Daily Archives: May 1, 2016

by Malcolm Gladwell

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How much you enjoy the essays in Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw could depend on how much you care about whichever subject he’s discussing. The New Yorker journalist gets praised for the clarity of his prose, but to me it doesn’t matter how accessible the writing is when the topic is ketchup.  I still fall asleep.

I am also unmoved by Gladwell’s stories about successfully marketing hair dye and vegetable slicers and the masterminds behind their advertising campaigns. Sorry, but a tag-team of Stephen King and J. K. Rowling would fail to hold my interest if the topic is peddling mustard.

On the other hand, when Gladwell turns his attention to the psychology of criminal profiling, or to the root cause of homelessness, his counterintuitive conclusions are often surprising and sometimes enlightening.


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