Review: We Need to Talk

by Amber
Published: Last Updated on

We Need to Talk by Celeste Headlee was so incredibly timely for me as I just started a fully remote job that requires me to communicate with coworkers and clients through digital channels.

I’ve always been an early adopter of new technology. It all excites me. I had never thought negatively about it, and neither does Celeste Headlee.

She writes about how to have real conversations rather than just communicating.

In this book, you’ll find research-backed facts mingled in with Celeste Headlee’s personal experiences.

She covers asking great questions, how to listen and when to give unsolicited advice.

Something I’ve challenged myself to do is keep my phone away from the dinner table and focus on the person in front of me. Or, when I’m out with friends, to make sure the phone’s in my pocket and I enjoy the moment and the conversations with people around me.

Highly recommend this one!

About We Need to Talk

• Hardcover: 272 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (September 19, 2017)


In this urgent and insightful book, public radio journalist Celeste Headlee shows us how to bridge what divides us—by having real conversations


“We Need to Talk is an important read for a conversationally-challenged, disconnected age. Headlee is a talented, honest storyteller, and her advice has helped me become a better spouse, friend, and mother.” (Jessica Lahey, author of New York Times bestseller The Gift of Failure)

Today most of us communicate from behind electronic screens, and studies show that Americans feel less connected and more divided than ever before. The blame for some of this disconnect can be attributed to our political landscape, but the erosion of our conversational skills as a society lies with us as individuals.

And the only way forward says Headlee, is to start talking to each other. In We Need to Talk, she outlines the strategies that have made her a better conversationalist—and offers simple tools that can improve anyone’s communication. For example:

  • BE THERE OR GO ELSEWHERE. Human beings are incapable of multitasking, and this is especially true of tasks that involve language. Think you can type up a few emails while on a business call, or hold a conversation with your child while texting your spouse? Think again.
  • CHECK YOUR BIAS. The belief that your intelligence protects you from erroneous assumptions can end up making you more vulnerable to them. We all have blind spots that affect the way we view others. Check your bias before you judge someone else.
  • HIDE YOUR PHONE. Don’t just put down your phone, put it away. New research suggests that the mere presence of a cell phone can negatively impact the quality of a conversation.

Whether you’re struggling to communicate with your kid’s teacher at school, an employee at work, or the people you love the most—Headlee offers smart strategies that can help us all have conversations that matter.



Buy your copy at: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee is the host of the daily news show On Second Thought on Georgia Public Broadcasting. She has spent more than a decade with National Public Radio and has been a host for Public Radio International since 2008. Celeste has appeared on CNN, the BBC, PBS, and MSNBC. She’s also a classically trained soprano who doesn’t get enough time to sing anymore. She has one son and one rescue dog and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Find out more about Celeste at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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