Reclaiming Conversation

  • by Sherry Turkle
  • Narrated by Kirsten Potter
  • 13 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Renowned media scholar Sherry Turkle investigates how a flight from conversation undermines our relationships, creativity, and productivity - and why reclaiming face-to-face conversation can help us regain lost ground.
We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.
Preeminent author and researcher Sherry Turkle has been studying digital culture for over 30 years. Long an enthusiast for its possibilities, here she investigates a troubling consequence: at work, at home, in politics, and in love, we find ways around conversation, tempted by the possibilities of a text or an email in which we don't have to look, listen, or reveal ourselves.
We develop a taste for what mere connection offers. The dinner table falls silent as children compete with phones for their parents' attention. Friends learn strategies to keep conversations going when only a few people are looking up from their phones. At work we retreat to our screens although it is conversation at the water cooler that increases not only productivity but commitment to work. Online we want to share only opinions that our followers will agree with - a politics that shies away from the real conflicts and solutions of the public square.
The case for conversation begins with the necessary conversations of solitude and self-reflection. They are endangered: These days, always connected, we see loneliness as a problem that technology should solve. Afraid of being alone, we rely on other people to give us a sense of ourselves, and our capacity for empathy and relationship suffers. We see the costs of the flight from conversation everywhere: Conversation is the cornerstone for democracy, and in business it is good for the bottom line. In the private sphere, it builds empathy, friendship, love, learning, and productivity.
But there is good news: We are resilient. Conversation cures.


What the Critics Say

"Low-key urgency flows steadily beneath Kirsten Potter's appealing interpretation of this important audiobook about our diminishing ability to connect with people in intimate ways. Her clear phrasing, full of texture and sonority, makes listeners want to hear every syllable and comprehend every idea." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

So good, I had to stop listening.

What made the experience of listening to Reclaiming Conversation the most enjoyable?

I thought I was buying an audio book about conversation (hints for conversation starters at parties, etc.). That was my mistake. This book details how families, parents, teens, young adults are so distracted by phones and apps that they can't have a face to face conversation. I liked hearing how families are dealing with the digital onslaught.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Couldn't take it anymore. It is a long book and I really didn't want to hear anymore about families and couples that fight, eat dinner, spend time with each other while constantly being on their phones. I hate to see it in real life and so found it too irritating to listen to for the whole book.

Have you listened to any of Kirsten Potter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

I can't believe families have fights on text, group text apps. I am worried about us.

Any additional comments?

Ugh. In a way I guess I am glad to know this info, but I really wish I didn't.

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- Turtle 1

Very important conclusions in an unpalatable form.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Listening was a challenge. I think the topic is vitally important but the author's attitude toward alternative views was too disdainful and condescending. I will persist and listen through to the end hoping I can carry forward some of her arguments without the tone of infinite certainty.

Would you be willing to try another book from Sherry Turkle? Why or why not?

Probably not.

Was Reclaiming Conversation worth the listening time?


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- Leslie Ann Taylor

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-06-2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio