Tuesday, 13 April 2010

A book a week in 2010: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell


Malcolm Gladwell is a cultural theorist (and New Yorker journalist). His work is well known: The Tipping Point, Blink, this book - Outliers - and most recently What the Dog Saw. He has an easy way of cutting across complex cultural phenomenons, and kind of making sense of them.

I don't know about you, but I really like to understand who does what and why. It helps me deal with peoples' behaviour. And stops me taking it personally. So Malcolm is someone I have time for.

Outliers is his way of explaining why certain people seem to do better than others. Whether they are ice hockey players in Canada. Or Italian immigrants in the United States. Or really clever people that do well on Who Wants to be a Millionaire despite not having the 'right' background. Or how who you are and where you come from can influence a plane crash.

If you're like me, as with all Gladwell's books, you'll find yourself umming and aahing in recognition and empathy. He's always worth reading to get another take on the world. Bring on The Dog.

[Footnote: I was born in January. According to Gladwell, that should stand me in good stead.]
[Another footnote: I read this on my Kindle. And really enjoyed the experience of looking smart *and* geeky on the tube.]

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