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Book Review :: You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy

You're Not Listening by Kate Murphy book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

New York Times journalist Kate Murphy explores the many facets of listening: the physical, mental, and, most importantly, emotional. As her title implies, she points out the ways people have stopped listening to one another and the effects of that lack in our lives. She uses neuroscience to talk about how we sync with one another when we truly listen, as well as what we can learn from improvisational comedy about how to fully engage in a conversation. Murphy explores the loneliness that has crept into our lives due to a lack of feeling heard. That deficit can come from the assumptions one makes, the technology that distracts us, or the difference in how quickly our mind thinks of what to say and how slowly it processes what we hear. Thankfully, she also explores ways we don’t listen to ourselves, choosing the negative voices that override what we most need to hear, as well as times when we should stop listening to others who wish us nothing good. As we move into more face-to-face contact after the past two years, Murphy reminds us we should all work to be better listeners, so all of our lives will be richer.

You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy. Celadon Books, 2020.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press).  He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. You can find out more about him and his work on Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or  http://kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.