‘Chatter’ Offers Science and Advice on Harnessing Your Inner Voice

Chatter Ethan Kross
U-M professor & local author, Ethan Kross, is pictured here with his wife & two daughters.

We took the time to review Chatter: The Voice in Our Heads, Why it Matters, and How to Harness It, by Ethan Kross.

With the intention of hitting the “refresh” button in a new year, it’s natural to shift your focus to personal growth. And, after the devastation that 2020 brought, 2021 has a lot of pressure to provide positive change.  

As I personally take on the challenge to have a more positive outlook this year, I have searched for impactful books to keep in my arsenal of self improvement tools. Although I’m not generally one to fill bookshelves with self-help books, I’m also not averse to reading about ways to improve oneself, especially with regards to parenting better.  

Cut to me reading the book, Chatter, by local Ann Arbor author (and UM professor) Ethan Kross. And I’m very thankful I did.  

The book is a refreshing take on that voice everyone hears inside their heads. Kross explains why that voice is important and then provides specific strategies to teach your inner voice to work for you, not against you.  

For me, my inner voice seems to be loudest as I try to fall asleep. The more I try to process what it’s saying to me, the faster it seems to speak (including thoughts on homeschooling three elementary-aged kids, but that’s an article for another time). This isn’t exactly a recipe for restful sleep.

According to the book, how you hear your inner voice can affect how you manifest stress and success in your life. That voice even has the power to cause you physical pain.

It’s been a long time since I read a book that felt like it was speaking to me. Chatter did just that. And, not just because I listened to it as an audio book (Although, I do recognize the irony of listening to a book about your inner voice).

As a constant skeptic, it’s comforting how Kross presents the book. He weaves in the research behind the methodology, providing you with science-based strategies for coping with stress. However, he presents it in a way that feels like a fascinating cocktail party anecdote, not a lecture hall presentation.

In other words, he doesn’t make you feel dumb — he explains it in a conversational way. But, the real reason this book spoke to me was that it explained both the “how” as well as the “why” of harnessing your inner voice.

I finished the audio version of the book in just one day (pandemic + 3 kids at home = permanently wearing earbuds).

For the “how” part of Chatter, Kross gives you what he calls a toolbox: tangible, easy to access options for calming the voice in your head.

Chatter Ethan Kross
“Chatter” by Ethan Kross is available now wherever books are sold.

And, “why” does it work? Well…because science. 

Time to test these theories. As if on cue, one of our children begins to meltdown. Online learning strikes again. I took a deep breath and walked over to my child gently putting my hand on her shoulder and giving her a small hug and said, “Let’s go for a walk outside. The homework can wait.”

With a simple walk under snow covered trees, her smile was back. She was able to return to her schoolwork in a calm state. This was astonishing considering 15 minutes prior I was anticipating the sound of a laptop being snapped in half. 

Without fully spoiling the book’s content, I will share that nature is one highly effective tool in calming your inner voice, according to Kross. And, it had worked. 

No book can work miracles, but Chatter provides reasoning and solutions in an easy-to-read and, dare I say, enjoyable format.

As a critic, I’m not generally an easy sell. However, I would recommend this book wholeheartedly. Whether you want to harness your inner voice for work, school, athletics, personal reasons, or to assist your children, the simple strategies are helpful for anyone looking to strengthen your mental output.

And, while you’re helping yourself, you can even support local business. Nicolas Books has Ethan Kross’ book, Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It on shelves now.