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Monday, September 3, 2018

Drawn To Complicated Tales

“As a writer, the best mindset is to be unafraid.” – Malcolm Gladwell

While reading my first Malcolm Gladwell book, Outliers: The Story of Success, I couldn’t wait to share things from it with anyone who would listen.  Thus, when Gladwell’s next book, What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures, was released, I rushed to get that one, too, and was not disappointed. 

Gladwell, born on this date in 1963, is a Canadian journalist (born in England) whose books and articles often deal with the unexpected implications of research in the social sciences.  He also makes frequent and extended use of academic work, particularly in the areas of sociology, psychology, and social psychology.  While that might sound dry, it’s absolutely the opposite and some of the most enjoyable and thought-provoking reading you might encounter.

Also optimistic.  “All my books are optimistic,” Gladwell said.  “I wrote my first book when I was in my late 30s, and I had so much optimism to share by that time.”  He said he may have gone through the angst of youth, but he didn’t write about it.     He has written 5 books now and all have been on the New York Times bestseller list.   He has been a regular for The New Yorker since 1996 where most of his stories have originated.

When asked about the process behind his writing, he said "I have two parallel things I'm interested in. One is, I'm interested in collecting interesting stories, and the other is I'm interested in collecting interesting research. What I'm looking for is cases where they overlap.  Actually, I've had the most un-traumatic life a human being can have.  But I've always been drawn to those who have had far more complicated histories.” 

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