I am a big fan of the writing, talking, social commentary and hairstyle (possibly no longer extant) of Malcolm Gladwell.
He is a UK-born Canadian who now lives in New York where he has been a staff writer on The New Yorker magazine since 1996. He father was an English university lecturer and his mother a Jamaican psychologist - perfect credentials for his work! His most famous book is probably The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference . I don't know if he coined that phrase but he certainly brought it into popular usage since 2000 when the book was published. It deals with the way very small changes can have big impacts in areas such as epidemiology (the study of the spread of and control of diseases in populations) and crime rates. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking deals with the ways in which gut instinct can provide better results that use of huge amounts of information. Pearl Harbour has been cited as an example of this. The US military had a phenomenal amount of 'intelligence' available and yet did not act; if they had simply read what journalists were writing in the weeks and days before the attack and acted on that, the disaster may well have been avoided.
Outliers; The Story of Success looks at the way many people achieve success in a way that is definitely counter-intuitive. In it he explains why star ice hockey players are usually born in the first three months of the year!
What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures is a collection of his best work from New Yorker magazine.
His books always make interesting reading but there has been academic objections to his style by some, such as Stephen Pinker, who claim he uses poor research and has 'links' to commercially interested parties. I don't know if any of that is true but it does not detract from the huge entertainment and usefulness of his writing.
Click here to see and hear Malcolm in action on Ted Talks
Friday, 27 July 2012
Sunday, 22 July 2012
|The Flame passing by. This lady was not actually running but walking with it. And why not?|
|The twins, Jacob & Zack, foreground, waiting for the Flame to arrive.|
|The procession just before the flame.|
|Arriving at Valentine's House, a local mansion, just after we saw it.|
|.....and home for breakfast!|
Thursday, 19 July 2012
This is the second property in the orange set in my tour around the London Monopoly board.
|The Liberty store in Great Marlborough Street, London|
This is really called Great Marlborough Street in an exclusive part of London's Soho. It was named after John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722) an ancestor of Winston Churchill. It's current claim to fame is as the location of the world-famous store Liberty. The design of the building dates from the fashionable Tudor-revival period of the 1920s although the store was founded in the nineteenth century.
It was famous for exclusive sales of William Morris's Arts & Crafts fabric and wallpaper designs. It is now best known for fashion but to this day, they still sell those designs.
A small turning running off from Great Marlborough Street is Argyle Street where the London Palladium theatre is located.
Wednesday, 11 July 2012
As I am unlikely to start a series called 'Photographer of the Month' I thought I would slip the wonderful Cindy Sherman into this series.
Cindy Sherman is a photographer who specialises in female portraits emulating various iconic images of women. Often they are of famous women and have the deliberate look of being movie-stills based on well-known images. The black and white picture below looks very Hitchcockian to me and the second one is like Doris Day or Debbie Reynolds. I'm not sure about the first one.
Friday, 6 July 2012
The first property in the 'Orange' set in my journey around the London Monopoly board.
|The former Bow Street Magistrates Court|
|The Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden|
As early as 1632 the Drury Lane and Bow Street area became known as 'thieving alley' and, apparently, was increasingly "Troblinge the adjacent areas... by lewdest Blades and female Naughty-packs" I will draw a veil of modesty over that!
The bow-shaped street was set out in 1637 with high-class housing but after the English civil war many fine houses, formerly owned by Royalists lay empty and the area deteriorated once again. After the Battle of Naseby Oliver Cromwell himself moved to live in Bow Street. After the Restoration (of the Monarchy) it became an area where the literati and low-life criminals intermingled in the newly-established coffee-houses.
Next in this series: Marlborough Street