When Strangers Meet – Kio Stark

When Strangers Meet is a lovely book about the little miracles that happen when you talk to people you don’t know. A simple good morning or hello can suffice for these conversations. Of course, the book reminds you that you shouldn’t talk to everyone you see, but on a nice day, in a place where you feel safe, even greeting an ordinary person can change both you and that stranger momentarily. I was very interested in When Strangers Meet’s subject, this beautiful TED book, and I’m glad I read it.


When Strangers Meet - Kio Stark

In When Strangers Meet, Stark states that talking to strangers creates intimate emotional bonds. As I read the book, which includes the works of the author and her students, I started to greet more people and at least get a smile from strangers. These little “hello” and “good mornings” make people realize both you and themselves. Most importantly, these little greetings are contagious.

When you read the book and start to greet strangers, you will see that those strangers greet you after a few days. As you see that they are actually ordinary people like us, you will start to feel a little better and feel safe. However, the book emphasizes that racism and the like can disappear with a small hello because these little hellos can sometimes turn into pleasant short conversations and sometimes into friendships that will last a lifetime.

The book does not include major studies but mainly includes examples from the author’s works. However, I liked it because it is a fun and different subject to read. I recommend it if you’re looking for a simple and entertaining non-fiction book. And, hello!

When Strangers Meet - Kio Stark

When Strangers Meet: How People You Don’t Know Can Transform You (TED) – Kio Stark

Discover the unexpected pleasures and exciting possibilities of talking to people you don’t know—how these beautiful interruptions can change you, and the world we share.

When Strangers Meet argues for the pleasures and transformative possibilities of talking to people you don’t know. Our lives are increasingly insular. We are in a hurry, our heads are down, minds elsewhere, we hear only the voices we already recognize and rarely take the effort to experience something or someone new. Talking to strangers pulls you into experiences of shared humanity and creates genuine emotional connections. It opens your world. Passing interactions cement your relationship to the places you live and work and play, they’re beautiful interruptions in the steady routines of our lives. In luminous prose, Stark shows how talking to strangers wakes you up.

Threaded throughout are powerful vignettes from Stark’s own lifelong practice of talking to strangers and documenting brief encounters, along with a deep exploration of the dynamics of where, how, and why strangers come together. Ultimately, When Strangers Meet explores the rich emotional and political meanings that are conjured up in even the briefest conversations and unexpected connections with strangers. Stark renders visible the hidden processes by which we decide who to greet and trust in passing, and the unwritten rules by which these encounters operate. When Strangers Meet teaches readers how to start talking to strangers and includes adventurous challenges for those who dare. 

Kio Stark

Kio Stark is the author of When Strangers Meet, the novel Follow Me Down and the independent learning handbook Don’t Go Back to School. She writes, consults, teaches, and speaks around the world about stranger interactions, independent learning, and how people relate to technology. In other lives, Kio has worked in journalism, interactive advertising, community research, and game design. She has taught about stranger interactions and intimacy and technology and how we mistake technology for people at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. On any given day you might find her traipsing around with a camera that holds film and if you run into her on the street, she will likely talk to you.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

A Non-Fiction a Month

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