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I Never Thought of It That Way

How to Have Fearlessly
Curious Conversations in
Dangerously Divided Times

We think we have the answers, but we need to be asking a lot more questions. 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.

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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

“In clear and lively exposition, Mónica shows how urgently we need to return to our basic curiosity about how people think and feel, and offers the sensible, straight-talk toolkit that
can get us there.”


—SHERRY TURKLE, professor at MIT and New York Times bestselling author of Reclaiming Conversation and The Empathy Diaries

 

 

“The lessons of this book will improve all your personal and professional relationships—guaranteed—and might even
save America.”

 

—MARKOS MOULITSAS, founder of Daily Kos
 

 

“Mónica’s tools for understanding without judgment are precisely the ones we need to build a bridge over the chasm—a bridge we must build if we value our democratic republic and our relationships with people we love.”

—BILL BRYANT, former Washington Republican gubernatorial candidate

 

 

“Everyone is losing their minds, but good news—Mónica can help us find them. Whether you’re left, right, center, or you’ve had it with the tribes and labels, this book is your map out
of the madness.”


—BRIDGET PHETASY, writer, stand-up comedian, and host of the YouTube program Dumpster Fire and podcast Walk-Ins Welcome

 

 

“An accessible and practical guide for how to imagine a future that leaves no one behind.”

—VALARIE KAUR, author of See No Stranger and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project

 

 

“A vivid account by someone who has experienced the fracturing of our country more intimately than most, this beautifully crafted narrative takes you inside the most vexing political divisions and makes them understandable.”

—CHRISTOPHER BAIL, PhD, head of the Polarization Lab at Duke University and author of Breaking the Social Media Prism