Consequential Strangers: Turning Everyday Encounters Into Life-Changing Moments

Consequential Strangers: Turning Everyday Encounters Into Life-Changing Moments

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“A mind-expanding and heart-opening book” (Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence) that reveals the value of everyday interactions with people in our communities – and what we lose without them.

Our barista, our mechanic, our coworker—they populate our days, but we often take them for granted. Yet these are the people who bring novelty and information into our lives, allow us to exercise different parts of ourselves, and open us up to new opportunities. In their unprecedented examination of people on the periphery, psychologist Karen Fingerman, who coined the term “consequential strangers,” collaborates with journalist Melinda Blau to expand on and make her own groundbreaking research come alive. Drawing as well from Blau’s more than two hundred interviews with specialists in psychology, sociology, marketing, and communication, the book presents compelling stories of individuals and institutions, past and present. A rich portrait of our social landscape—on and off the Internet—it presents the science of casual connection and chronicles the surprising impact that consequential strangers have on business, creativity, the work environment, our physical and mental health, and the strength of our communities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393076899
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/24/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 298
File size: 556 KB

About the Author

Melinda Blau, co-author of the best-selling Baby Whisperer series, writes extensively about relationships and trends. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Karen L. Fingerman, PhD, the Berner Hanley Professor at Purdue University, lives in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction The Birth of a Notion xv

1 The Ascendance of Consequential Strangers 1

2 The View from Above 29

3 Beyond the Confines of the Familiar 61

4 Good for What Ails Us 95

5 Being Spaces 129

6 The Downside 165

7 The Future of Consequential Strangers 197

Epilogue The Postscript Is Personal 215

Appendix I Twenty Questions 221

Appendix II The Occupation Test 223

Notes 225

Index 263

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