So I’ve decided Malcom is brilliant.  Just now.  He’s absolutely brilliant.  I’m not exactly why I decided this just now seeing as though I’ve already been exposed to 3 different datapoints that have all screamed at me brilliant.  So I’m slow on the uptick.  Who knew?

If you’ve never read a Gladwell book consider yourself one of the privileged few as you have beauty and brilliance ahead of you that I do not. When I first read Blink I was blown away by Malcom’s ability to cross-cut against the grain of normal presuppositions and dive to the meat of a matter. Tipping point is another truly fascinating read along the same lines as Blink save that it deals more with the viral nature of information and its ability to move quickly and radically. The Amazon review has a great example regarding Paul Revere:

For example, Paul Revere was able to galvanize the forces of resistance so effectively in part because he was what Gladwell calls a “Connector”: he knew just about everybody, particularly the revolutionary leaders in each of the towns that he rode through. But Revere “wasn’t just the man with the biggest Rolodex in colonial Boston,” he was also a “Maven” who gathered extensive information about the British. He knew what was going on and he knew exactly whom to tell. The phenomenon continues to this day–think of how often you’ve received information in an e-mail message that had been forwarded at least half a dozen times before reaching you.

Outliers is another fantastic literary undertaking especially since it gives low IQ’ers like me hope that I can still aspire to greatness. One of the more truly fascinating discussion points throughout Outliers is the fact that IQ is actually a poor indicator of greatness. Sure, an Outlier can benefit from being smart. But there are bigger contributors to greatness than IQ, such as the time one was born or the family one was born into.

If you were to start diving into Malcom directly after reading this post, I probably would read his books in the order there were published to see the rise of Outlier that is Malcom Gladwell. Blink is great from a statistical standpoint. Tipping Point is a fun read in that it assembles key insights that are interesting and yet not very obvious. Outliers takes both of these books to a new level. We have black box investigations and flight crash analysis. We are treated to Jews on the lower East side and their family’s path to greatness. Studies of Geniuses and their successes. Etc etc. All greatness. But don’t take my word for it…