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You're Not Listening summary

Kate Murphy

What You're Missing and Why It Matters

4.5 (417 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

You're Not Listening by Kate Murphy is a fascinating exploration of the art of listening. It highlights the importance of attentive listening in our personal and professional lives, and offers tips for becoming better listeners.

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    You're Not Listening
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    Listening is a rare skill – especially today.

    We’re not really encouraged to listen these days. It’s pretty much the opposite, in fact: we’re encouraged to broadcast ourselves. We train ourselves in public speaking, we constantly announce ourselves to the world on social media, and of course we chat away endlessly on our phones.

    But when was the last time you truly felt someone was listening to you? And how about the last time you really listened closely to someone else?

    It’s ironic that even though we’re more connected than ever before, we’re also experiencing what some have called an epidemic of loneliness, as the population ages and younger people retreat to their phones and computers. It’s easier to stay in contact with each other, but the quality of all this communication isn’t cutting it; people still feel isolated.

    In other words, they're not getting the attention they crave. You won’t be shocked to learn that our attention span has gone down recently, but you might be surprised that – since as recently as 2000, according to research by Microsoft – the average attention span has decreased from twelve seconds to just eight. That actually puts us below the nine-second attention span of a goldfish.

    What’s to blame? Our phones certainly play a part, as well as all the other technological devices we’re addicted to. In fact, distractions are everywhere around us – even in the form of the music piped into shops and cafes.

    All of which means that there’s something extra special about focusing your attention on what somebody else is saying. A good conversation can cut through all the background noise around us. And you’ll be amazed at the things you’ll learn. Everybody in the world is interesting, the author suggests – you just have to ask them the right questions.

    How do you do that, though? The author spoke to some of the best listeners in the world to find out.

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    What is You're Not Listening about?

    You’re Not Listening (2020) casts a spotlight on the undervalued skill of listening. It’s filled with examples of talented professional listeners, as well as practical advice for getting more out of conversations with others – not by saying more yourself, but by listening more closely to others.

    You're Not Listening Review

    You're Not Listening (2020) by Kate Murphy sheds light on the art of listening and why it's essential in our highly distracted world. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • Packed with eye-opening stories and concrete advice, it equips readers with practical techniques to improve their listening skills and deepen their connections with others.
    • Through real-life examples and expert insights, the book reveals the far-reaching impact of true listening, fostering empathy, understanding, and more meaningful relationships.
    • With its fascinating exploration of conversation and human connection, this book challenges our assumptions and encourages us to reevaluate our own listening habits.

    Best quote from You're Not Listening

    Everybody is interesting if you ask the right questions. If someone is dull or uninteresting, its on you.

    —Kate Murphy
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    Who should read You're Not Listening?

    • Couples looking to improve their communication skills
    • Professional listeners, from journalists to business negotiators
    • Everyone who wants to have better conversations

    About the Author

    Kate Murphy is a journalist from Houston, Texas. She has become a talented listener through her many interviews and articles for publications including the New York Times, the Economist, and Texas Monthly, as well as Agence France-Presse.

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    You're Not Listening FAQs 

    What is the main message of You're Not Listening?

    The main message of You're Not Listening is the importance of active listening and its transformative power in our personal and professional lives.

    How long does it take to read You're Not Listening?

    The reading time for You're Not Listening varies depending on your reading speed, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is You're Not Listening a good book? Is it worth reading?

    You're Not Listening is a must-read for anyone who wants to improve their communication skills and deepen their understanding of others. It offers valuable insights and practical tips in an engaging manner.

    Who is the author of You're Not Listening?

    The author of You're Not Listening is Kate Murphy.

    What to read after You're Not Listening?

    If you're wondering what to read next after You're Not Listening, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Just Listen by Mark Goulston
    • The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld
    • Social Empathy by Elizabeth Segal
    • Listen Like You Mean It by Ximena Vengoechea
    • How to be Heard by Julian Treasure
    • Words Can Change Your Brain by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman
    • What Every BODY is Saying by Joe Navarro
    • Talk by Elizabeth Stokoe
    • Flip The Script by Oren Klaff
    • Why Are We Yelling? by Buster Benson