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Literature of Leadership - Chatter

CHATTER: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It. Ethan Kross. (2021, Kindle Edition)


We all have an inner voice that influences our emotions and behavior. But is your inner voice an asset or a liability? Chatter is a fascinating book that reveals the hidden power of our inner voice, and how to harness it to lead healthier, happier and more productive lives. This book is written by Ethan Kross, a self-professed “mind mechanic”, who is an award-winning psychologist and director of the University of Michigan’s Emotion and Self Control Laboratory. Through the presentation of illuminating stories drawn from his own life and the lives of others (including many well-known figures), Kross unravels some of the great mysteries of the mind, and offers proven strategies for harnessing the benefits of self-reflection and introspection to improve one’s own life as well as support others.


Each of the seven (7) chapters highlights significant discoveries that research has revealed about how to constructively channel one’s inner voice. Although the book cites myriad studies, Kross deftly uses the art of storytelling, often with humor and wit, to advance his thesis in a compelling, relatable and easy-to-read manner. Through stories about Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal, NBA star LeBron James, to Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and biblical king Solomon (among others), Kross examines the power we have to harness our positive and negative thoughts, as well as techniques for managing our thought processes. Of particular value is the summary of the tips, tools and techniques that is provided as a standalone section at the end of the book. A few examples include:

  • Use of distanced self-talk (use of your name and the second-person “you” to refer to yourself) can help improve one’s performance under stress.

  • Reframe an experience as a challenge that can be managed, rather than as a threat.

  • Writing expressively, such as by journaling, helps to gain distance from the experience and make sense of what happened.

  • Performing a ritual—a fixed sequence of behaviors that is infused with meaning—can create a sense of order and control.

  • Build a board of advisors who are skilled in working through problems.

  • Create order in your environment to create a sense of mental order.


An insightful and thought-provoking read!


Image source: Amazon

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