Tuesday, July 19, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: "What the Dog Saw"

What the Dog Saw
and other adventures
By Malcolm Gladwell
Copyright 2009
Little, Brown & Company

Some of you may remember the book The Tipping Point that I recently reviewed. What the Dog Saw and other adventures is by the same author, Malcolm Gladwell, and he delivers yet again. This book is a collection of articles Gladwell wrote for The New Yorker magazine.

This collection of non-fiction observations about the world around us is eye-opening. Each article is like a story of life, pinging the nail right on the head. From stories about what makes a great infomercial salesman to why there is only one kind of ketchup, Gladwell discusses minor genius in a way that will really make you think.

The section on predictions goes into detail regarding the Enron scandal, the problems of homelessness and plagiarism. My favorite from this section was The Art of Failure, a discussion of why some people choke and some people panic, with the leading example of the famous tennis player, expected to win, hitting one bad shot and then another and then another because she choked.

The last section, on intelligence was absolutely my favorite section! Every topic here was interesting to me. Subtopics in this section include "Criminal Profiling Made Easy", "What Pit Bulls Can Teach Us About Crime" and "How Do We Hire When We Can't Tell Who's Right for the Job?", among others. I most especially enjoyed the piece entitled "The Talent Myth: Are Smart People Overrated?", another story using Enron as the example.

I think what makes Gladwell's books so interesting is that he takes something you already know about, turns it on it's head, and tells you about it from a completely different perspective. Not only is it the ultimate "looking at something in a way you didn't before", it really is "looking at something in a way you never dreamed of looking at it".

I would recommend this, and other Gladwell books, to anyone who likes to think, and especially to those who like, and have the ability, to think outside the box.

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