Can you get a more positive last name than Gladwell?
Not only is a Gladwell “glad”, he is also “well”. Whoever came up with the name, should not have stopped at that. They should’ve kept adding positive adjectives, and created cheerful names like Gladwellhappy, or Gladwelljollygood. Wouldn’t the world be a better place, if it were full of Gladwellawesome people?
Let me not digress, however. I’d like to introduce you to an author that rocked my reading world last year. I’ve heard of him plenty, but have only picked up one of his titles in 2012. And enjoyed it so much, that I picked another one soon after. I’m currently reading a third.
I don’t know a lot about the author per se, except for the fact that he has a fine name, and a fine afro mop on his head. But the books – oh, the books!
Gladwell’s books read somewhat like an Encyclopaedia, packed full with fascinating information from unexpected, or blatantly obvious spheres of life. That’s one of Gladwell’s gifts – to see the fascinating in those unexpected, or those things that are so part of everyday life, that we rarely pay attention to them. He does pay attention. He seems to observe, prod, and ask until he gets a story that you read holding your breath, it’s so exciting.
You know what kept me up reading the other night? A story about ketchup. I’m not kidding you. A story about ketchup and how it seems to be mysteriously different from mustard, tomato sauce, and a whole range of other foodstuff.
The way Gladwell weaves a story out of this seemingly trivial subject, the way he introduces you to characters whose life’s passion is ketchup, the way he uncovers lives who have been impacted by ketchup – it’s mesmerising. I’ll never be able to look at a bottle of ketchup the same way again.
All that, and his books make you feel smart.
Sarcasm aside, you do expand your reserves of random information that comes in handy every now and then. Guess what I talked about with a friend yesterday? Ketchup. How difficult it is to balance all the flavours, to measure just the right amount of ingredients. Again, not kidding you.
Before I end, a little about the 3 books by Malcolm Gladwell that I read/am reading.
A book that looks at every facet of success, and how part of it is due to hard-work, and part of it is sheer circumstances, that the most perceptive ones were able to use for their advantage. He shares story after fascinating story, and that’s what got me hooked.
You know how we all make snap judgments, sometimes in the matter of seconds? This is Gladwell trying to make some sense of that: how and why it happens, and how accurate are the decisions we make in a moment?
The book I’m currently reading. This is different from the previous two in that it is a collection of articles Gladwell wrote for The New Yorker. Which is why the eclectic topics – including the article called “The Ketchup Conundrum”. So far, I think I prefer the integrated books, but I am surprised by how much I am enjoying his separate articles, too.
One of the things Malcolm Gladwell is known for is his choice of book titles. There is a website that does precisely that: come up with book names, Gladwell style. Unfortunately, they took it down, but some funny examples are here: Malcolm Gadwell Book Generator.
Who or what was your discovery last year? Any authors that you’ve started reading, or any books that have changed you forever?