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Talking Shop

A philosopher and a professional schmoozer discuss the art of conversation

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Joshua Halberstam (left) and Daniel Menaker(Tablet montage)

  Daniel Menaker is a good talker. He has to be; the former New Yorker fiction editor and Random House executive editor-in-chief has long been highly sought for schmoozing opportunities of all sorts. In a freewheeling new book, A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation, Menaker writes about both why he believes conversation matters and the elements that make for a good conversationalist. (Curiosity, humor, and impudence, he says, are key.) For Vox Tablet, we asked him to have a chat with Joshua Halberstam, a philosopher and the author of Schmoozing, about private conversations among American Jews. It was Menaker and Halberstam’s first meeting, but it turned out they had a lot to say to each other, on topics ranging from ultra-Orthodox demographics to logical positivism.

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jeremy says:

a great conversation about conversation.

Shalom Freedman says:

This was a very polite conversation in which the two people involved had the consideration and courtesy to actually read the book of the other, and know something about what the other thought and felt beforehand. There was no fundamental disagreement and in fact I sensed the effort on the part of both to be agreeable and friendly.
A nice conversation though not the most exciting in the world.


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Talking Shop

A philosopher and a professional schmoozer discuss the art of conversation

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