Book Review : You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy

You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters (Amazon Link)
Author : Kate Murphy
Published By : Harvill Secker
Year Published : January 9th, 2020
Genre / Tags : Non-Fiction, Self Help
Formats : Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
# of Pages : 304 pages (Hardcover)


When was the last time you listened to someone, or someone really listened to you?

This life-changing book will transform your conversations forever

At work, we’re taught to lead the conversation.

On social media, we shape our personal narratives.

At parties, we talk over one another. So do our politicians.

We’re not listening.

And no one is listening to us
Now more than ever, we need to listen to those around us. New York Times contributor Kate Murphy draws on countless conversations she has had with everyone from priests to CIA interrogators, focus group moderators to bartenders, her great-great aunt to her friend’s toddler, to show how only by listening well can we truly connect with others.

Listening has the potential to transform our relationships and our working lives, improve our self-knowledge, and increase our creativity and happiness. While it may take some effort, it’s a skill that can be learnt and perfected.

When all we crave is to understand and be understood, You’re Not Listening shows us how.


You’re Not Listening is a non-fiction/self help book that was featured on BookishFirst (more info about BookishFirst here.) The introductory chapter was very impressive so it seemed like a no-brainer to enter the drawing for it- I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this title, which is what I’ll be reviewing here.

The intro chapter is loaded with details on what this book will include, the subjects covered, the sources of research, and Murphy’s impassioned determination to unearth every possible pertinent topic related to listening and explore why we should (and how we can) listen more effectively.

While learning how to listen might seem like a basic concept, this book delves into this skill as an art that is becoming increasingly challenged in an age of information overload, social media sharing, and increasing division. Moreover, it offers reconsiderations for how we tend to listen and how we might not be reaching our full potential, when facing so many distracting roadblocks. Many of the chapters are centered on communication and relationships.

Though this is more general non-fiction than self-help, there is a strong motivational energy to several of the chapters here. Some of the most effective pages really make you want to go out and engage more and ask questions that matter to the people you’re closest to, and hear their thoughts with more purposeful clarity. The writing style is consistently persuasive, informative, and fast-moving. Housed within the chapters are stories about professional listeners across a broad range of careers, quotes from authors, scientists, and educators of equal variance. There’s also a large amount of data that is well-sourced.

This book is very current, making references to current events or services that might not be relevant a decade from now. Much of the info is still universal, but I think this book is best read sooner rather than later if you add it to your TBR.

While most of the chapters are very useful, some of them seemed to veer too far off center into less interesting tangents.

There is a chapter that is very distracted by exploring algorithms in a way that can be ground down to “Algorithms and how the powers that be use them aren’t that helpful, and here’s why.” There is a chapter devoted to divisive politics with some light ranting. The smaller stories to illustrate the listening skills of professionals can be a mixed bag, some offering valuable insight while others seem of questionable usefulness.

Also, I would have liked to see more info about the effects of rushed listening or distracted listening. There are some tidbits on those topics and interesting stats on Audible for example and how listening at increased speeds (I’m guilty of this) has an effect on how we process the information and recall it over a long-term period.

In closing, as someone who reads minimal non-fiction, I was relieved to find how approachable this title ended up being. All in all, I enjoyed the time spent. Easily digestible yet full of clarified research, an attention to detail, and an enthusiastic approach by the author.

Overall Rating – 8/10

Why You Should Try It – If the subject of listening, effective communication, or handling modern distractions are of interest to you- this is a very detailed exploration of all those subjects. Fast-paced, highly informative, and motivational. Some of the data and quotes are very interesting.

Why You Might Not Like It – Some of this info might not be very helpful as it seems geared toward giving advice to talkative extroverts. A few of the chapters didn’t seem very relevant and could have been replaced with research about other pertinent topics.

You’re Not Listening (Amazon Link)

Thanks for reading my review of You’re Not Listening! Have you read this book or plan to? Do you read non-fiction and have a recommendation that should be considered? Thanks again. ~ Kitty


5 thoughts on “Book Review : You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy

  1. Great review Kitty Marie! 😀 You’ve explained your thoughts on this so well. I don’t often (read: pretty much never) read self-help / non-fiction books but the title of this just caught me. I’m pretty sure I’m a talker and not a listener and quite often I leave conversations feeling a bit guilty about that. I’d love to give this one a try when it releases! I think an audiobook version might encourage me to read this more – do you know if there is one? Jen

    Liked by 1 person

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