Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It (Hardcover)
An award-winning psychologist reveals the hidden power of our inner voice and shows how we can harness it to live a healthier, more satisfying, and more productive life.
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.
“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)
“Fresh and riveting, Chatter is a masterpiece—a landmark book that will change the way you think about human nature. Ethan Kross is one part sage, one part mensch, and one part world-class psychological scientist. When I need advice, it’s Ethan I call. Now, through Chatter, everyone has a chance to learn about their inner voice from among the wisest people I know. 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. Along with being a pioneering psychologist and neuroscientist, Ethan Kross is an unusually gifted writer and storyteller. He shows that instead of trying to silence your monkey mind, you can learn to educate it, motivate it, and even reason with it.”—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
“I talk to myself. And so do you. Yet this remarkable capacity for introspection can sometimes lead us astray. 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.”—Dan 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, Chatter will help you win the argument with yourself.”—Dave Evans, bestselling author of Designing Your Life
“[A] fascinating narrative, fluidly written and packed with insight. . . . [Kross] shows us how we might have better chats with ourselves, ones that make us happier, healthier, and more productive. . . . A book that will truly change minds.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A practical, useful guide to quieting one’s inner noise.”—Booklist