listening not only shows you why being a good listener is important, it shows you how to be one.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celadon Books. However, as always, all opinions are 100% my own.*