Today, we are more connected to each other than ever before. Cell phones keep us in constant contact with family, friends, and coworkers, the internet immediately links us to people halfway around the world, and social media gives us what feels like an intimate window into millions of lives. But if we're so connected, then why do more people than ever feel alone, why are suicide rates at an all time high, and why has political compromise and even conversation across the aisle become something out of a bygone era?
To Kate Murphy, who has reported on this subject deeply for years, the answer is clear: we have stopped listening to each other. And even worse, most of us don't know how to properly listen any more. For instance, did you know that, during a conversation, 55% of emotional meaning is transmitted nonverbally through body language and 20% of comprehension comes from lip reading? So by texting and emailing, a staggering 75% of meaning is getting lost.
In this always eye-opening and often humorous deep-dive, Murphy shows why we stopped listening, how we can re-learn to do so, and why it's more important than ever that we begin to listen to each other again. From looking at how children are taught (or not!) to listen in school and at home, to hearing from some of the best listeners out there (hostage negotiators! Focus group facilitators! Furniture salesmen?). From exploring what we can learn about listening from an improv class at Second City and Japanese businessmen, to looking at the impact that a cell phone on the dinner table has on a first date, Kate Murphy takes us on a cross-country journalistic exploration to discover the pervasiveness of this non-listening epidemic and the positive impact that re-committing to listening will have on all our lives.
Equal parts brilliantly-researched expose, rousing call to action, and practical advice, YOU'RE NOT LISTENING is to listening what Susan Cain's Quiet was to introversion. It's time to stop talking and start listening.