July 27, 2009
[life] Malcolm Gladwell On The Psychology of Overconfidence‘Running an investment bank is not, in this sense, a game: it is not a closed world with a limited set of possibilities. It is an open world where one day a calamity can happen that no one had dreamed could happen, and where you can make a mistake of overconfidence and not personally feel the consequences for years and years—if at all. Perhaps this is part of why we play games: there is something intoxicating about pure expertise, and the real mastery we can attain around a card table or behind the wheel of a racecar emboldens us when we move into the more complex realms. “I’m good at that. I must be good at this, too,” we tell ourselves, forgetting that in wars and on Wall Street there is no such thing as absolute expertise…’
December 1, 2008
[books] The dumb, dumb world of Malcolm Gladwell … Andrew Orlowski tears into Malcolm Gladwell and fans … ‘Gladwell is a walking Readers Digest 2.0: a compendium of pop science anecdotes which boil down very simply to homespun homilies. Like the Digest, it promises more than it delivers, and like the Digest too, it’s reassuringly predictable. The most famous book Tipping Point, takes an epidemiological view of social trends and throws in a bit of network theory. You won’t draw anything more profound from this than “we’re all connected” – gee! …’
January 21, 2007
[gladwell] Open Secrets — Malcolm Gladwell on Mysteries, Puzzles and Enron … ‘The national-security expert Gregory Treverton has famously made a distinction between puzzles and mysteries. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts are a puzzle. We can’t find him because we don’t have enough information. The key to the puzzle will probably come from someone close to bin Laden, and until we can find that source bin Laden will remain at large. The problem of what would happen in Iraq after the toppling of Saddam Hussein was, by contrast, a mystery. It wasn’t a question that had a simple, factual answer. Mysteries require judgments and the assessment of uncertainty, and the hard part is not that we have too little information but that we have too much.’ [via Kottke]
October 6, 2006
[books] Passing the Gladwell Point — some interesting criticisms of Malcolm Gladwell‘At times, lately, Mr. Gladwell sounds like someone trying to tell other people about something he read once in a Malcolm Gladwell piece, after a few rounds of drinks.’ [via Kottke’s Links]
February 24, 2006
[blogs] Malcolm Gladwell’s Blog‘In the past year I have often been asked why I don’t have a blog. My answer was always that I write so much, already, that I don’t have time to write anything else. But, as should be obvious, I’ve now changed my mind.’ [via Metafilter]
November 18, 2005
[books] Blink: The Movie — Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink to be turned into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio?! ‘…we were curious to hear what [Gladwell] had in mind for the movie. He tells us, “It takes a single character from Blink — Silvan Tompkins — and fashions an entirely new story around him, about what it means to be someone who can read other people’s thoughts.”‘
November 9, 2005
[books] The Curious Case of Malcolm Gladwell — profile of the author Blink‘Henry Finder says that Gladwell’s “real accomplishment is to develop a new genre of journalism — ‘a Gladwell piece.’ Everybody knows what you mean by that — a piece with an argument that is bound together by narrative and character, which often makes you take a second look at things you take for granted…”‘
February 18, 2005
[gladwell] How to Start a Revolution — a digested version of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell‘What must underlie successful epidemics, in the end, is a bedrock belief that change is possible, that people can radically transform their behavior or beliefs in the face of the right kind of impetus. Tipping Points are a reaffirmation of the potential for change and the power of intelligent action. Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push; just in the right place; it can be tipped.’ [Related: More Gladwell Links]
January 10, 2005
[books] It Pays to Trust Your Gut — Wired reviews Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Blink‘[This is] Gladwell’s point: People make instant decisions, and it is possible to learn how to make them good ones. He’s not saying that snap judgments are always good. Instead, he says, when they are backed by experience and knowledge, they can be good.’
October 26, 2004
Human Nature — audio download of Malcolm Gladwell exploring ‘…why we can’t trust people’s opinions — because we don’t have the language to express our feelings. His examples include the story of New Coke and how Coke’s market research misled them, and the development of Herman-Miller’s Aeron chair, the best-selling chair in the history of office chairs, which succeeded in spite of research that suggested it would fail.’
May 27, 2004
[books] Notes from a Talk by Malcolm Gladwell — comments from the author of the Tipping Point. ‘…he says that the bias should be in editing information, not in adding more information.’
April 2, 2004
[book] Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg — one of the New Yorker Articles that formed the basis for Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point … [via Sashinka]

‘Once, in the mid-fifties, on a whim, Lois took the train to New York to attend the World Science Fiction Convention and there she met a young writer by the name of Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke took a shine to Lois, and next time he was in Chicago he called her up. “He was at a pay phone,” Lois recalls. “He said, ‘Is there anyone in Chicago I should meet?’ I told him to come over to my house.” Lois has a throaty voice, baked hard by half a century of nicotine, and she pauses between sentences to give herself the opportunity for a quick puff. Even when she’s not smoking, she pauses anyway, as if to keep in practice. “I called Bob Hughes, one of the people who wrote for my paper.” Pause. “I said, ‘Do you know anyone in Chicago interested in talking to Arthur Clarke?’ He said, ‘Yeah, Isaac Asimov is in town. And this guy Robert, Robert…Robert Heinlein.’ So they all came over and sat in my study.” Pause. “Then they called over to me and they said, ‘Lois’ — I can’t remember the word they used. They had some word for me. It was something about how I was the kind of person who brings people together.” This is in some ways the archetypal Lois Weisberg story.’