cover image Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection

Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection

Charles Duhigg. Random House, $30 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-24391-6

Pulitzer winner Duhigg (The Power of Habit) contends in this savvy guide that “we can learn to connect in more meaningful ways if we can understand how conversations work.” According to Duhigg, so-called supercommunicators more easily build trust, persuade others, and form friendships because they’ve honed such skills as “matching” (recognizing the kind of conversation they’re having, whether it’s about making a decisions, conveying emotions, or forming a bond) and “looping” (repeating what one’s interlocutor has said in one’s own words). Drawing on social experiments, neurological studies, and examples of how CIA agents recruit informants and doctors review treatment options with patients, Duhigg provides wise advice for bonding with friends, fighting with partners, and bridging divides over such lightning-rod issues as gun control. (In moments of conflict, readers should show they’re listening—rather than silently preparing a rebuttal—by asking questions, summarizing the other person’s views, and asking for confirmation; this helps people feel safe enough to receive someone else’s opinions and share their own.) In lucid prose, Duhigg breaks conversation down to its fundamentals, providing both an actionable guide and a revealing peek into the psychological needs and motivations that underpin human interaction. It’s a smart, revelatory look at the complex ways in which humans conflict and connect. (Feb.)