Malcolm Gladwell is turning my mind inside out

March 6, 2006

I’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point and Blink in the past few months and cannot speak highly enough for the profound change to my brain this has made. If you read these books you can’t help but to see things in a very different light. I read “The Tipping Point” late last year after I had what I thought was a good idea for a web-enabled product (I still think it’s a good idea and hope to some day find the way to”tip” the idea — as well, and probably more importantly, my partner). Gladwell has a knack for writing on sociology in such a way he crafts every bit the page-turner that (insert latest Oprah Book Club Selection here) is. This is unusual — and makes me hope he’s around for a very long and productive time. Please don’t die Malcolm.“Blink” is a fantastic book. In it, Gladwell looks at how we make decisions and the value of those instantaneous initial flashes we have when we see a thing or situation for the first time. Why do we make these choices? Are they valid? How do we get to the point where we can make them? The book is filled with cases that defy conventional thinking — something he is exceptional at. The expert who can determine whether a marriage will last based on only a few moments of taped, seemingly innocuous conversation, the kouros that wasn’t quite right, and the time Paul van Riper kicked the U.S. Military’s ass in war games in the Gulf, by not relying on the voluminous data.

There are also the cases where the “thin-slicing” (get the book, everyone will be talking about “thin-slicing” in the next year or so) didn’t work. The Amadou Diallo killing is covered in much detail. I’ve never felt so much a part of a shooting since I saw “Resevoir Dogs” in the third row of the theater.

This is the kind of book that makes you need to read more about the individual cases presented — and keep checking gladwell.com (his now blog is a good read) for news of upcoming releases.

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