What Makes Malcolm Gladwell Fascinating, by Adam Grant, Medium
Edward Tadros stashed this in Generally Interesting
"Gladwell refers to his books as “conversation starters,” and when people pick up that conversation, they often start criticizing his work. As a social scientist, I think this is a missed opportunity. I’m not saying that Gladwell’s writing is perfect or that his arguments are always true. I just want to make sure that we don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, since we can learn as much from analyzing what he does right as from poking holes in his work."
I like Adam Grant's theory that what makes Malcolm Gladwell interesting is his IDEAS.
If you believe that Gladwell’s success is primarily driven by his writing, I think you’ve overlooked the most important factor. What makes him most interesting is not the narratives themselves, but rather the ideas behind them.
In 1971, a sociologist named Murray Davis published a groundbreaking paperthat opened with these two lines:
“It has long been thought that a theorist is considered great because his theories are true, but this is false. A theorist is considered great, not because his theories are true, but because they are interesting.”
Davis argued that the difference between the dull and the interesting lies in the element of surprise. When an idea affirms what we already believe, we’re bored — we call it obvious. But when an idea is counterintuitive, we’re intrigued. Our curiosity is piqued, and we’re motivated to ask questions: how could this be? Is it really true? What else might this explain?
Challenging our assumptions is what Malcolm Gladwell does best. To see how he does it, let’s take a look at what Davis called The Index of the Interesting. Davis classified 12 different ways of challenging conventional wisdom, and Gladwell’s key ideas map beautifully onto at least five of them.
Yes, Malcolm Gladwell's ideas are indeed different. He gives us a totally different way of looking at things
Not so different anymore. I feel like many of his ideas are now mainstream.