Dwelling on Malcolm Gladwell

Something nice about the way ‘dwell’ and ‘Gladwell’ fit, I feel! 

I was at Malcolm Gladwell Live last night. I’m a big fan of his writing, especially these recent articles of his in the New Yorker: the one one late bloomersthe one on big ideas and the one on the uses of adversity. I also liked what he had to say at the 2008 New Yorker Conference about the challenge of hiring in the modern world, as well as his TED discourse on happiness via spaghetti sauce (if that sounds harebrained, it isn’t!). So yes, you get it. I’m a fan. 

About yesterday, I can say this: the guy is entertaining. He is not a performer par excellence or anything, but there’s something to be said for the way he weaves his anecdotes into his main thesis, which in this case was based on his new book The Outliers. The essence of the book is that where you come from – your background and your culture, determine the way you communicate, even if you are unaware of it. Most of his talk centred around a particular instance of a Colombian plane crashing in New York in 1990 – I guess you’ll have to read the book to know more (am I selling his book or aren’t I!!). Initially I thought he was saying what Nassim Nicholas Taleb says about the probability of the improbable, but soon enough Gladwell’s point veered far enough from that to stand on its own. I don’t think the ENTIRE book will be have anything radically novel to say, especially if you’ve read most of the stuff he writes. Bits of it might. I think it will be well worth a read anyway, given his style of writing. I’m pretty sure I’ll read it – I’ll wait for the book to come out in paperback though. 

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