We Need To Talk by Celeste Headlee

We Need To Talk by Celeste HeadleeWe Need to Talk: A Practical Guide to the Lost Art of Conversation by Celeste Headlee
Published by Harper Wave on September 19, 2017
Genres: Psychological, Social Science
Pages: 240
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours for review consideration.
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An informative, timely, and practical guide to the lost—and essential—art of conversation from public radio host Celeste Headlee.

Take a moment to consider how many outcomes in your life may have been affected by poor communication skills. Could you have gotten a job you really wanted? Saved a relationship? What about that political conversation that got out of hand at Thanksgiving dinner? How is it that we so often fail to say the right thing at the right time?

In her career as an NPR host, journalist Celeste Headlee has interviewed hundreds of people from all walks of life, and if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that it’s hard to overestimate the power of conversation and its ability to both bridge gaps and deepen wounds. In We Need to Talk, she shares what she’s learned on the job about how to have effective, meaningful, and respectful conversations in every area of our lives.

Now more than ever, Headlee argues, we must begin to talk to and, more importantly, listen to one another—including those with whom we disagree. We Need to Talk gives readers ten simple tools to help facilitate better conversations, ranging from the errors we routinely make (put down the smart phone when you’re face to face with someone) to the less obvious blind spots that can sabotage any conversation, including knowing when not to talk, being aware of our own bias, and avoiding putting yourself in the center of the discussion.

Whether you’re gearing up for a big conversation with your boss, looking to deepen or improve your connection with a relative, or trying to express your child’s needs to a teacher, We Need to Talk will arm you with the skills you need to create a productive dialogue.


I have to admit, We Need To Talk started off on the wrong foot with me. I had some issues with the way Headlee backed up her points, and I felt like I wasn’t reading much new information. I also started to worry Headlee was advocating that “can’t we put our differences aside and just try to get along” mindset that can actually be dangerous for marginalized folks.

She wasn’t, and I’m glad I pushed through the opening chapters, because my early frustrations were eventually cleared up. I ended up learning quite a bit and was left with a lot to think about.

This book reminded me a lot of my late grandmother. She loved to debate. My family moved around a lot, so I didn’t see her terribly often, but she always told me how excited she was to see me because I was the only grandchild who would humor her by debating with her. She would wholeheartedly argue points she didn’t even believe, just for the sake of a good mental workout. In the past year or so, I know I’ve ignored the lessons my grandmother’s debates taught me, especially the reasons why it’s important to truly hear other perspectives. We Need To Talk reminded me of that.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Harper Wave for the opportunity to read and review this book. Check out what other readers have to say about We Need To Talk by visiting other stops on the tour.

  • HeatherTLC

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.