When I first entered a BookishFirst raffle for this book, I formed a best case and worst case scenario for what the reading experience would be. The best case being that it would be a boon on helping with modern communication and provide excellent information on improving the reader's personal habits. The worst case being that it would be a kind of "kids these days" anti-social media rant. The end result was in the middle.
There were certain aspects that were genuinely helpful. I appreciate the discussion on the use of silence in conversation, including the differences between culture in whether or not silence was appreciated. The discussion between support questions and shift questions is definitely something I'll be thinking about in the future. And the "why aren't you listening?" questions near the end of the conclusion were an interesting take. There are definitely highlights that can help readers looking to improve their communication. The writing style itself was fairly easy to read as well.
There was emphasis on, as one of my college professors put it, "kids these days syndrome." There was discussion about how people of older generations listened so much better than modern generations. And while the author had hard evidence (studies and statistics) for modern generations lack of listening, she had only anecdotal evidence (quotes and stories) for previous generations listening more deeply. It made those sections come across less as a hypothesis founded on research and more as a narrative in which evidence was made to fit.
As for social media, I'm not sure how much the author is aware of the current climate. She made mentions of things like "ghosting" and "Fortnite" but repeatedly made jokes about "speaking in 140 characters" when the character limit on Twitter changed years ago. There was also little to no mention of relationships formed on digital platforms. In fact, the author seemed fairly dismissive of the very concept of people genuinely connecting with each other through social media, making reference to the internet as a "black hole" and how people should spend more time working on "real relationships."
In short, I took this book to be a tips and tricks guide more than a narrative on the current cultural climate. But if you're looking to improve your listening, there is use to get out of it.