Gladwell Has a Hold On Me

Some people think Malcolm Gladwell glib, his arguments too pat. I will readily admit that I am a sucker for what he does and gladly read him. He is the master of taking what you think you know and showing it to you in a different light. The opening chapter of David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and The Art of Battling Giants—a revisionist history of the Biblical battle—is Gladwell showboating, but it’s still a ton of fun to read. I’d buy the book just for that chapter alone. (Spoiler alert: David was of a class of feared artillerymen.)

But then the reader goes on to learn about how, for instance, smaller classrooms aren’t necessarily better for learning, dyslexia can be turned to professional advantage—and you just have to keep reading. Gladwell’s counterintuitive thesis (a trait common to his work) is that perceived advantages and disadvantages are not necessarily actual advantages and disadvantages. It’s self-help dressed up as social science.

And I’ll take it. I can’t wait to see what he does next.