Talking to strangers & Perception

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Every week, I will have one main topic to cover in the newsletter. I will also include links to some interesting articles, videos, and products I came across during the week.

While I’m usually known for being a tech guy, I will try to cover non-tech topics that you might also find interesting.

Next to that, in this newsletter, I want to have a Q&A section mainly about building products. If you happen to have a question, send it to me by replying to this email, or @ me on twitter, and I will get back to you next week with the best answer I have.

Now back to this week’s newsletter …

Talking to Strangers (Book)

It’s a long time since I read a book written by Malcolm Gladwell, but I heard a lot of good feedback about his new book Talking to Strangers (Goodreads).

The premise of the book is that we humans are really really bad when it comes to understanding other humans.

The book starts and ends talking about an American black woman called Sandra Bland and her interaction with a police officer on the road. This interaction might have started in a kind of normal way, but things escalated quickly because of a series of misunderstandings. 3 days later, Sandra Bland committed suicide while still in prison. After investigating that incident, it had been decided that the police officer should get fired.

It’s easy to attribute this story to racism, but Gladwell tries in the book to dig deeper to find the root cause behind how both of them behaved, and what changes should be introduced to how police officers operate in the US to avoid having more of these incidents in the future.

The book is not only focused on this story. There are many other amazing stories about humans failing to understand that the person they are interacting with every day is a liar or a con. We, humans, are designed to trust everyone else.

My favorite story in the book is about how the American CIA failed to spot double agents in their ranks, and how Cuba was able to trick the CIA that they have everything under control, while actually Cuba was the one in control.

Tip: Listen to the audiobook version. They produced the audiobook in a format similar to the format of podcasts. Production-wise, It’s the best audiobook I have ever listened to.

The Perils of Perception (Research)

I came across this Ipsos research exploring the gap between people’s perceptions and reality.

For each of the 37 countries covered in the research, they asked people from these countries to answer a set of questions about their population, and then a comparison has been made to see how accurate are the answers given.

It’s no surprise that most people gave inaccurate answers, but it’s interesting to see this comparison done across countries.

Speaking of people’s wrong perception of the state of their countries, it’s worth it to mention Hans Rosling’s amazing book Factfulness (Goodreads). If you didn’t read this book already, then you should read it soon. It will correct every wrong statistic and facts you know about the world.

The cool product of the week

Do you watch HBO’s Silicon Valley? you might like this. (not really a product)

TV show of the week

Living With Yourself is a new light comedy series by Netflix. I think you will enjoy it.

That’s it for this week

This was the first issue of this newsletter. I’m looking for feedback. share it with me by replying to this email, or on twitter (@shreef).

Also, remember to send me questions for the Q&A section.

Till next week


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