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
Posted by bazza at Friday, July 27, 2012