Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It (Paperback)
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER • An award-winning psychologist reveals the hidden power of our inner voice and shows how to harness it to combat anxiety, improve physical and mental health, and deepen our relationships with others.
LONGLISTED FOR THE PORCHLIGHT BUSINESS BOOK AWARD • “A masterpiece.”—Angela Duckworth, bestselling author of Grit • Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Adam Grant, and Daniel H. Pink’s Next Big Idea Club Winter 2021 Winning Selection
One of the best new books of the year—The Washington Post, BBC, USA Today, CNN Underscored, Shape, Behavioral Scientist, PopSugar • Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Shelf Awareness starred reviews
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.
About the Author
Ethan Kross, PhD, is one of the world’s leading experts on controlling the conscious mind. An award-winning professor in the University of Michigan’s top ranked Psychology Department and its Ross School of Business, he is the director of the Emotion & Self Control Laboratory. He has participated in policy discussion at the White House, and has been interviewed about his work on CBS Evening News, Good Morning America, and NPR’s Morning Edition. His pioneering research has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New England Journal of Medicine and Science.
“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.”—The Guardian
“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.”—CNN
“You know that voice in your head, the one that cheers you on . . . or cuts you down? Psychologist Kross explains how to quiet your inner Debbie Downer and harness self-talk for success.”—People
“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.”—USA Today
“[An] instructive guide to both normalizing anxiety and distancing ourselves from it.”—Harvard Business Review
“Fresh and riveting, Chatter is a masterpiece—a landmark book that will change the way you think about human nature. 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 groundbreaking 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.”—Adam Grant, bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife
“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, author of Mindset
“Ethan 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
“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.”—Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of When and Drive
“Ethan Kross illuminates and solves the crucial issue of mastering self-talk in this modern classic. Compulsively readable and refreshingly original.”—Dave Evans, bestselling author of Designing Your Life
“Stimulating . . . 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.’”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)