A Good Talk

The Story and Skill of Conversation


By Daniel Menaker

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$25.99 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback $19.99 $25.99 CAD
  2. ebook $9.99 $11.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 13, 2011. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

A stylish, funny and surprising guide to the art of conversation, from one of New York’s foremost literary wits.

A GOOD TALK is an analysis of and guide to that most exclusively human of all activities– conversation.

Drawing on over forty years of experience in American letters, Menaker pinpoints the factors that drive and enliven every good conversation: the vagaries (and joys) of subtext; the deeper structure and meaning of conversational flow; the subliminal signals that guide our disclosures and confessions; and the countless other hurdles we must clear along the way. Moving beyond self-help musings and “how to” advice, he has created a stylish, funny, and surprising book: a celebration of “the most excusively human of all activities.”

In a time when conversation remains deeply important– for building relationships, for relaxing, even for figuring out who we are– and also increasingly imperiled (with Blackberries and texting increasingly in vogue), A GOOD TALK is a refreshing celebration of the subtle adventures of a good conversation.

  • "I might have guessed that Daniel Menaker could talk about talk with the same facility and charm that he can bring to any conversation. Still, A GOOD TALK, his lively analysis of the workings of social speech, comes as a delightful revelation."
    --Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States and author of Ballistics
  • "The art of conversation is in decline, and Daniel Menaker has hastened that decline by writing prose that is so funny, surprising, and habit-forming that the reader is inclined to cancel all social engagements and stay in at night with this book. I don't know about you, but I find it hard to resist an author who compares Socrates to
    Mary Roach, author of Stiff
  • "How can a single book be so learned, so wise, so helpful, and so short? A Good Talk is a great delight."
    Ann Packer, author of The Dive from Clausen's Pier
  • "Just when it seems our society has forgotten how vital it is to our health and well being to have both intimate and public productive conversation, Daniel Menaker brings us "A Good Talk." This intelligent and thoughtful exploration of human communication happens to be very entertaining, but more importantly it provides a roadmap for enhancing your own relationships with good talk."
    Gail Saltz, M.D. Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, and Today Show Contributor

On Sale
Jan 13, 2011
Page Count
240 pages

Daniel Menaker

About the Author

Daniel Menaker has been a part of America’s life of letters for almost forty years. As a writer, he has met and talked to thousands of people about their work and their lives. He is widely read and well versed in psychological literature and practices and, as an editor at Random House, has had countless meetings and other exchanges with writers, agents, public figures, and ordinary people. His own writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and Slate; he lives in New York with his wife and their two children.

Learn more about this author