Reclaiming Conversation Book Summary - Reclaiming Conversation Book explained in key points
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Reclaiming Conversation summary

The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

4.2 (96 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle explores the decline of face-to-face communication in the digital age. It argues that rediscovering the value of conversation is essential for healthy relationships and thriving communities.

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    Reclaiming Conversation
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    Digital communication cannot replace in-person conversation when it comes to creating authentic social connections.

    You’re meeting a friend for a drink and, just after you sit down, she pulls out her cellphone. Are you offended? Should you be offended?

    Whether you’re ticked off or not, having a phone at the table disconnects us from the people right in front of us. Studies have shown that even having a muted phone on us when speaking with a friend changes the nature of our conversation. Knowing our attention may be needed elsewhere at any moment makes us revert to superficial conversation and steer away from more sensitive or emotional topics.

    People also feel less connected to one another when there’s a phone lying on the table. This has become a noticeable problem and, in general, communication via digital media is hindering us from forming strong emotional bonds and empathy.

    One recent study compared the interaction of college students communicating face-to-face with students communicating via digital means such as a video chat or online messaging. The results showed that the strongest emotional bond was created between the students communicating in person.

    That’s because face-to-face communication has some clear advantages over digital devices: our faces allow for a direct connection between the words we speak and the feelings that accompany them. Also, those communicating in person can offer each other more attention than if they’re talking over Skype. For example, students will browse online or even watch videos while Skyping – something they wouldn’t do if they were sharing the same physical space with their conversation partner.

    Ultimately, these new ways of interacting can have dire consequences. Studies have shown that college students are now displaying up to 40 percent fewer signs of empathy when interacting with others than was the case 20 years ago.

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    What is Reclaiming Conversation about?

    Reclaiming Conversation (2015) reflects on how we interact with one another in our increasingly digitized world. Constant interruptions, leaving messages unanswered and lack of interest have all become the norm in a world rife with mobile devices and screens. But is this what we want? And if not, what can we do about it?

    Reclaiming Conversation Review

    Reclaiming Conversation (2015) by Sherry Turkle explores the importance of face-to-face conversation in the digital age and why we need to reclaim this lost art. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers compelling insights into the impact of technology on our relationships and the need for deeper connections in our lives.
    • Turkle presents a thought-provoking examination of the effects of constant connectivity and the benefits of embracing more meaningful conversations.
    • Through her research and personal stories, Turkle makes a strong argument for the value of authentic human interaction, inspiring readers to reevaluate their relationship with technology.

    Best quote from Reclaiming Conversation

    All thinking, strictly speaking, is done in solitude and is a dialogue between me and myself. – Hannah Arendt

    —Sherry Turkle
    example alt text

    Who should read Reclaiming Conversation?

    • Anyone who spends a lot of time in front of screens
    • Parents and caregivers
    • Anyone who wants to have more meaningful conversations

    About the Author

    Sherry Turkle is a psychologist specializing in human–technology interaction and psychoanalysis, and is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT.  She has published several books on the effect of new media on society, such as Life on the Screen and Alone Together.

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    Reclaiming Conversation FAQs 

    What is the main message of Reclaiming Conversation?

    Reclaiming Conversation emphasizes the importance of face-to-face communication in a digitized world.

    How long does it take to read Reclaiming Conversation?

    The reading time for Reclaiming Conversation varies. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Reclaiming Conversation a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Reclaiming Conversation is worth reading as it raises awareness about the impact of technology on our relationships.

    Who is the author of Reclaiming Conversation?

    The author of Reclaiming Conversation is Sherry Turkle.

    What to read after Reclaiming Conversation?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Reclaiming Conversation, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Do What Matters Most by Rob Shallenberger and Steve Shallenberger
    • A Minute to Think by Juliet Funt
    • Words Can Change Your Brain by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman
    • How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
    • Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson
    • Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg
    • Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
    • The Fine Art Of Small Talk by Debra Fine
    • 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged by H. Norman Wright