Southbank Centre’s Book Podcast: Malcolm Gladwell - Talking to Strangers

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five international bestsellers: The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath. The host of the podcast Revisionist History he was named one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine, and one of the Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers.

Gladwell’s latest book, Talking to Strangers, sees the author draw on cultural cues and prominent examples from contemporary news and media, to explore the assumptions and mistakes we make when dealing with people we don’t know. And it was to discuss this book, that Gladwell joined broadcaster and former barrister Afua Hirsch on stage in a London exclusive event at our Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Malcolm Gladwell: Talking to Strangers by Southbank Centre's Book Podcast


In this podcast of Gladwell and Hirsch’s fascinating and entertaining talk the author examines the misinterpretations and misunderstandings at the heart of the tragic case of Sarah Bland. He also asks, why are human beings so bad at detecting lies? And discusses taking risks in his writing, particularly when attempting to analyse interactions between strangers that led to sexual assaults.

But there is also a lighter side to this recording, as Hirsch and Gladwell discuss identity and biracial upbringing, how most rich people are really terrible at being rich, why no-one wants to fight a naked pensioner, and suggest that if we are to have meaningful televised political debates, they should not be between politicians, but between their former spouses.


My father was an introverted, reserved, dog-loving, gardening, long-walks-in-the-rain person, who only was moved to tears when reading Dickens aloud to his children. How could I not be English with such a father?
Malcolm Gladwell on identity


The venue for London Literature Festival and Poetry International, Southbank Centre is the home of literature and spoken word events in the UK. Throughout the year we host talks, discussions, readings and more featuring bestselling authors, award-winning poets and inspirational writers.

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