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  • Published:

    Sep 19, 2017
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  • Pages:

  • Size:

    5.9" x 8.6"
  • Weight:

    0.9 lb
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Book Title and Author Byline

We Need to Talk

How to Have Conversations That Matter

Product Description and Author Information

About the Book

Based on the wildly popular TED Talk with more than 10 million views

WE NEED TO TALK. They are, perhaps, the most dreaded four words in the English language. But in her timely and practical book, We Need to Talk, Celeste Headlee—a public radio host—makes the case that they are urgently needed.

Today most of us communicate from behind electronic screens, and studies show that Americans feel less connected and more divided than ever before. The blame for some of this disconnect can be attributed to our political landscape, but the erosion of our conversational skills as a society lies with us as individuals.

And the only way forward, says Headlee, is to start talking to each other. In We Need to Talk, she outlines the strategies that have made her a better conversationalist and offersactionable steps anyone can take to improve their communication skills. For example:

• BE THERE OR GO ELSEWHERE. Human beings are incapable of multitasking, and this is especially true of tasks that involve language. Think you can catch up on your e-mail while talking on the phone? Think again.

• CHECK YOUR BIAS. The belief that your intelligence protects you from erroneous assumptions can make you more vulnerable to them. We all have blind spots that affect the way we view others.

• HIDE YOUR PHONE. Don’t just put down your phone, put it away. Research suggests that the mere presence of a cell phone can negatively impact the quality of a conversation.

Whether you’re struggling to communicate with your child’s teacher, your boss, your neighbor, or someone you love, Headlee offers smart strategies that can help us all have conversations that matter.

About the Author

Celeste Headlee

Photo of Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee has been a host and journalist with National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and American Public Media since 2008. She has appeared on CNN, the BBC, PBS, and MSNBC. Celeste has one son and one rescue dog, and lives in Washington, DC.


“Civil discourse is one of humanity’s founding institutions and it faces an existential threat: We, the people, need to talk about how we talk to one another. Celeste Headlee shows us how.”   —Ron Fournier, New York Times bestselling author of Love That Boy and Publisher of Crain’s Detroit

“This book is necessary…Headlee’s treatise on creating space for valuable mutual reciprocity is one that should become a handbook in any school, business or even a doctor’s office where the everyday person visits.” —George Elerick, Buzzfeed

“The perfect pre-Thanksgiving read to head off family squabbles and turn the holiday meal into a feast of ideas instead of a political fracas.” —Karin Gillespie, Augusta Karin Gillespie, Augusta Chronicle

“We Need To Talk is an important read for a conversationally-challenged, disconnected age. Headlee is a talented, honest storyteller, and her advice has helped me become a better spouse, friend, and mother.”  —Jessica Lahey, author of New York Times bestseller The Gift of Failure

“A well-researched and careful analysis of how and why we talk with one another—our strengths and (myriad) weaknesses…A thoughtful discussion and sometimes-passionate plea for civility and consideration in conversation.” Kirkus Reviews

“In the course of her career, Headlee has interviewed thousands of people from all walks of life and learned that sparking a great conversation is really a matter of a few simple habits that anyone can learn.” —Jessica Stillman, Inc.

“Refreshingly honest….In the era of the lost art of conversation, Headlee helps us find our voice.” —Henry Bass, Essence

“This powerful debut offers 10 strategies for improving conversational skills. Tidbits from sociological studies and anecdotes from history, including from civil rights activist Xernona Clayton’s groundbreaking conversations with KKK leader Calvin Craig, round out a book that takes its own advice and has much to communicate.” Publishers Weekly

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