The Power of Strangers

The Power of Strangers

The Benefits of Connecting in a Suspicious World

Summary

An exploration of why we don't talk to strangers, and the wonderful things that would happen if we did.

'In a thrilling, immersive journey across time and continents, Keohane upends everything we thought we knew about the people we don't know' Will Storr, author of The Science of Storytelling

When was the last time you spoke to a stranger?

In cities, we stand in silent buses and train carriages, ignoring each other.
Online, we retreat into silos and carefully curate who we interact with.
In our politics, we are increasingly consumed by a fear of people we've never met.

But what if strangers, long believed to be the cause of our problems, were actually the solution?

With the help of sociologists, psychologists, philosophers, political scientists and more, Joe Keohane sets out to investigate why we don't talk to strangers, and what happens when we do. From enhancing empathy, happiness and cognitive development to easing loneliness and isolation, passing encounters can root us in the world, deepening our sense of belonging.

Warm, witty and profound, this book will make you reconsider how you see others, and in doing so show us how talking to strangers is not just a way to live, it's a way to survive.

Reviews

  • 'In a thrilling, immersive journey across time and continents, Keohane upends everything we thought we knew about the people we don't know'
    Will Storr, author of The Science of Storytelling

About the author

Joe Keohane

Joe Keohane first saw interaction with strangers as the son of a funeral director. He has since practised talking with strangers as a journalist who has written and edited many types of stories for publications including Esquire, New York magazine, Wired, the Boston Globe and New Republic. He has also been the executive editor of Entrepreneur magazine. This is his first trade book.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more