The Power of Strangers

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What is this course about?

Book Club
The power of strangers is a dive into a paradox of modern society: humans have evolved to communicate and connect with those around us. It's part of who we are, and yet in today's modern society we find ourselves more disconnected than ever before: choosing to avoid eye contact on the bus, plug into our earphones or lose ourselves in a screen rather than engage with the stranger next to us. In this book club Dr. Meghan Gilbride will take us through her experience and thoughts reading this book, summarizing the key takeaways and her reflections.


It seems that less and less people are comfortable starting conversations with strangers these days. Our smartphones keep us company, and we often get uncomfortable when we have to interact with an actual human we don’t know. But – as I saw in my exchange with the man at the Vietnam Memorial – conversations with strangers have the potential to be incredibly meaningful and fulfilling. And that’s exactly the argument Joe Keohane makes in his book The Power of Strangers.

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How did we evolve to engage with strangers? What are the benefits for communication and engaging? Why do fear the 'other'? How has technology impacted our connections to other humans? All these topics are what are discussed in the second part of our book club on The Power of Strangers.

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What's it like to actually get out the door and talk to strangers? What are the tactics that Keohane recommends and how does it make us feel? That's what Meghan explored in this final episode of the Power of Strangers.

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