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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Approaching Writing 'Unafraid'

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

I read my first Gladwell book right after having open heart surgery and I have to say that it’s not the best idea when you’re trying to heal.  That’s because it’s difficult to heal when you keep throwing your arms wide apart and saying "Oh my God, I never thought of that!”

That book was Outliers: The Story of Success, and I couldn’t wait to have people visit me while I was recuperating so I could share things from the book with them.

Gladwell, whose newest book has the complex title Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know, was born on this date in 1963.  His books and many dozens of articles usually deal with the unexpected implications of research in the areas of sociology, psychology, and social psychology.  While that might sound dry, it’s absolutely the opposite and provides some of the most thought-provoking reading you might encounter.

“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.        A native of England who grew up in Canada, he also has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine.

“I'm interested in collecting interesting stories, and . . . interesting research. What I'm looking for is cases where they overlap. . . Actually, I've had the most untraumatic life a human being can have,” he said.   “But I've always been drawn to those who have had far more complicated histories.”

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