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Publisher's Summary

National Best Seller

An award-winning psychologist reveals the hidden power of our inner voice and shows how to harness it to combat anxiety, improve physical and mental health, and deepen our relationships with others.

Longlisted for the Porchlight Business Book Award

“A masterpiece.” (Angela Duckworth, bestselling author of Grit • Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Adam Grant, and Daniel H. Pink’s Next Big Idea Club Winter 2021 Winning Selection)

One of the best new books of the year - The Washington Post, BBC, USA Today, CNN Underscored, Shape, Behavioral Scientist, PopSugarKirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Shelf Awareness starred reviews

Tell a stranger that you talk to yourself, and you’re likely to get written off as eccentric. But the truth is that we all have a voice in our head. When we talk to ourselves, we often hope to tap into our inner coach but find our inner critic instead. When we’re facing a tough task, our inner coach can buoy us up: Focus - you can do this. But, just as often, our inner critic sinks us entirely: I’m going to fail. They’ll all laugh at me. What’s the use?

In Chatter, acclaimed psychologist Ethan Kross explores the silent conversations we have with ourselves. Interweaving groundbreaking behavioral and brain research from his own lab with real-world case studies - from a pitcher who forgets how to pitch, to a Harvard undergrad negotiating her double life as a spy - Kross explains how these conversations shape our lives, work, and relationships. He warns that giving in to negative and disorienting self-talk - what he calls “chatter” - can tank our health, sink our moods, strain our social connections, and cause us to fold under pressure.

But the good news is that we’re already equipped with the tools we need to make our inner voice work in our favor. These tools are often hidden in plain sight - in the words we use to think about ourselves, the technologies we embrace, the diaries we keep in our drawers, the conversations we have with our loved ones, and the cultures we create in our schools and workplaces.

Brilliantly argued, expertly researched, and filled with compelling stories, Chatter gives us the power to change the most important conversation we have each day: the one we have with ourselves.

©2021 Ethan Kross (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“There’s something deeply mysterious, even awesome, about our inner voice, the means by which we make ourselves aware of who we are and what we think. Kross has good ideas about how to manage and control this voice.” (The New Yorker)

“Are there right and wrong ways to communicate with yourself, and if so, are there techniques that might usefully be employed by those with inner voices that are just a little too loud?... Kross has found answers to some, if not all, of these questions.... [Chatter] could hardly be published at a more opportune moment.” (The Guardian

“This compelling collection of stories examines the power that we have to harness our positive and negative thoughts through the conversations we have with ourselves in silent and the incredible that’s already within us to embrace our highest self.” (CNN) 

What listeners say about Chatter

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  • Overall
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Well-researched and to the point

“Chatter” is a brief yet in-depth look at how the ways by which we talk to ourselves affect our mental and emotional states. Its core message is this: mental chatter, which is fueled by a variety of different internal and external factors, is a massive source of physical and emotional pain in our society.

When that chatter gets out of hand, we experience stress, anxiety, doubt, and even depression. Thus, Kross’s goal here is to break down the ways by which we cause our chatter to amplify and provide a plethora of tools we can leverage to quiet that destructive voice in our heads.

One of my favorite of those tools is the idea of stepping back from the situation at hand and seeing it from a more distant perspective. As Kross says, we can do this in a multitude of ways. For example, we ask ourselves if the event in front of us will even matter in x number of years. Or, we can talk to ourselves in the second person, calling ourselves by name and, thus, providing an “outsider’s” perspective on the situation at hand.

There are many other great stress-reducing strategies that Kross brings to light here as well. All of those strategies are well-researched and strongly reinforced by references to scientific studies — some of which Kross conducted on his own (or with the help of his team).

One of the best parts about this book is that all of the above information is covered in a relatively quick fashion. Clocking in around six hours in audiobook format, this one provides lots of useful info without dragging things on for longer than needed.

For all of those reasons, I recommend checking this one out.

-Brian Sachetta
Author of “Get Out of Your Head”

15 people found this helpful

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Chatter is Great

I found chatter to be in someways similar to the wonderful book: Why we sleep by Matthew Walker. Similar to Why we sleep, Chatter is greatly researched, clearly articulated, And most importantly, it highlights a variety of very illuminating solutions that show what works and doesn’t work to clear the mind.

The performance is OK. The story is very even keeled ..staying away from hyperbole.

I love the parts about placebo, greenery, Perspective, and just all the very tactical solutions that are recommended. I’m going to read it again.

14 people found this helpful

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Easy read for powerful change

I religiously follow BJ Fogg do when he recommended this book I was in. I found it to be remarkable and especially helpful in coaching people with addiction who struggle with excessive chatter. Thanks 👍👊 A+ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

14 people found this helpful

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Great book

I really enjoyed this book. Not only were there great ideas and suggestions but it was clear, descriptive and well written. He summarizes his “toolbox” of ideas at end which was very helpful.

10 people found this helpful

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Why is this book written only now?

Makes so much sense. Extremely helpful. The book puts together bits of ideas from others but more importantly, Ethan stitches hem together and injects his own experiences, analysis, and findings and lays it out to us in an elegant discussion.

8 people found this helpful

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life changing

compact book, evidence-based, real, and practical. i will start putting into practice these strategies!

6 people found this helpful

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A must read for everyone!

I loved this and think it is applicable for everyone. I find myself constantly referring to this book in my conversations with others, because I have learned a great deal from it.

4 people found this helpful

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Horrible narration

This sounds like watching paint dry. So monotone it is painful. Topic is interesting narration kills it.

3 people found this helpful

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Flashbacks of lectures of entitled professors

Disappointing. Limited information of a few ideas and seemed like an expansion of an undergrad class lecture or a light academic article. When finished, I was like "that's it"? Overall, I thought it was shallow coverage of the why's of mind chatter and how's to orient oneself in a healthy direction.

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  • DT
  • 04-09-21

Helpful insights

This book was both educational and helpful!
Understanding how our ‘head chatter’ is not only normal but has a purpose was helpful context. The tools are the reason I was drawn to this book and hoping I can make good use of these for myself and also potentially to help others.

2 people found this helpful