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Book Review: Malcolm Gladwell’s What The Dog Saw

October 27, 2009

I’m a big Malcolm Gladwell fan. I’ve pre-ordered each of his books. I emailed him once, and I was at one point following his very infrequently updated Twitter feed. 

And his latest book, What the Dog Saw, doesn’t dissapoint. It’s not Blink, or outliers, in the sense that it’s not a novel, but a collection of his best pieces from the New Yorker. And ordinarily, I hate when authors do this. “Hey, did you like reading this in a magazine? Pay for it in book form now.” (I’m looking at you Peter King.)

But What The Dog Saw is better than that. Gladwell is one of the few authors so talented that he can pull off a “greatest hits collection.” And each essay is like a miniature version of Blink, Tipping Point or Outliers. Extremely detailed research, with theories on “why things are the way they are.” That actually may have been the working title of WTDS.

The articles themselves are classic Gladwell. I don’t care about the evolution of Hair Color advertising, but I was fascinated by Gladwell’s portrayal of it.

I never stopped to think about why Heinz Ketchup is one of the few brands that has never been challenged, but Gladwell answered that question for me as well.

Basically, reading this book is like spending an afternoon with the smartest person you know, just hanging out. I feel like this is the kind of things that would come out in a bar-room conversation between two friends (provided they were both Nobel Laureates). Hey man, I know this guy who works for Pepsi and this is why they’ve never been seriously challenged by a private label cola.

In fact, If I’m ever single again, I’ve promised myself that I’m going to carry a Malcolm Gladwell book with me everywhere I go. It’ll be a great opener.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. sandysays1 permalink
    October 27, 2009 12:39 pm

    After reading your glowing plaudits, this canine is going to read the book!

  2. November 16, 2009 9:21 pm

    Very well done. Is your blog just you writing? Nicely done, Steven.

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