Journalist Mónica Guzmán is the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who voted—twice—for Donald Trump. When the country could no longer see straight across the political divide, Mónica set out to find what was blinding us and discovered the most eye-opening tool we’re not using: our own built-in curiosity.
Partisanship is up, trust is down, and our social media feeds make us sure we’re right and everyone else is ignorant (or worse). But avoiding one another is hurting our relationships and our society.
In this timely, personal guide, Mónica, the chief storyteller for the national cross-partisan depolarization organization Braver Angels, takes you to the real front lines of a crisis that threatens to grind America to a halt—broken conversations among confounded people. She shows you how to overcome the fear and certainty that surround us to finally do what only seems impossible: understand and even learn from people in your life whose whole worldview is different from or even opposed to yours.
Drawing from cross-partisan conversations she’s had, organized, or witnessed everywhere from the echo chambers on social media to the wheat fields in Oregon to raw, unfiltered fights with her own family on election night, Mónica shows how you can put your natural sense of wonder to work for you immediately, finding the answers you need by talking with people—rather than about them—and asking the questions you want, curiously.
In these pages, you’ll learn:
• How to ask what you really want to know (even if you’re afraid to)
• How to grow smarter from even the most tense interactions, online or off
• How to cross boundaries and find common ground—with anyone
Whether you’re left, right, center, or not a fan of labels: If you’re ready to fight back against the confusion, heartbreak, and madness of our dangerously divided times—in your own life, at least—Mónica’s got the tools and fresh, surprising insights to prove that seeing where people are coming from isn’t just possible. It’s easier than you think.
Average rating from 4 members
I found this book immensely thought-provoking and valuable. It's the kind of book that loses something when you read it on a Kindle, because you want to be underlining passages and jotting down your reactions in the margins. Mónica Guzmán is a liberal journalist; her parents, who are Mexican immigrants, enthusiastically voted for Trump twice. She thinks our political divide is, at its source, less an issue of disinformation and more about a lack of cross-functional conversations and connections, and she's put her money where her mouth is, both with this book and with her organization, Braver Angels. Something that stuck with me from 'I Never Thought of it That Way' is the importance of not assuming that people know and care about the same things you do and that they're actively choosing to reject your values if they vote for a different candidate (e.g., "I care about anti-racism so I voted for [X]. This person voted for [Y], who I believe is actively racist, so they must be racist - or at least not care that [Y] is"). The story about people in a rural, conservative county explaining that they voted for Trump because federal regulations like the Waters of The United States rule were threatening their livelihoods jumped out at me. Like the liberal listeners that day, I'd never heard of that policy, but it was incredibly relevant to their lives. My votes for Clinton and Biden were a lot of things, but they were in no way endorsing WATUS because I didn't even know what it was. So if that's the case for me, isn't it possible it's true for folks on the other side, too? My criticism of this book is that it was framework-heavy and story-light. While I really am intrigued by the idea of embracing curiosity and perspective-taking to connect and catalyze "I never thought of it that way" moments, the political divide these days truly feels so gaping I can't help but be a little skeptical. With that in mind, I wish Guzmán would have focused a little less on *how* to do it - I started to feel inundated by acronyms and action plans halfway through - and more on *why* it's important, with real stories of its effectiveness. I loved the first half of the book because it highlighted those stories, but I felt like the second half was lacking. I also feel like the moral imperatives weren't discussed enough. As someone with close friends who have been harmed in both passive and active ways for who they are by people on the other side of the divide - is prioritizing understanding them in some way invalidating or dismissing the people I care most about? I kept waiting for the book to address that. All that said, I will definitely be purchasing a hard copy when it comes out, because I see this as a book to return to.
I loved this book because I feel like I am at the point in my life where I keep learning new things by asking myself "what am I missing?" and drawing from her journalism background, Monica shares insights on how to have tough conversations, or more so how to make some headway in a deeply divided situation. In the blurb the book promises that in reading it you’ll learn: • How to ask what you really want to know (even if you’re afraid to) • How to grow smarter from even the most tense interactions, online or off • How to cross boundaries and find common ground—with anyone Above all, I feel like this is good for a general audience who have the patience to get through each chapter- to build upon each tenet as she shares in the book, what's great is that she delves into the conversations we have online and how a tweet or comment can trigger such furious remarks and cause so much division. It's an interesting book, a challenging one when it comes to perspective and the stories we tell ourselves. Thanks Netgalley for the eARC