Scientific American presents Savvy Psychologist by Quick & Dirty Tips. Scientific American and Quick & Dirty Tips are both Macmillan companies.

Savvy Psychologist: This week we’ll talk about how to talk to strangers and with us is the expert. Brandon Stanton is the creator, photographer, and interviewer behind the acclaimed and wildly popular blog, Humans of New York. His new book is Humans of New York: Stories. Brandon, thank you so much for being on the show.

Brandon Stanton: Thank you.

SP: People are truly moved by your work. Plus, they love it. You have 16 million likes on Facebook and, as of a few weeks ago, two #1 New York Times bestsellers. Why do you think Humans of New York is so compelling?

BS: I think there is a sort of paradox of one seeing a picture of somebody on the blog that you do not know and that you have never met before and represents a stranger to you, but then at the same time, you’re hearing a story or a quote from them that is very intimate and very revealing and is indicative of something that they might only tell their best friend or someone very close to them. And so I think that combination of seeing a photo of somebody that you know nothing about except for this—one kind of very vulnerable or intimate piece of information—is a very powerful combination.

>> Continue reading on