How to get a good reputation—deserved or not!—and why we care what other people think.
Why does a fish only bite another fish if no one else is watching? Why do people overshare online? Why do some people meet trivial insults with extreme violence? Why do so many gods have multiple eyes? In People Will Talk, science writer John Whitfield shows how reputation helps answer all of these questions, and more.
What is the secret to getting a good reputation? Unfortunately, there's more to reputation than being a good person or being good at what you do. Your reputation belongs to other people, and it's created by what they say about you behind your back. You have a good reputation only if you have a strong social network—a large and close-knit network of friends, family, and allies—to spread good news about you and shout down ugly rumors. If you’ve ever wondered why we care about the lives of celebrities, why young men publicly upload to the Internet pictures of themselves engaged in drunken or dangerous antics, how to make the "honor system" a little more widely honored, how to keep politicians honest, or what keeps gossip going, reputation will give you a clue.
Almost from the moment we are born, we are trying to work out whom we can trust and trying to make others think the best of us. We carry on doing so throughout life, even when we don't realize it, every time we meet another person in business, friendship, or romance; every time we read celebrity gossip; and every time we tweak our Facebook profiles.
Whether you’re buying a car or selling one, looking for a job or hiring, asking someone out on a date or deciding whether to accept the invitation, reputation matters. Listen to People Will Talk and discover how to polish your own reputation, understand what you hear about others, and make the most of both.
I think this book deserves a poor reputation! While it starts off with an interesting premise, it devolves into a boing compendium of obscure research results. It just lists one study after another, what was studied and what was found, and then somehow this is supposed to reveal the complexities of "reputation." One study is on macaws, another on 16 months old children, another about apes, etc. I'm not even sure how the behavior of macaws (without language) reveals much about human behavior (using language, esp. as in "people will talk."). If you understand research studies, they are usually very specific, small sampled, artificial lab conditions with undergraduate college students, which are then miraculously transformed into "deep" generalizations about the entire human race.
"People Will Talk" is all trees no forest. Skip it.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Very thoughtful, thoroughly written, describes all aspects of the reputation subject. Worth reading or listening!
this book as it says literally about the science side of the story. I thought it was going to cover the business aspect of reputation.
I'm not saying I didn't learn anything I just think this book is for researchers more than the average reader.
Would you consider the audio edition of People Will Talk to be better than the print version?
I really enjoyed this book, but I'm biased because I'm an evolutionary psychologist. It was very dense with information about experiments and didn't, as other readers have said, weave them together into a cohesive or particularly gripping narrative. But this is nonfiction! If you're looking for narrative, go read the hunger games. If you're looking for fascinating, evidence-based information about human nature, this book is for you.
What does Brian Sutherland bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
He wasn't the best narrator in the world, but he wasn't bad.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful