Bullet Point Book Summary: You’re Not Listening By Kate Murphy

Bullet Point Book Summary: You’re Not Listening By Kate Murphy


This is a bullet point per chapter book summary of You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy.


Chapter 1

  • The ability to listen to anyone has been replaced by shutting people who disagree with us or don’t get to the point fast enough.
  • People get lonely for lack of listening and being heard.
  • Studies have linked loneliness to heart disease, stroke, dementia, and poor immune function.
  • Generation Z–the first generation raised on screens–have reported that they are in worse health than other generations, including the elderly.
  • 1% or 90-9-1 Rule: 90% of users just observe and do not participate, 9% comment or contribute sparingly, 1% create most of the content.
  • Most active users of social media tend to: a) believe the world is entitled to their opinion; b) have time to routinely express it.

Chapter 2

  • Bad listening behaviors are:
    • Interrupting
    • Responding vaguely or illogically to what was being said
    • Looking around the room or at the phone when talked to
    • Fidgeting
  • Hearing is passive, listening is active.
  • Who we listen to shapes how we think and react.
  • Attachment theory: our ability to listen and connect with people as adults are shaped by how well our parents/caretakers listened and connected with us as children.
    • Secure attachment (attentive + responsible caregivers) –> stable, meaningful relationships and ability to listen empathetically.
    • Secure anxious attachment (not dependable caregivers) –> worry and obsess about relationships. Do not listen well because concerned about losing people’s attention and affection.
    • Insecure avoidant attachment (inattentive or too attentive caregivers) –> resist listening because doesn’t want to be overwhelmed or disappointed and tends to shut down.
    • Insecure disorganized attachment (threatening/abusive caregiver) –> anxious and avoidant. Illogical and erratic.
  • Often people try to seek or create childhood circumstances.
  • To be understood as people with thoughts, emotions, and intentions that are unique, valuable, and deserving of attention is what we all crave.

Chapter 3

  • Secure base –> having someone in life who listens to you and who you feel connected to. Then you will feel safe stepping out into the world and interacting with others. 
  • Everyone is interesting if you ask the right question.
  • Uncertainty makes us feel most alive.
  • Good news, financial rewards, and gifts are more enjoyable if they are surprises.

Chapter 4

  • Dunbar’s Number: limit number of people one can realistically manage in a social network is around 150 people.
  • What you tell and how much you tell depends on how well you perceive the listener is listening at the moment. It doesn’t have anything to do with the type of relationship or degree of closeness.
  • Expecting complete understanding is the root of many troubled relationships.
  • Through social media, it is important to note that what we know is the persona, not the person.
  • When people feel insecure they tend to overdramatize or go through more extreme lengths to get attention.

Chapter 5

  • People want the sense that we know how much an event means to them emotionally, rather than us showing them how much we understand the details of the story.
  • In a conversation, people rarely tell you something unless it means something to them.
  • The world is easier to navigate if we remember that people are governed by emotions. We act and react because we feel something.
  • Things to consider when you leave a conversation:
    • What did I just learn about that person?
    • How did that person feel about what we were talking about?
    • What was the most concerning to that person today?
  • Good listener is someone who is open to hearing someone else’s experiences and ideas and acknowledges their point of view.

Chapter 6

  • An average person talks around 120-150 words per minute.
  • Smart people are often bad listeners because they come up with more alternative things to think about and assume they already know what the other person will say.
  • People with higher IQ tend to be more neurotic and self-conscious, this means increased worry and anxiety.
  • Repaired rifts are the fabric of relationships rather than patches on them. The people who we are closest to in our life have come back after a fight and made it right.

Chapter 7

  • Your internal stance should be one of curiosity.
  • When our deeply held beliefs or positions are challenged, it feels like an existential threat, and under fMRI parts of brain lit up as if being chased by a bear.
  • When you feel like you are going to react with hostility to those who disagree with you –> Take a deep breath and ask a question to truly expand your understanding of where they are coming from.
  • We only become secure in our convictions by allowing them to be challenged.
  • People with overactive amygdala –> higher chance to suffer from anxiety and depression.
  • Negative Capability: capable of being in uncertainties, mystery, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact or reason.

Chapter 8

  • Asking “Why” tends to make people defensive, like they have to justify themselves.
  • What matters in life cannot be counted.
  • Humans will surprise you. Our way of thinking and the paths we take in life are hard to fathom and difficult to forecast using a reductive formula.

Chapter 9

  • Instead of thinking, “This person is a jerk and out for themselves.” Think, “This person is struggling to be seen, it all boils down to insecurity.” Their concern is they are not enough so they use whatever tactic they think will work.
  • Humor is an asset in forming and maintaining relationships both professional and personal.
  • Funny is a by-product of honesty, intimacy, and familiarity.
  • Dating = getting to know someone well enough to laugh together.

Chapter 10

  • The more people you listen to, the more aspect of humanity you will recognize and better your gut instinct will be.
  • Lack of emotional resonance is what makes normal conversation dull and boring.
  • Intimacy cannot be forced. Try to find out what excites and respect boundaries.
  • Knowing oneself  and one’s vulnerabilities is important in order to be a good listener.
  • We only really know ourselves, we incorrectly assume other people’s logic and motivations resemble our own.
  • A good listener is better at deceiving and detecting deceit.

Chapter 11

  • How you talk to yourself affects how you hear other people.
  • Our inner voice comes from listening to people in our lives but also influenced by voices we regularly hear in the media.

Chapter 12

  • The worst questions are the ones that are never asked.
  • Human beings are brimming with emotion. It can be too much to handle someone’s inner chaos when we can barely cope with our own.
  • Good interactions must outnumber negative ones 5:1 for a relationship to succeed.
  • People aren’t looking for solutions, they just want a sounding board. Ask open and honest questions (no agenda of fixing, saving, advising or correcting).
  • The solutions to problems are already within people, we can help them access how best to handle things just by listening.
  • Good listeners are good questioners.

Chapter 13

  • For right handed people, langauge comprehension is better and faster when heard in the right ear vs. left ear. The other way for left-handed people.
  • For right handed people, left ear has an advantage when it comes to recognition of emotional aspect of speech. The other way for left-handed people.
  • When people tilt so that left ear is up (for right handed people), it means they are tapping into more emotional parts of themselves.
  • 5% of emotional content of a spoken message is transmitted non-verbally.
  • People who are raised by emotionally flat parents/parents who were depressed or angry all the time have issues reading full range of facial expressions.
  • People bring up emotional topics while driving, cooking or doing other task because the lessening of visual cues keep them going into sensory overload.
  • Talking on the phone is better than text or email, as much as 38% of someone’s feelings and attitude are conveyed by tone of voice.

Chapter 14

  • From year 2000, the average attention span dropped from 12 –> 8 seconds. Goldfish have an attention spand of 9 seconds.
  • After listening to faster paced speech, people have greater difficulty maintaining attention when addressed by someone who talks normally.
  • The presence of phone on the table makes those sitting around the table more disconnected and less inclined to talk about anything important or meaningful.
  • Increased noise make diners overeat and make less healthy food choices in a restaurant.
  • Average soud decibels at restaurants in the US is 80 decibels (average conversation is 60 decibels) with trendy restaurant 90 decibels.
  • The ability to multitask is a delusion. Each input degrade attention.
  • Family eating together and sharing story has been found to decrease substance abuse, teen pregnancy, depression and improve kid vocabulary, GPA, resilience and self-esteem.

Chapter 15

  • When you hear people’s stories, you tend to want to do right by them.
  • Being able to sit comfortably in silence is a sign of secure relationship. Higher status people also not likely to get agitated by gaps in conversations due to feeling of security in their position.
  • Silence of just 4 seconds are enough to make people change the nuance of their expressed opinion, taking silence to mean taht their views are out of line.
  • Silence is what allows people in.

Chapter 16

  • The more shocked or upset you are by gossip, the more likely you will learn a lesson from it.
  • Listening to gossip is an intelligent activity and essential to adaptation.
  • Despite widely held belief that gossip is mostly malicious, only 3-4% is truly mean spirited.
  • Not everything needs to be said as you are feeling it, sometimes it is better to say it when you’re not feeling it quite so strongly.
  • Regret is the second most common emotional state, after love.

Chapter 17

  • Conversational expectations:
    • The truth
    • To get information we don’t already know, but not so much that we are overwhelmed.
    • Logical flow
    • Speaker to be brief and orderly
  • If you are not good at reading people’s reaction, check in. “Are you still with me?” “Have I overstep?”
  • When someone listens to you, it might feel so much like love, some people may not know then difference.
  • Listen to opposing side like you are going to write a newspaper or magazine article about them.
  • Those who were given the opportunity to have their say and have an explanation have been found to be less aggrieved – on ghosting.




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