Over the past decade, Malcolm Gladwell has become the most gifted and influential journalist in America. In The New Yorker, his writings are such must-reads that the magazine charges advertisers significantly more money for ads that run within his articles. With his number-one best sellers, The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers, he has reached millions of readers. And now the very best and most famous of his New Yorker pieces are collected in a brilliant and provocative anthology.
Among the pieces: his investigation into why there are so many different kinds of mustard but only one kind of ketchup; a surprising assessment of what makes for a safer automobile; a look at how we hire when we can't tell who's right for the job; an examination of machine built to predict hit movies; the reasons why homelessness might be easier to solve than manage; his famous profile of inventor and entrepreneur Ron Popeil; a look at why employers love personality tests; a dissection of Ivy League admissions and who gets in; the saga of the quest to invent the perfect cookie; and a look at hair dye and the hidden history of postwar America.
For the millions of Malcolm Gladwell fans, this anthology is like a greatest hits compilation-a mix tape from America's alpha mind.
©2009 Malcolm Gladwell; (P)2009 Hachette
I really enjoy Malcolm Gladwell's writing, and I do like the stories in this collection. But while these are excellent stand-alone pieces, the collection lacks the punch of his other books (The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers).
Anoher reviewer noted that the audiobook is not unabridged, but that was an error in the recording. I contacted Audible, and they credited my account so I can replace this book with a different one, as two stories are incomplete and another one is missing from the recording. Audible is working with the publisher to correct this issue. If the recording shows a total time of less than 12 hours, it hasn't been fixed yet.
Covering a broad range of topics, from dog whisperers to the Veg-o-Matic, NASA to mustard, and such awesome-sounding topics like risk homeostasis and creeping determinism - Gladwell delivers once again with his series of essays from the New Yorker. He meanders pleasantly from theme to theme, so you're not stuck with any overarching idea for too long, and yet he still manages to put together some incredible comparisons and conclusions. What is the difference between choking in a sport/skill vs panicking, and why would that matter? Why do we have issues connecting dots that lead up to terrorist attacks? What does breast cancer have to do with birth control and third world countries? On top of all that, Gladwell is such a master storyteller that he can make the evolution of condiments fascinating. My only minor complaint is that the Ron Popeil story in the beginning was a bit long and probably a decent story for the middle somewhere, but a bit weak for an opener. The cherry on top is how brilliantly he reads his own stuff. Well played, Sir.
This book contains a wide variety of topics ranging from how hair color ads meshed with womens' views of themselves to an investor who only makes money when the market drops more than expected,to how long it takes to formulate an opinion in an interview to why the Challenger Shuttle disaster occurred. Although, the author is a journalist and not a psychologist he makes astute observations and seems to do his homework to fill out his observations.
These stories have appeared in the New Yorker over the years and are re-presented here. However, there is no real cohesiveness or theme to the book - it is a collection of essentially unrelated observations and stories. Some of the chapters simply tell a story, like Ron Popiel of Ronco fame and others describe how people are promoted. I also found it a bit frustrating at times because an issue was illuminated but then he moves on without any further discussion. For instance, he talks about how hard it is to hire good teachers but there is no discussion over how this situation could be improved.
His observations often provide a different, not generally considered, perspective on the issue. However, mixed in with very interesting insights there are several chapters that are not as interesting. For instance, there is a lengthy discussion over why there are many different kinds of mustards but only 2 ketchups.
The authors other three books, Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers are all better reads than this.
but other parts were very worthwhile.
Malcolm has written some wonderful sociology/psychology books. My favorites are: David and Goliath, Blink, and Outliers. I suggest reading those first. Then if you’re in the mood for more, go for The Tipping Point and this book. Not everything he says is irrefutable fact. Some of his information is anecdotal. But he raises good questions. I think what he says is true, even though opposite or different views may be true. This book is a collection of articles he wrote for the New Yorker magazine in 1996 and later. I like having them together as an audiobook.
Some of the topics are:
Ron Popeil’s products and salesmanship
Heinz catsup runs through all five taste senses: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami - and can’t be beat
Birth control pills - the biggest mistake was using a 28-day cycle
Copying and plagiarizing
The dog whisperer
The Enron culture
Car emissions testing
Genius creators in their 20s vs those blooming later in life
Drafting football quarterbacks
Profiling serial killers
The author narrated this book. His manner and voice were good.
Genre: psychology and sociology nonfiction
This is actually a compilation of work by Malcolm Gladwell previously published in the New Yorker. In part one, he writes about obsessives in a way that opens the eyes. In this section he gives insight into the mind of the "Dog Whisperer". In the second part, Gladwell considers how we might think and see more clearly. In part three he looks at genius and the labor pool - how can we better predict how new hires will perform on the job among other things.
If one has never read after Gladwell, this is a wonderful place to start. It is Gladwell written, wonderfully read by the author, and well worth your time.
I love Gladwell, but this audiobook is NOT unabridged as they claim. Million Dollar Murray and part of the next story are not included.
Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit
I listen to This American Life, The Moth, Stuff You Should Know (podcasts)religiously so I recognized this author's name and have enjoyed his contributions greatly. This book should have been a slam-dunk for me. Wrong. I am a total Science/social/cultural nerd - can't get enough. Each story is interesting on the surface but each hour of hearing about ketchup or hair color was about all I could take. The subject matter was fascinating but so pounded down to the last fiber that I found myself wishing for the excitement of, oh I don't know - counting holes in acoustic ceiling tile. Stick with free podcasts or buy the paperback used online for a buck - not worth a credit in my opinion.
If you've read any of Gladwell's other books, this will sound like a lot of mini-books put together - and that's because that's what this is. I'm a big fan and love the way he puts his arguments. In many of these stories, he doesn't come to a conclusion, but rather (as he puts it in the introduction) tries to engage us in the story and make us think about it. It's wonderful to see how mundane topics that we'd never think twice about can be wonderful stories.
He's also a great narrator of his books.
mostly nonfiction listener
A pleasure from start to finish. Why: A) Gladwell reads his essays, and Gladwell reads just about as well as he writes. B) If you love Gladwell books: Outliers, Blink, Tipping Point (as I do) then you will love this book as well. C) If you gave up your New Yorker subscription (or are just hopelessly behind) here is your chance to read Gladwell's favorite essays from the magazine. D) Gladwell basically invented (at least in my lifetime) the popularizing of social science research. As such, the world is a much better place.
I've read all 3 of Gladwell's prior books and was excited to purchase this one. Its similar to his other books although it gets tedious at points. I've found myself skipping to the next chapter out of boredom with some of the essays. His reading is a little slow and the weird music that suddenly interrupts chapters is distracting. Some chapters/subjects are more interesting than others. All in all an interesting listen, but I'm ready to be done with it.
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