Penguin £9.99 (410pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
What the Dog Saw, By Malcolm Gladwell
Friday 07 May 2010
If Malcolm Gladwell cooks up high-grade fast-food for the intellect, at least he always knows how to present it with spice and relish.
This diverting collection of his New Yorker pieces often turns (in that branded Gladwell style) on a "fancy-that" moment of counter-intuitive insight or a reversal of received ideas.
Enron sank because it valued talent and liked to think "outside the box". Pitbulls and their actual behaviour can teach us about the pitfalls of racial profiling. Tomato ketchup seems to have an essence denied to mustard: why?
Deftly flavoured and genially served, these essays never fail to entertain. But when Gladwell meets a truly original thinker such as Nassim (Black Swan) Taleb, you crave a rather more substantial dish.
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