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Atlanta Professor Discovers World Through Talks With Strangers

Neil Shulman, perhaps best known for his book ''Doc Hollywood,'' which became a 1991 film, said he's learned more from other people than he could have ever learned in school or books.
Neil Shulman, perhaps best known for his book ''Doc Hollywood,'' which became a 1991 film, said he's learned more from other people than he could have ever learned in school or books.
Credit Stephannie Stokes / WABE

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We’re often cautioned not to talk to strangers. It’s something that’s engrained in us as kids. 

And yet, here in Atlanta, there is a man, now 70 years old, who goes out of his way to do just that.

Neil Shulman strikes up conversations with strangers at bus stops, in restaurants and at Emory University, where he’s been a professor of medicine for many years, all in an effort to get to know the world better.

“A lot of people have books in them, but they never write them,” Shulman said. “And when you’re talking to somebody, to me, it’s a lot more interesting than actually reading a book because you can choose the chapters that you’d like to discuss.”

In this Atlanta Sounds, WABE joins Shulman as he goes in search of one of these conversations.