Named one of The Fifteen Best Shareable Books of 2009
Most of us walk through life interacting with people who skirt the edges of our social circles without realizing that they’re as important as our intimates. They punctuate our days, but we take them for granted: our coffee person and car mechanic, our coworkers and fellow volunteers, a golf buddy, a teacher, and most of our Facebook “friends.” They are all consequential strangers –- people who bring novelty and information into our lives, allow us to exercise different parts of ourselves, and open us up to new opportunities. They keep us healthy and are invaluable when we’re sick. They fuel innovation and propel social movements, and hasten the flow of new ideas. And they are vital in times of uncertainty.
In this unprecedented examination of “people who don’t seem to matter,” journalist Melinda Blau develops a concept sparked by the research of her collaborator, psychologist Karen L. Fingerman, Ph.D., who coined the term consequential strangers. Drawing as well from cutting-edge findings in social networking, psychology, sociology, marketing, and communication, and more than two hundred interviews with specialists and lay people, the book presents compelling stories of individuals and institutions, past and present. A rich portrait of our new social landscape—on and off the Internet—Consequential Strangers presents the science of casual connection and chronicles its surprising impact on business, creativity, the work environment, our physical and mental health, and the strength of our communities. Perhaps most important, the book inspires us to see all our relationships in a new light.
The Consequential Strangers blog by Melinda Blau offers follow-up stories, new adventures, answers to readers’ questions, and ways to make the most of your connections.
Also….check out–and join–the discussion group on Facebook.
Consequential Strangers is now in bookstores and available online:
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