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In The Power of Strangers, journalist Joe Keohane takes us through an inquiry into our shared history, one that offers surprising and compelling insights into our own social and political moment. But if strangers seem to some to be the problem, history, data, and science show us that they are actually our solution. In fact, throughout human history, our address to the stranger, the foreigner, the marginalized, and the other has determined the fate and well-being of both nations and individuals. A raft of new science confirms that the more we open ourselves up to encounters with those we don't know, the healthier we are.
Modern cities are vast clusters of strangers. Technology has driven many of us into silos of isolation. Through deep immersion with sociologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, theologians, philosophers, political scientists and historians, Keohane learns about how we're wired to sometimes fear, distrust, and even hate strangers; what happens to us--as individuals, groups, and as a culture--when we indulge those biases; and at the same time, he digs into a growing body of cutting-edge research on the surprising social and psychological benefits that come from talking to strangers; how even passing interactions with strangers can enhance empathy, happiness, and cognitive development, ease loneliness and isolation, and root us in the world, deepening our sense of belonging; how paradoxically, strangers can help us become more fully ourselves. Keohane explores the ways in which biology, culture, and history have defined us and our understanding of people we don't know.
Part sweeping history, part thought-provoking self-help, The Power of Strangers is an ambitious and provocative work that will for the first time bring together all the history, science, and varying schools of thought on the idea of strangers, from the Torah to the Trumps. Deeply researched, The Power of Strangers will inspire you to see everything--from major geopolitical shifts to banal trips to the corner store--in an entirely new light.
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