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Friday, October 7, 2011

The Tipping Point

We all know our dear friend, Malcolm Gladwell.  And most of us are familiar with The Tipping Point, the beginning of our love affair with Gladwell's pop-psychology.  And I have a confession--I am a (95%) fan of our long-time-non-fiction-writer-crush.

I find Gladwell to be a compelling writer.  He is a conversationalist who takes the reader from everyday to knowledgeable on ideas that people might not be aware of.  His prose lead you to immediately trust his knowledge and he is someone you want to invite to your next dinner party to be the entertainer of the group.

Full disclosure: I take issue with a few of his pronouncements that I feel ignore the "buts" of psychological research.  Those who have done studies are very hesitant about ever saying something is absolutely true, especially when it comes to correlations.  (NERD ALERT!)  I get a tiny bit (read: super) frustrated when I read a passage that talks about a correlation then says that A caused B and uses a correlation as proof.  A correlation is not convincing enough evidence that causation exists, and that's not to say there is no causation.  I am only saying that it's not alright to use cause-and-effect when speaking of a correlation.

Other than that, I love reading Gladwell's prose and his connections between otherwise seemingly innocuous lines of thinking.  I enjoy his everyman writing that still comes across as smart yet still remaining common.  Now that I have read all of Gladwell's books, I guess I should turn toward his New Yorker articles.

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