Review: Book Club Brunch - Talking to Strangers

Written by Michelle Telling.

Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Reviewer: Michelle Telling

So, it turns out that a book titled ‘Talking to Strangers’ was not as much about ‘talking to strangers’ as the title might suggest, but more like ‘how to interrogate and get the truth from bad people’. In addition, the book was described by those Talking to Strangers Book Club NZBWNwho had managed to get through it as disturbing as it included vivid descriptions of rape, child molestation and how to kill yourself using a gas oven, among other things. In short, this book was not what we expected when it was selected for our NZBWN book brunch.

That aside, we were a small group in December (it being the season of busyness for many), and we had a lively discussion around the themes of the book, along with a side-discussion on dating tips. The group felt this was not Malcolm Gladwell’s best work and many had read and enjoyed his other titles including ‘David and Goliath’, ‘Blink’ and ‘the Tipping Point’; all of these had a scientific basis, but ‘Talking to Strangers’ seemed more a cut and paste exercise with a little commentary on each particular case discussed.

The underlying theme was that the majority of us have a ‘default to truth’ when interacting with others, as the author put it:

‘You believe someone not because you have no doubts about them. Belief is not the absence of doubt. You believe someone because you don’t have enough doubts about them’.

‘Default to truth becomes an issue when we are forced to choose between two alternatives, one of which is likely and the other of which is impossible to imagine’.

Our Stories: Brooke Dennis

Written by Bronwyn Huband.

Brooke Dennis is one of many expat New Zealanders in London who have had to diversify their businesses over recent weeks. She’s one of the brains behind The Scrub Hub – an initiative created to provide scrubs to doctors when suppliers couldn’t meet demand.Brooke Dennis

For Brooke, COVID-19 has meant she can’t run the business, she set up only six months ago to provide a space for textile making. However, instead of wallowing in this she looked at what she could do to help.

The chance to do something to help came by way of a friend asking Brooke if she could sew some scrubs for one doctor. That one doctor’s request turned into creating hundreds of PPE-type scrubs for consultants across London. The scrubs are not certified PPE but instead are used by consultants and the like, who wanted to be easily identifiable and not be in their usual clothes for work.

Quality is not compromised. Brooke set out a standard for quality and craftsmanship – volunteers had to be very good sewers. She also uses cotton, because it’s better for the environment, as well as being comfortable and breathable.

New Zealand Business Women's Network announces new board

Written by NZBWN.

Our first board will build on our mission to learn, connect and inspire Kiwi women.

The New Zealand Business Women’s Network (NZBWN) is excited to announce its first working board, bringing together a group of successful Kiwi women. Following 11 years of connecting Kiwis predominately in London and more recently in New Zealand, the board aims to continue to deepen and grow its membership in the UK, New Zealand and across the world.

Our Stories: Hannah Wrathall and Alice Marsh

Written by Bronwyn Huband.

Social Experiment Alice L Hannah RWe recently met two inspirational Kiwis Hannah Wrathall and Alice Marsh. They both come from opposite ends of NZ but they’ve been brought together by a desire to help millennials succeed in taking actions on issues they care about, through creating social enterprises, leading transformational cultural change and platforms to bring issues to the forefront. Hannah gave us some insight into what they are doing to help inspire people to make their dreams a reality.

What did you want to for a career when you were young?
For most of my childhood I wanted to be an actress (it’s never too late, right?). Alice wanted to be an optometrist (she has never had great eyesight!) 

What's the Goss?