Vox Tablet

Talking Shop

A philosopher and a professional schmoozer discuss the art of conversation

January 11, 2010
Joshua Halberstam (left) and Daniel Menaker(Tablet montage)
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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Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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