August 19, 2019
DALLAS (SMU) – Best-selling author and podcaster Malcolm Gladwell says he has been thinking about his latest book for 20 years. Why, he wondered, did investors trust Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff and what made Italian police suspicious of Amanda Knox in the murder of her roommate? The book opens and closes with another tragic interaction, the arrest and death of Prairie View College staff member Sandra Bland.
In Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About People We Don’t Know, Gladwell asserts that first impressions are often wrong, and can lead to catastrophic results. He’ll discuss his new book at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7 at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium as part of SMU’s cultural intelligence initiative. The Bridge Builders Author Circle Lecture is presented in partnership with Interabang Books. Tickets are available here.
Humans assume that others’ facial expressions and body language express what they are feeling, Gladwell says. We also tend to assume that people are telling the truth. His book uses well-known scandals and stories from history to illustrate why interactions with strangers go wrong, and how to make them go right.
Gladwell’s lecture is part of SMU’s Bridge Builders lecture series, presented by the University’s cultural intelligence initiative, CIQ@SMU. The series is designed to highlight the work of those who have dedicated their lives to building bridges across a widening cultural divide.
“We are bringing SMU students, faculty and staff to a bridge over the very troubled waters of cultural identity,” says Maria Dixon Hall, senior advisor to the SMU president on cultural intelligence. “This lecture series brings in people who have successfully crossed that bridge.”
The Bridge Builders begins Sept. 18-19 with lectures and discussions from Kamau Bell, host of the CNN series, “United Shades of America,” and the live radio show and podcast “Kamau Right Now;” Arlie Hochschild, author of Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right; and Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core and author of Acts of Faith. Tickets are available here.
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