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  • Writer's pictureDavid de Souza

Small Talk Summary

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

This one, the short book contains more wisdom and worldly life lessons than all history textbooks I encountered in school. This book should be required reading for voting in an election.

Want to dig deeper than the core principles? Check out my notes in Roam Research and see how the principles from this book connect with other books I've read.


Core Principles:

I have summarized 'Small Talk', distilling the book into 10 core principles:

  1. Be confident and forget about the fear of rejection.

  2. 70-80% of communication is non-verbal. Your appearance will have a huge effect on how you are perceived

  3. As you leave, highlight something the person said that was of interest and any shared interests.

  4. Being confident = Being charismatic.

  5. Use pauses when you speak to appear more charismatic and confident.

  6. We are defensive against people with ulterior motives and being surprised. Preframing will put people at ease and avoid their defensive mechanisms being raised. For example: "Excuse me, I know this is a little random but..."

  7. "People don't really care how fascinating you are. They care about how fascinating you think they are!"

  8. Our attention is caught when we hear our name. Repeat the person's name back to them when you hear it. This will help you to remember it and also make them feel good.

  9. Observe the person as they are, not as you want them to be. Empathize with their behavior. This brings acceptance and understanding and makes people want to talk to you.

  10. If you alter how you speak, you change how people think. For example: voters support "estate tax" but not a "death tax"&"Gaming" is more elegant and preferable to "gambling"


Let me know how these summaries can be improved? Contact me via Email ( or on Twitter.

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