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One of the Best New Books
The Washington Post, CNN, USA Today, BBC, People Magazine, Amazon Books, Apple Books, POPSUGAR, Shape, Behavioral Scientist, Greatist, Mindbodygreen
Winter 2021 Winning Selection
Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Adam Grant, and Daniel H. Pink’s Next Big Idea Club
An award-winning psychologist reveals the hidden power of our inner voice and shows how we can harness it to live a healthier, more satisfying, and more productive life.
Tell a stranger that you talk to yourself, and you’re likely to get written off as eccentric. But the truth is that we all have a voice in our head. When we talk to ourselves, we often hope to tap into our inner coach but find our inner critic instead. When we’re facing a tough task, our inner coach can buoy us up: Focus—you can do this. But, just as often, our inner critic sinks us entirely: I’m going to fail. They’ll all laugh at me. What’s the use?
In Chatter, acclaimed psychologist Ethan Kross explores the silent conversations we have with ourselves. Interweaving groundbreaking behavioral and brain research from his own lab with real-world case studies—from a pitcher who forgets how to pitch, to a Harvard undergrad negotiating her double life as a spy—Kross explains how these conversations shape our lives, work, and relationships. He warns that giving in to negative and disorienting self-talk—what he calls “chatter”—can tank our health, sink our moods, strain our social connections, and cause us to fold under pressure.
But the good news is that we’re already equipped with the tools we need to make our inner voice work in our favor. These tools are often hidden in plain sight—in the words we use to think about ourselves, the technologies we embrace, the diaries we keep in our drawers, the conversations we have with our loved ones, and the cultures we create in our schools and workplaces.
Brilliantly argued, expertly researched, and filled with compelling stories, Chatter gives us the power to change the most important conversation we have each day: the one we have with ourselves.
Praise for Chatter
“There’s something deeply mysterious, even awesome, about our inner voice, the means by which we make ourselves aware of who we are and what we think. Kross has good ideas about how to manage and control this voice…”
— The New Yorker
“Are there right and wrong ways to communicate with yourself, and if so, are there techniques that might usefully be employed by those with inner voices that are just a little too loud?…Kross has found answers to some, if not all, of these questions…[Chatter] could hardly be published at a more opportune moment.”
“Chatter isn’t just thought provoking—it’s thought transforming.”
“This compelling collection of stories examines the power that we have to harness our positive and negative thoughts through the conversations we have with ourselves in silent and the incredible that’s already within us to embrace our highest self.”
“Kross may be a scientist by trade, but with “Chatter” he proves himself a deft storyteller who, through levity and wit, creates an easily digestible work on the brain, how it works and how we can quiet our often relentless chatter.”
“Fresh and riveting, Chatter is a masterpiece—a landmark book that will change the way you think about human nature. Ethan Kross is one part sage, one part mensch, and one part world class psychological scientist. When I need advice, it’s Ethan I call. Now, through Chatter, everyone has a chance to learn about their mind from among the wisest observers I know. Required reading for all.”
— ANGELA DUCKWORTH, bestselling author of Grit.
“Ethan Kross isn’t just a world-renowned scientist, he’s an expert storyteller too. In Chatter, he shows why our inner voice is indispensable, and reveals how we can master it. Urgent, lucid and compelling, Chatter is the ground-breaking and transformative book the world needs now.”
— SUSAN CAIN, bestselling author of Quiet.
“This book is going to fundamentally change some of the most important conversations in your life—the ones you have with yourself. Along with being a pioneering psychologist and neuroscientist, Ethan Kross is an unusually gifted writer and storyteller. He shows that instead of trying to silence your monkey mind, you can learn to educate it, motivate it, and even reason with it.”
— ADAM GRANT, bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take.
“I talk to myself. And so do you. Yet this remarkable capacity for introspection can sometimes lead us astray. Ethan Kross has written the definitive work on how to redirect our inner voices away from rumination and self-criticism and toward reflection and self-improvement. CHATTER is a profound and practical book—one that will leave you with both a fresh understanding of yourself and new strategies to live a fuller life.”
— DAN PINK, bestselling author of When and Drive.
“I’ve demonstrated throughout my career how negative thoughts can spiral and undermine people’s success. In Chatter, Ethan Kross weaves cutting edge science with riveting stories to reveal the tools people can use to manage these experiences. Chatter is a truly compelling and valuable book.“
—CAROL DWECK, bestselling author of Mindset.
“Ethan Kross illuminates and solves the crucial issue of mastering self-talk in this modern classic. Compulsively readable and refreshingly original, Chatter will help you win the argument with yourself.”
—DAVE EVANS, bestselling author of Designing Your Life.
“Ethan Kross is a deep and original thinker and a thorough, always thought-provoking researcher. He’s one of the psychologists whose work I always read whenever I see his name.”
—MARIA KONNIKOVA bestselling author of The Biggest Bluff.
“In this deft debut, Kross, director of the University of Michigan’s Emotion & Self Control Laboratory, helps readers better understand what it means to be human…[A] fascinating narrative, fluidly written and packed with insight. [Kross] shows us how we might have better chats with ourselves, ones that make us happier, healthier, and more productive
A book that will truly change minds.”
“Kross, the director of the University of Michigan’s Emotion & Self Control Laboratory, debuts with an eye-opening look at managing ‘the silent conversations people have with themselves’…stimulating.”
— PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review.
“Chatter is a revealing and masterful take on human nature.”
– Amazon Book Review
“In Chatter: The Voice in Our Heads, Why It Matters and How to Harness It, Ethan Kross presents intriguing scientific insight into the private conversations people have with themselves…Readers who are chatter-prone will find many avenues for relief in Kross’s entertaining and highly informative guide.“
– SHELF-AWARENESS, starred review.
Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It is like a balm for an anxious soul. Using a combination of research, scientific grounding and personal experience, Kross writes about an academic subject in layman’s terms while providing down-to-earth, honest advice. His presentation is easy to grasp but never condescending, and his thoughtful inclusion of anecdotes of his own and from others guards against making readers feel intellectually or emotionally intimidated.
– BOOK BROWSE Guide to Exceptional Books, Editor’s Choice.