Ever get the feeling that in this #lookatme world, where most people seem to have at least one mobile phone, two email addresses and three social media accounts, everyone is shouting from the rooftops but no one is listening? Even worse, according to author Kate Murphy, our unfettered access to digital communications means that not only are we not listening to each other – we've actually forgotten how.
In this illuminating and often funny book, Kate explains what not listening is doing to us and how, done well, the art of closing our mouths and opening our ears will help us develop wisdom and form meaningful relationships.
During her research, Kate interviewed a swag of people whose jobs require intensive listening, from spies, psychotherapists, priests, bartenders, hostage negotiators and hairdressers, to air traffic controllers and focus group moderators.
Psychology and sociology researchers, she discovered, have begun warning that people get lonely from lack of listening and that an epidemic of loneliness is already upon us.
"In our fast-paced and frenetic culture, listening is seen as a drag," explains Kate. "Conversations unfold slowly and listening takes effort. Understanding and intimacy must be earned."
Kate draws a distinction between being a good listener and the practice of simply biding your time until you find an opportunity to steer the conversation back to yourself – and she points out that one of the greatest obstacles to listening is the assumption that we know what someone is going to say. This is a book with the power to change lives and build relationships.
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