Review | Chatter by Ethan Kross

“When supporting others, we need to offer the comfort of Kirk and the intellect of Spock.” 3.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: baseball bats, diaries, teddy bears, distancing, Star Trek, rituals, the power of words and an inner voice.

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.

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.

This was a very insightful and interesting read. This book is focused on how our inner chatter influences our lives positively or negatively – well, according to what we do consciously and unconsciously. I think the most memorable and useful thing I took from this book is how creating some distance with our thoughts helps putting situations in perspective. I never thought very deeply about this until now, but it makes total sense! I know some people who do this unintentionally and it’s very interesting to see their internal dialogue. I’m definitely applying this to my own life!

I like how he showed a lot of studies made by his team and gave real-life examples from other people – and even himself! – to prove his points.

Another thing I also loved was how the author mentioned how important it is to take walks and look at green (trees, bushes, plants). I already read some books that said the same thing about the power of nature, and I’m very glad he mentioned this as well because I think it’s something we overlook often. 

It’s a very nice book that touches a lot of important topics. It was nice to review some of the concepts and also learn a few new perspectives coming from the stories and studies presented. I recommend the audiobook version for this. It’s a great way of working on yourself while doing a mindless task such as driving or cleaning!

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