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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of The Bomber Mafia focuses on "minor geniuses" and idiosyncratic behavior to illuminate the ways all of us organize experience in this "delightful" (Bloomberg News) collection of writings from The New Yorker.

What is the difference between choking and panicking? Why are there dozens of varieties of mustard-but only one variety of ketchup? What do football players teach us about how to hire teachers? What does hair dye tell us about the history of the 20th century?

In the past decade, Malcolm Gladwell has written three books that have radically changed how we understand our world and ourselves: The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. Now, in What the Dog Saw, he brings together, for the first time, the best of his writing from The New Yorker over the same period.

Here is the bittersweet tale of the inventor of the birth control pill, and the dazzling inventions of the pasta sauce pioneer Howard Moscowitz. Gladwell sits with Ron Popeil, the king of the American kitchen, as he sells rotisserie ovens, and divines the secrets of Cesar Millan, the "dog whisperer" who can calm savage animals with the touch of his hand. He explores intelligence tests and ethnic profiling and "hindsight bias" and why it was that everyone in Silicon Valley once tripped over themselves to hire the same college graduate.

"Good writing", Gladwell says in his preface, "does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head". What the Dog Saw is yet another example of the buoyant spirit and unflagging curiosity that have made Malcolm Gladwell our most brilliant investigator of the hidden extraordinary.

©2009 Malcolm Gladwell (P)2009 Hachette Audio

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What listeners say about What the Dog Saw

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not Gladwell's best - and a recording problem

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.

159 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Use Audible App to listen at 1.5x

If you're hungry for more Gladwell, this collection delivers. Diverse topics, but only MG can compare mammograms to Scudbusters, and the NFL draft to teacher improvement. I really enjoyed it.

Use the Audible App to listen at 1.5 times the normal playback speed. This is very easy to comprehend at that speed, and you get 50% more information per minute.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gladwell in New Fun-Size!

What made the experience of listening to What the Dog Saw the most enjoyable?

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.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Grueling

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.

65 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Wonderful Compiliation

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.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Compilation of stories without theme or purpose

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.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not unabridged

I love Gladwell, but this audiobook is NOT unabridged as they claim. Million Dollar Murray and part of the next story are not included.

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Some parts were a little slow,

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
Hair dye
Birth control pills - the biggest mistake was using a 28-day cycle
Copying and plagiarizing
The dog whisperer
The Enron culture
The homeless
Car emissions testing
Mammographies
Genius creators in their 20s vs those blooming later in life
Drafting football quarterbacks
Effective teachers
Profiling serial killers
Pit bulls

NARRATOR:
The author narrated this book. His manner and voice were good.

Genre: psychology and sociology nonfiction

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Pleasure

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.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Disapointing

In contrast with the outliers or the tipping point, this book does not have a general theme. It is a collection of a few New Yorker Articles. I don't see any point in republishing the articles as a book. The general ideas can be traced to the blink, the tipping point and the outliers.

9 people found this helpful