Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Book I have Not Read but Will Read [update]

Gladwell has a new book. Well, a new book of old pieces. The review does a nice job of highlighting Gladwell's strengths. Gladwell is great at juxtapositions, at developing puzzles that draw the reader in. Sometimes, his conclusions are banal, but he presents heaps of interesting information along the way. Tipping Point is a fun book for presenting lots of social science to a wider audience, but realy only tells that things spread depending on the idea, the context and messenger. Blink tells us that our first intuition is often but not always right. Outliers tells us that success depends on timing, hard work, and talent. None of this is really that pathbreaking, but the fun is in the journey from the puzzle to his proposed answers.

The key, I think, is that he makes the reader think, even if he does not persuade the reader that there is a single answer to the puzzle.

Update: It was at Costco today, so it is now third on my reading list behind a John Sandford novel I have almost finished and the autobio of Rick Hillier (former head of the CA armed forces).

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