TED Book: When Strangers Meet
I want to show you how lyrical and profound our most momentary connections can be, to broaden your understanding and deepen your perception of people who are strangers to you. I want you to see the invisible mechanics and meanings of street interactions. I want to give you a new way to be in love with the world.
When Strangers Meet: How People You Don't Know Can Transform You
by Kio Stark
Kio Stark invites you to discover the unexpected pleasures and exciting possibilities of talking to people you don't know. Stark reveals how these simple, surprising encounters push us toward greater openness and tolerance--and also how these fleeting but powerful emotional connections can change you, and the world we share.
Watch the companion TED Talk
Where to buy
About the book
Talking to strangers can wake you up and open your world.
We live in an increasingly insular world. Our heads are down, we're in a hurry, our minds elsewhere. When Strangers Meet argues for the surprising pleasures and transformative possibilities of talking to people you don’t know.
In luminous prose, Stark explores the poetry, politics, and practicalities of talking to people you don’t know. Through years of documenting her own street encounters, Stark found unexpected pleasures, genuine emotional connections, and even liberating moments. She discovered how these brief interactions can make people feel happy, and even understood, and can change how we relate to people who are different from us.
These fleeting interactions are important interruptions in the steady routine of our lives, pulling us into experiences of shared humanity and cementing our relationships to the places we live and work and play. Through astute cultural analysis, emotional exploration, and powerful vignettes from her own lifelong practice of talking to strangers, Stark reveals how these deceptively simple moments can change the way you interact with the world.
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.
Press and reviews
Read Kio's tips for talking to strangers in The New York Times: "5 Ways Total Strangers Can Make Your Trip Better"
Listen to Kio's interview on WYNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show: "Do talk to strangers"
Watch Kio give pointers for talking to strangers on The Atlantic: "If Our Bodies Could Talk"