You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters

You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters

by Kate Murphy


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When was the last time you listened to someone, or someone really listened to you?

"If you’re like most people, you don’t listen as often or as well as you’d like. There’s no one better qualified than a talented journalist to introduce you to the right mindset and skillset—and this book does it with science and humor."

-Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

"An essential book for our times."

-Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

At work, we’re taught to lead the conversation.

On social media, we shape our personal narratives.

At parties, we talk over one another. So do our politicians.

We’re not listening.

And no one is listening to us.

Despite living in a world where technology allows constant digital communication and opportunities to connect, it seems no one is really listening or even knows how. And it’s making us lonelier, more isolated, and less tolerant than ever before. A listener by trade, New York Times contributor Kate Murphy wanted to know how we got here.

In this always illuminating and often humorous deep dive, Murphy explains why we’re not listening, what it’s doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing us to some of the best listeners out there (including a CIA agent, focus group moderator, bartender, radio producer, and top furniture salesman). Equal parts cultural observation, scientific exploration, and rousing call to action that's full of practical advice, You're Not Listening is to listening what Susan Cain's Quiet was to introversion. It’s time to stop talking and start listening.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250297198
Publisher: Celadon Books
Publication date: 01/07/2020
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 22,870
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Kate Murphy is a Houston, Texas–based journalist who has written for The New York Times, The Economist, Agence France-Presse, and Texas Monthly.

Reading Group Guide

1. Has reading You're Not Listening changed how you listen? In what way?

2. What was the most surprising thing you learned about listening?

3. Do you think listening is a skill you are born with or one you develop?

4. Who do you have trouble listening to? Why?

5. Who do you enjoy listening to? Why?

6. Do you find some situations or environments more or less conducive to listening than others?

7. Who’s the best/worst listener in your life? What makes that person a good/bad listener?

8. Do you recall a time when you didn’t listen but wish you had?

9. Do you recall a time when you were glad you listened? Like maybe when someone gave you good advice or said something that tipped you off that the speaker was disingenuous?

10. Are there certain topics of conversation that make you more or less likely to listen?

11. When do you think it’s okay to stop listening to someone?

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You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
biancabuysbooks 4 months ago
Wouldn't you agree this was a good book? A simple question camouflaged as a shift response! I learned so much from this book, and it was a quite the reality check: I'm a terrible listener! Kate Murphy's work here was fascinating, and from it, I have found tips for making small, daily improvements to my listening habits moving forward. Big thanks to Celadon Books for the opportunity to read this ARC!
StephanieCherry 4 months ago
A few months back I was sitting in a room attempting to share something deeply personal. The people there started discussing it amongst themselves and formulating opinions out loud about it. No one asked me any questions or dialogued with me about it in any way. My sharing felt completely pointless. That evening I came home to the first 55 pages of this book in my inbox from the publisher. You’re not listening. Exactly. I read those first pages right then and quickly fell in book love. I’m a listener. I have fought hard against shyness, introversion, and anxiety to learn to ask good questions. My heart ebbs and flows on people feeling seen and finding healing. I love people. The personality type that I would call the kryptonite to my calling is the no breath, no pause, non-stop talker. If you can’t stop talking, I know you have no desire to listen and I don’t talk. My brain shuts itself off. Dear extreme extroverts, never underestimate the power of a good edit. I cannot even begin to tell you how brilliant, thought out, researched, and well-written this is. Kate has interviewed everyone from CIA interrogators in bulletproof cars to grandmas over tea. Her background at The New York Times is on full display. She has learned the uncommon art of listening to learn and hearing what isn’t being said. I read one person’s comment that this is a perfect tool for dining table or board room. You can stop talking at and talk with. You can stop being distracted and engage. You can change the questions you’re asking to build real relationships with the people around you. You can stop putting your ego ahead of other people’s vulnerabilities. You can learn to listen. Listening to others changes our inner dialogue. How we talk to ourselves effects how we hear others. The main regret people have at the end of their lives is how they related to their family. Learning to listen will change the conversation at your table and the depth of your relationships. Read it...for all of us.
AOMullan44 4 months ago
Is anybody listening? How being a good listener can transform your life! I was completely blown away by this book! Kate Murphy has written a very insightful and brilliant book that clearly explains the importance of listening and how it can shape our relationships, our health and ultimately our happiness. “You’re Not Listening- What You’re Missing and Why It Matters” immediately grabbed my attention by its accurate description of modern life and society and the need to define oneself, project oneself and ultimately be the leader in conversations. Unfortunately, today very little emphasis is placed on the need to listen carefully to what is being said. Sadly, the result of society’s inability to listen is the ever increasing feeling of isolation, emptiness and loneliness. I enjoyed how the author stressed that by paying attention to more than the words you can transform how you understand others, the world and ultimately this can enrich your relationships and your life. “Listening, more than any other activity, plugs you into life.” I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s many quotes, interviews, reflections and descriptions. I also appreciated the many thought provoking explanations such as the difference between passive hearing and active listening, the 90-9-1 rule in social media and how not listening can actually deprive us of our future potential. “Talking without listening is like touching without being touched.” “Listening is essential to our survival.” I completely enjoyed reading this book and appreciated the authors very descriptive writing style and her inspirational look at the art of listening! This insightful book was thoroughly researched and included interviews with expert listeners from various backgrounds such as as a CIA interrogator, FBI hostage negotiator, leading neuroscientists, a bartender and a salesman, to name a few. I found this book to be inspirational, insightful, thought provoking and at times even humorous. It was definitely a fast read that totally captured and held my attention. There were so many excellent points and quotes that I eventually started writing notes in my copy of the book which I generally prefer not to do. I learned so much from reading Kate Murphy’s book. It helped me to reflect on and evaluate my own interactions when communicating with others and I look forward to applying some of her suggestions in my future interactions with family, friends and acquaintances. “You’re Not Listening, What You’re Missing and Why It Matters” definitely connected with me and influenced my future views on communicating with others. I highly recommend this book! I would like to thank CELADON BOOKS and Kate Murphy for an advanced readers copy of this book through BookishFirst in exchange for my honest review.
smg5775 10 days ago
Explains why we don't or do listen. Also gives us ideas and examples of how to listen better and why it is good to listen more and talk less. We will learn a lot more. I liked the examples and ideas set out to shut us up so we listen more. I especially liked the conversations she shared. I am trying to use some of her ideas to listen more. I have to overcome my self-centeredness and ego when in a conversation.
ZenithMeridian 15 days ago
Nonfiction comes in two forms; easy to digest and those that are written for academic audiences. Kate Murphy had that in mind and wanted her research to reach the masses. This book is an approachable and a fascinating deep dive into human psychology, modern technology and neuroscience. I think that the biggest take away from this book was not in fact the information pertaining to others, but as a tool to reflect on one's own listening skills and re-training your brain and your ability to listen to others. I know a lot of reviewers talk about listening skills with children for this book but for me; it was more of a way to reassess my own listening skills in the workplace. I think this book has a lot to offer its readers and would not be surprised to see it pop up in college classrooms within the next couple of years in sociology and psychology classes.
Anonymous 22 days ago
This was a great read. In this day and age where most of us have our eyes glued to a screen of one kind or another one on one (face to face) interaction has become a rare thing. Murphy uses some great sources to enlighten us on how to be better listeners. As a person in his mid 40's I have seen the how the technology has declined the "in person" conversations and interactions. It is a great difference than the 1970's and 80's where you had to call the person or meet up and actually have a conversation and you were able to see their expressions and hear their voice and tone. So this book is a great help to get those practices back.
kittymarie 22 days ago
The intro chapter is loaded with details on what this book will include, the subjects covered, the sources of research, and Murphy’s impassioned determination to unearth every possible pertinent topic related to listening and explore why we should (and how we can) listen more effectively. I was happy to find that the chapters following were consistent in quality. While learning how to listen might seem like a basic concept, this book delves into this skill as an art that is becoming increasingly challenged in an age of information overload, social media sharing, and increasing division. Moreover, it offers reconsiderations for how we tend to listen and how we might not be reaching our full potential, when facing so many distracting roadblocks. Many of these chapters are centered on communication and relationships. Though this is more general non-fiction than self-help, there is a strong motivational energy to several of the chapters here. Some of the most effective pages really make you want to go out and engage more and ask questions that matter to the people you’re closest to, and hear their thoughts with more purposeful clarity. The writing style is consistently persuasive, informative, and fast-moving. Housed within the chapters are stories about professional listeners across a broad range of careers, quotes from authors, scientists, and educators of equal variance. There’s also a large amount of data that is well-sourced. This book is very current, making references to current events or services that might not be relevant a decade from now. Much of the info is still universal, but I think this book is best read sooner rather than later. While most of the chapters are very useful, some of them seemed to veer too far off center into less interesting tangents. There is a chapter that is very distracted by exploring algorithms in a way that can be ground down to “Algorithms and how the powers that be use them aren’t that helpful, and here’s why.” There is a chapter devoted to divisive politics with some light ranting. The smaller stories to illustrate the listening skills of professionals can be a mixed bag, some offering valuable insight while others seem of questionable usefulness. Also, I would have liked to see more info about the effects of rushed listening or distracted listening. There are some tidbits on those topics and interesting stats on Audible for example and how listening at increased speeds (I’m guilty of this) has an effect on how we process the information and recall it over a long-term period. In closing, as someone who reads minimal non-fiction, I was relieved to find how approachable this title ended up being. All in all, I enjoyed the time spent. Easily digestible yet full of clarified research, an attention to detail, and an enthusiastic approach by the author. Note : I received an ARC of this title for review.
kmjessica 3 months ago
I think this is the most interesting book I've read in a long while. I myself know I am not a good listener at times. That is why I wanted to read this book. It was a very fascinating read. I learned a lot. I loved how the author interviewed and quoted many people and seamed to me she researched a lot before writing this book. It really made me think a lot and I had many ah ha moments while reading this. to quote the book," its possible, with awareness and patience, to develop your skill as a listener and do it extremely well". That is what I plan to get out of this book. I believe I will think about everything I read in this book for a long long while. Loved it!
Breywar 3 months ago
I don’t generally do nonfiction, so I’m going to keep this review kinda brief. It isn’t something I would generally pick up, but it is something I needed to pick up. I’m the type of person who will spend hours on the phone with people while doing something else, I’m not a good listener and I’m very aware of that. This book was very eye opening as to why it’s important that I change those habits. You’re not listening is very hard hitting on society as a whole. There are few people I would point out in my life that I feel actually listen to me. It’s worth every person picking up this book just to understand the importance of conversation. Kate Murphy used hard facts, interviews, and statements to break through the world. I hope everyone picks up this book and actually listens to what she says.
Jessica Burrell 3 months ago
I was so excited to learn that I had won an ARC copy of this book. The first impression I got was great and the entire read did not disappoint. Thanks BookishFirst for the copy! All opinions are my own. Firstly, I thought the book cover was engaging and would definitely catch my eye in a bookstore among other titles! Second and more important is how timely I thought the book seemed. In our world today of social media, instant gratification with news and information readily available at our fingertips, it really does beg the question "have we lost the art of listening?" I thought the book was well thought-out, thoroughly researched and offered a lot of interesting perspectives. It seems we have all become more self absorbed as a society - we all want to 'be heard' especially in recent times with such political, social and personal issues in the world and our lives but we don't stop to realize that to be truly heard, we also need to listen critically. I particularly liked the quote from the author "The most valuable lesson I've learned as a journalist is that everybody is interesting if you ask the right questions. If someone is dull or uninteresting, it's on you." I had NEVER thought of conversations that way, but it makes perfect sense! As someone who had therapy in my 20's, has typically felt unheard and unseen and laments the use of dating apps/making adult friendships as a 30 something women, this book particularly resonated with me, especially the dedication! Who hasn't felt that way at some point in their lives? I thought that introducing many viewpoints on listeners and offering practical advice, was incredibly interesting.It would be a perfect book for book clubs and think tanks! I get nervous and can ramble on, so the last chapter on when to STOP listening and how to converse/keep a balance was great as well. It was a great balance of scientific, research, humor and practical advice, much of which I will aim to put in practice in my own life and conversations moving forward!
kmg7777 3 months ago
You're Not Listening should be required reading for everyone. Literally everyone. If you think you could learn something from this book to improve your listening skills - you're already on the right track and you can. If you don't think you can learn anything, you probably need this even more. Written in a conversational tone with language just about anyone can understand, Murphy takes you through contemporary society and our challenges with not really listening to what people have to say. Shining light on both nature (technology, social media, workplace environments, etc.) and nurture (childhood habits, personal perspective) that limit our ability to listen, Murphy gives you aha moments about both what can be limiting your ability to listen and pointing out what you can do to improve it. I loved this book, it's been one of my favorites so far this year, and while I don't normally read self-help books at all, I can definitely see myself referencing this over and over again when I need a refresher about being a better listener to people that I care about.
QuirkyCat 3 months ago
Have you ever felt like there’s a disconnect, when you’re sitting down and having a conversation with somebody? Almost like the other person isn’t listening to you – just waiting for you to finish talking so they can have their moment to talk? That’s a concept that Kate Murphy addresses here in You’re Not Listening. Murphy strongly believes that society as a whole has lost the ability to listen to one another. And in the process, that means we’ve lost the ability to connect. Murphy uses examples set in all situations in order to add context to her (very well thought out) argument. Here she lays out all of the evidence for us losing the connection – and what we can do to fix it. It’s a powerful read, and one that people are rightly saying could change your perspective. “This is a book in praise of listening and a lament that as a culture we seem to be losing our listening mojo.” If I had to pick one non-fiction novel to read this year, I’m glad it was You’re Not Listening. Kate Murphy’s arguments and thought-provoking discussions about listening and our society's disconnect from it made for a fascinating read. I know what you might be thinking right now: that it’s yet another book in a line of many (countless, really) books talking about communication. This book is not like the others. This isn’t a self-help book. Nor is it a book intent on browbeating you. It is the insight of one woman, Kate Murphy, and everything she’s picked up after her years spent listening. You see, Murphy’s job is to listen. She’s a reporter, and based on what she has managed to wrangle out of people, she’s a talented one at that. Kate Murphy’s career did give her a unique insight on the matter, and I really appreciated all of her real-life examples that she’s experienced. It really grounded her whole argument, while making it feel utterly human at the same time. It was not something I expected to find within these pages. But it worked very well. You’re Not Listening was a fascinating read, and I’m glad I stepped out of my preferred genres to give it a chance. Kate Murphy created a sound argument here, filling the pages with her insight and experience.
ojoausana 3 months ago
*received a free copy from netgalley for honest review* This was a great interesting read, I've read more than one book on the subject so, like it says In the book, it's not really anything new but it's presented in a great way. Even so it was a great read and I will certainly be recommending it to others. The whole book was very fascinating and insightful, however I did find the parts about politics very simplified. I don't think you should cut people out of your life over little things but I know people who cut their daughter out of their life because she's gay, and the family cut her parents out to support her. People do have to keep in mind they could be wrong but I also think it's okay to cut hateful, toxic people from your life, even if they're family lol
RachelT93 4 months ago
Review: What I Liked: Writing Style. I was worried about going into this nonfiction novel that the terminology or writing would be beyond my knowledge level. However, I found Kate Murphy's writing relatable and easy to follow. I found myself completely invested in the novel from chapter one. Subject/Knowledge. I learned a lot about listening, how our ears actually work, and how to be a better listener. I found the topic interesting because how listening has changed a lot since cell phones were invested and how our culture has evolved into one that does not listen to one another. I recommend checking out this intriguing nonfiction. It was a great quick read that held my attention the whole time. 5 Stars Out of 5 Stars.
Anonymous 4 months ago
When was the last time you listened to someone, or someone really listened to you? Like most of us in this day of the digital age, you've probably felt the above at some point. This book was an interesting look at how we communicate with one another and some great insight into how to do better. I can't think of a more fitting book to read right now as we are becoming more and more at odds with another as we continue to talk at each other instead of actually listening. After reading this, i'm taking a closer look at my relationships in all aspects of my life (personal and professional) and am taking knowledge gained from this book to be more aware of how I communicate and hopefully make my own improvements and becoming a better listener. *Thank you to NetGalley and Celadon books for the arc in exchange for my honest review.
Lostinastack 4 months ago
Can you recall the last time you truly listened to someone with 100 percent of your focus and attention? In these times, with numerous media distractions, it is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve this state. Kate Murphy does a brilliant job of explaining the importance of listening to others and the underrated value of the skill in society. As a born listener, this one resonated with me in numerous ways. It was refreshing to read an entire book dedicated to the practice of listening. I couldn't stop nodding my head in agreement while reading through this one. This one is laid out through various interviews that the author conducted through her work as a journalist. She speaks with different industry specialists in multiple professions and shows that no matter where we come from or what we do, listening is a way that we can continue to learn and discover more about the world and its people. Thank you to Celadon Books for an Advanced Reader's Copy. All opinions are my own.
wordsandbooksandthings 4 months ago
Have you ever had one of those conversations where the person you’re talking to keeps interrupting you? Or correcting you? Or they just hijack that conversation to start their own story? Of course you have. We all have. Maybe I should have asked if you’ve had that conversation today, because it happens so frequently. Listening is an art, maybe a lost art, but author Kate Murphy is here to teach us how to be the listener that our friends and family need. She talks to the experts—from the CIA agent to the top radio interviewer to the greatest focus group moderator and so many more. Psychologists, researchers, neuroscientists, politicians, college professors, and doctors all weigh in on why it’s so difficult for us to focus, to set aside the voices in our heads, to stop planning what we want to say next, and to just be in the moment, in the conversation, giving all your attention to one other person. Because it is difficult. Listening is a choice. It is an action. It is a gift. As all the technology we use every day sucks up our time and attention, the choice to stop looking at our phones or scrolling on our laptops is a gift we give to those we love. And the intimacy we are rewarded with is the best part of being human. That is the basis for You’re Not Listening, a book filled with all the things that keep us from being good listeners and how we can turn that around. We only have so much energy. We can’t listen to everyone else, all the time. But when we make choices to listen to certain people in our lives—our families, our friends, our boss and coworkers—that reinforces those relationships, making them stronger and closer. Listening gives us the chance to collect important information. It opens up opportunities. It brings us awareness of issues we’d not known about. It reawakens our souls. Perhaps the best thing about You’re Not LIstening (aside from the insider stories about people like Oliver Sacks, Richard Feynman, Terry Gross, and the Second City improv program) is just the gentle but persistent reminder of how important listening is and how difficult it can be. Keeping that in mind as I read this book, my understanding of the power of listening deepening with each chapter, means that I can move through the world as a better employee, a better friend, a better person. I have the power to improve my life and my relationships (maybe, in a way, the same thing), and while it may not be easy to be a better listener, I know that it will be worth it. I am so grateful this book has come into my life.! Galleys for You’re Not Listening were provided by Celadon Books, with many thanks.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Recently, I made a goal to read more nonfiction, starting with You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy. By far, this is the most impactful book I've ever read, and I have no doubt that it will be on many bestseller lists (or, at the very least, readers' top reads lists) for many years. You're Not Listening serves to reinvent the way we interact with others. It asks questions like: when is the last time you felt like someone truly listened to you? and when is the last time you truly listened to someone else? There is power in both hearing and understanding, and Murphy offers interwoven tips and guidance to help make us all more empathetic listeners, but the purpose of this book isn't to preach or to teach, but to simply explain the affect of being a good listener. In a world strewn with daily violence, I found this to be an insightful, necessary read. If something as simple as *listening* can irrevocably impact another's life in a positive way, then we all need to be more compassionate, understanding listeners. I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. This was my honest, unbiased review.
OneThriftyReader 4 months ago
I enjoyed this book. The author makes the point at the beginning of the book that we are encouraged to listen to ourselves these days - listen to our gut, listen to our intuition, etc. - but we are rarely encouraged to listen to other people. That's a very valid point, and it drew me into the book. The author is a journalist, and the book is reportage of what she discovered about listening by interviewing people for whom listening is a big part of their job (as it is hers). I especially enjoyed the chapter about her experience talking to the NPR staff of Fresh Air, the famous interview show hosted by Terry Gross. Disclosure - I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Kaitie-Maday 4 months ago
Disclaimer: I was given an advance reader copy of this book from Celadon Books via BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review. I was sucked into this book right from the beginning and could not put it down. I have found this book to be very eye-opening in many ways. I have often found myself oversharing in a conversation in an attempt to draw someone back into listening to me or just trailed off because I knew that they really weren't paying attention. When I read that these are actually common ways that people try to get others to listen to them, it made a lot of sense to me. The whole concept of that if you think someone is boring, you are actually the one not listening is very important to realize and could actually change the way you see people. Also trying to be empathetic in conversation without making it about yourself is another important point that many people need to learn. I would highly recommend this book for pretty much everyone!
HigherEditor 4 months ago
This is such an important book. Listening is such a vital skill and lost art. The book is enjoyable to read, and I plan to buy a paper copy and make notes and highlights. Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for a digital ARC!
co_d_evans 4 months ago
A much-needed novel that will benefit everyone! Wow! I've never felt this convicted outside of church ;) You're Not Listening is a much-needed account of our society's current propensity for ignoring everyone and everything around us. She precisely dissects the root causes of the problem but also leaves the reader several practical steps to alleviate their own listening deficiencies. "Whether viewed as an evolutionary survival tactic, basic moral virtue, or what we owe the ones we love, listening is what unifies us as human beings." Kate Murphy does an extraordinary job presenting her case with current and classic research examples coupled with interesting case studies of unique listeners. She also takes the reader on a global ride, introducing cultures and scholars from around the world. Thank you Bookish First and Celadon Books for my Advanced Readers Copy!