A review of


The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in an Endlessly Noisy World

Dan LyonsHenry Holt • 2023

Hitting Mute on a Motormouth

by Patricia Sanders

People who talk too much – humanity’s compulsive talkers, windbags, chatterboxes and motormouths – annoy listeners, alienate friends and frequently sabotage their careers, relationships and well-being. Journalist Dan Lyons takes a deep dive into overtalking, helping you to understand the drivers of “talkaholism” – and how you can tame your tongue.

Overtalkers are everywhere. Do you have a pesky colleague who bores people with trivial details? Or do you know someone who constantly interrupts conversations to share unsolicited personal opinions? Maybe you yourself are an overtalker.

Dan Lyons admits he is a recovering overtalker: He would speak too much and out of turn, blurt inappropriately, and share his opinion, whether it was solicited or not. As a writer, being a motormouth sometimes worked in his favor: Journalists can often get away with stating unwelcome truths, and Lyons’s sense of humor, combined with a quick tongue, led to a gig writing for the HBO comedy Silicon Valley. But when he pursued a marketing role for a software start-up, his inability to bite his tongue cost him his job – along with an estimated $8 million in stock options.

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