What We Are Reading Today: Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Updated 14 September 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

In Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell investigates what goes wrong when we interact with people we don’t know, using dramatic scenarios ripped from the headlines, history, psychology, and criminology.

“No one shows us who we are like Gladwell. Here he sets out to understand why we act the way we do, and how we all might know a little more about those we don’t,” said a review in goodreads.com.

Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers: The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath.

The new book likely to be his most controversial yet, both in terms of his chosen subject matter and the examples he uses to illustrate his points. 

“Summarizing the lessons to be learned from the diverse tales in his book, Gladwell’s main conclusions are that it would be disastrous if we stopped trusting people, that we should ‘accept the limits of our ability to decipher strangers,’ and that it behooves us to be thoughtful, humble and mindful of context when trying to understand people’s actions,” Anthony Gottlieb said in a review for The New York Times.


What We Are Reading Today: The Angel and the Assassin by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Updated 18 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Angel and the Assassin by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

A thrilling story of scientific detective work and medical potential that illuminates the newly understood role of microglia — an elusive type of brain cell that is vitally relevant to our everyday lives, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

Until recently, microglia were thought to be merely the brain’s housekeepers, helpfully removing damaged cells. But a recent groundbreaking discovery revealed them to be capable of terrifying Jekyll and Hyde behavior.

Under the right circumstances, however, microglia can be coaxed back into being angelic healers, able to repair the brain in ways that help alleviate symptoms and hold the promise to one day prevent disease.

Award-winning journalist Donna Jackson Nakazawa began her investigation with a personal interest — when diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder years ago, she was convinced there was something physical going on in her brain as well as her body, though no doctor she consulted could explain how the two could be interacting in this way. 

The book offers us a radically reconceived picture of human health.