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Publisher's Summary

"How well we listen determines how we love, learn, and connect with one another, and in this moment when we need to hear and be heard more than ever, this thought-provoking and engaging book shows us how.” (Lori Gottlieb, New York Times best-selling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone)

At work, we’re taught to lead the conversation. 

On social media, we shape our personal narratives. 

At parties, we talk over one another. So do our politicians. 

We’re not listening. 

And no one is listening to us. 

Despite living in a world where technology allows constant digital communication and opportunities to connect, it seems no one is really listening or even knows how. And it’s making us lonelier, more isolated, and less tolerant than ever before. A listener by trade, New York Times contributor Kate Murphy wanted to know how we got here. 

In this always illuminating and often humorous deep dive, Murphy explains why we’re not listening, what it’s doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing us to some of the best listeners out there (including a CIA agent, focus group moderator, bartender, radio producer, and top furniture salesman). Equal parts cultural observation, scientific exploration, and rousing call to action that's full of 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.

©2019 Kate Murphy (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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What listeners say about You're Not Listening

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Very Interesting and Helpful

I loved this book. Conversation so often feels like a competition of one-upmanship with winners and losers - forgetable blah- blah- blah where we talk AT and not TO each other. But this author points out alternatives to conversational narcissism, of which I am too often guilty. I participate in the blah-blah. Yep. But i want to be better. I have have made some beginning steps to avoid poor habits in conversation and try some of the approaches suggested by the author. It takes focus - the implications of that alone are startling. But the rewards thus far have been to sort of push conversation into the pile of the sacred. It feels important. The book could just as easily have been entitled, "An Antidote to Lonliness."

10 people found this helpful

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One of the greatest books I have ever read

I am a counselor in training and can’t express how glad that I am that I purchased this book. I’ve listened to very few books multiple times, but this is one that I will replay again and again. This information is more important than ever as we live through a loneliness epidemic where loneliness is more dangerous for us than smoking.

9 people found this helpful

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A Terrific "listen"

This book was recommended by Adam Grant and well worth the investment in time. it is not tips or tricks for making folks like you because you "listen". It is a lesson as to why it is truly more valuable than speaking. This lesson is as to why you should listen. you can figure out the rest yourselves. Nature has given us but one to guess and two ears so we may listen twice as much as we speak.

6 people found this helpful

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Didn't learn as much as I hoped

The book builds a good case for the value of listening. I didn't find many new practical application of how I might improve my listening skills. The author was pretty liberal with what she labeled as listening. I guess you can get away with that since listening is an internal part of so many aspects of life. Perhaps it is because of unrealistic expectations but the book did not teach me the way that I had hoped.

4 people found this helpful

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a conversation with great content

why listening is important and how it can make people feel. using listening as a tool to improve understanding and move you towards what you want. I'll be reading this again for sure. seems like a book I'll take more away from every time I read.

4 people found this helpful

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Uh, Were you talking?

Really loved the book. Most definitely requires a second "reading " for me. Loads of valuable information.

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Great insights

Clearly written, useful examples. I hope I’ll be able to apply the lessons i’ve learned in this book. As I listen to the book, I think of the people that I most enjoy their company. Most often they do do the things that are described in this book.

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best listening i have ever listened to

i have read and listened to many books, articles, and experts on listening, this is far and above the best compilation, well researched, organized and presented. I have learned so much about myself from this book both where and why i fall short in relationships and suggests to improve, my new favorite!

3 people found this helpful

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Kate Murphy took my ears on a heartfelt journey.

Listening is my lifelong commitment. Kate Murphy is exceptionally gifted at telling its story. I am so grateful for her work.

3 people found this helpful

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Outstanding book we all should read.

Very few books make their case as well as this one. Outstanding. Many applicable suggestions.

2 people found this helpful

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  • belkin
  • 01-30-21

an ode to hearing and listening

So many people who want to be heard. So few of those who are genuinely willing to listen. Genuine listening is a commodity that is in short supply in today’s worĺd. This is why we are ready to pay for the privilege to be heard. We give our money to fraudsters, many times just because they listened to our stories. We give away loads of personal information to social networking sites because they give us the opportunity to be heard. We pay ever more to our psychologists and therapists, because hardly anyone wants to listen to us for free. So if you are a good listener, you can give people the thing they want most in life. We all want respect and the feeling of connection, of belonging. And that’s what being heard is all about. 

I am not a good listener. This is the reason I picked up Kate Murphy’s book in the first place. Apart from arguing for the importance of listening as summarized above, Kate Murphy preaches the good news that basically anyone can become a better listener. So I am full of hope to learn to pay attention, to stop thinking about what I will say next, and to value the opportunity to learn something about the person I am talking to (after all, I already know about myself). And I do hope that from now on I will keep my phone muted and put away, preferably to another room, during family meals.