The art of listening

On the occasion of my first presentation of my second book ‘VITE ASCOLTATE Confessioni all’Isola d’Elba’ I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Massimo Chioni of the online magazine VISIBILITA.NET.

Here is his personal assessment of the book.

“In a setting suspended between reality and fiction, the work stands out as a mosaic of lives and destinies. Each story, although rooted in authentic experiences told directly to the author, has been skilfully fictionalised and woven into a narrative that captures the reader’s attention from the first to the last page. Immersed in the beautiful atmospheres of the Island of Elba, the book becomes a window on a world in which the emotions, conflicts and passions of the characters come to life. The reader is drawn into a vortex of feelings, from joy to sorrow, from love to loss. And as the pages unfold, it is hard not to be fascinated by the skill with which the author has been able to transform simple tales of life into an epic fresco of humanity, with the Island of Elba acting as a backdrop and silent witness to these passionate tales of life lived“.

After interviewing me, he wrote the following article published on

Knowing how to listen is a fundamental skill that can have a significant impact in both personal and professional life. The art of listening goes beyond simply receiving words; it implies understanding, empathy, attention and respect.

We talked about the importance of knowing how to listen with Pierluigi Panciroli, a manager and writer. His latest book “VITE ASCOLTATE, Confessioni all’Isola d’Elba” landed in bookshops during the summer and is enjoying great success, both with critics and sales. The focus of this book is precisely the art of knowing how to listen. We asked Pierluigi a few questions on this subject, and here are his thoughts.

What does it mean to know how to listen?

In a reality dominated by incessant monologues, the importance of knowing how to listen emerges as a breath of fresh air, a much-needed pause in the tumult of noisy voices that overlap. Just think of what happens on social media: photographs, videos, tik tok, messages and thoughts… each one seems to want to shout louder than the other, trying to stand out in the ocean of opinions, selfies and statements. In this digital cacophony, the individual voice is easily lost, drowned out by the din of the masses.

But in the midst of all this noise, there is incredible power in being the person who chooses to stop and listen. Listening, in this context, becomes a revolutionary act, a silent resistance against the deafening tide of information and self-promotion.

In this context I like to imagine listening as a place, rather than an action, a dimension where empathy and understanding meet, where feeling is as much a physical factor as it is a mental and emotional one.

What value does listening have for you?

People are tired of feeling unheard. In a world where everyone seems to have something to say, we rarely stop to consider the value of what others are trying to communicate. The art of listening, therefore, is not just a matter of courtesy, but a way to build deeper connections, to truly understand the nuances of others’ stories and to enrich one’s own life experience.

In an increasingly connected world, where technology has made it possible to communicate with anyone and at any time, it is paradoxical to realise how isolated and misunderstood we often feel. This dichotomy between connection and isolation highlights the crucial position of listening in the fabric of our relationships and in contemporary society.

“Listening is…” how would you complete this statement?

I think there are different solutions to complete this statement:

Listening is an antidote to superficiality: in the frenzy of our times, dominated by the limited characters of tweets and the ephemeral stories of Instagram, listening emerges as an antidote to superficiality. Really listening requires time and attention, two resources that seem increasingly scarce. Yet, it is precisely through deep and intentional listening that we can penetrate beyond the surface and discover the true essence of people and situations.

Listening is a bridge between loneliness and connection: although we may have thousands of friends on social media, many of us feel lonely. This loneliness can be alleviated when someone listens to us authentically, offering us a space to express our true feelings and thoughts. Listening then becomes a bridge that transforms isolation into genuine connection.

Listening is a form of defence against information overload: we are bombarded with information from all directions. In the midst of this overload, selective listening helps us to filter out what is really important and focus on what is of value to us.

Listening is a revolutionary act of empathy: in a world divided by political, cultural and social tensions, listening can act as a balm, facilitating understanding and tolerance. When we listen with empathy, we put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, seeing the world through their eyes and creating common ground on which to build.

Can we call Pierluigi Panciroli a Storyteller?

I guess I am more of a ‘listener’ than a storyteller in the traditional sense. However, I tried to give voice to these stories and share them with a wider audience, so in that sense, yes, I could be considered a storyteller. It was an intriguing challenge to take these stories, immerse myself in them and then return them in a form that would resonate with readers. I came into contact with so many lives, so many emotions and so many experiences, and it was an immense responsibility to ensure that each story retained its authenticity and heart. For me, writing is not only about creation, but also about custodianship, about respecting the voices that have been shared with me. So, while I may not be a storyteller in the most conventional sense, I strive to be a faithful custodian of the stories that have been entrusted to me, hoping that I have managed to convey a piece of truth, emotion and humanity in every single page of the book.

Where to buy VITE ASCOLTATE, Confessions on the Island of Elba

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