Discovery of 2012: Malcolm Gladwell


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.

Outliers: The Story of Success

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.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

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?

What The Dog Saw: And Other Adventures 

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? 



7 thoughts on “Discovery of 2012: Malcolm Gladwell

  1. This post is hilarious! I enjoyed reading it A LOT, and gave me quite a few chuckles :). I miss you so much, being in Denmark and all. When I’m home in a few days, I’d like to be next to read it. Love you.


      1. You know and to answer your last question, I think there is a book that changed me somewhat. As you know, Ive read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It was a great read, very enjoyable. It changed me in the sense that it exemplifies certain principles which I hope will stay with me in life. There are also principles I fell quite strongly about and disagree with. I’ve read it in a week, even though it’s 1079 pages long – and you know I’m normally a slow reader.

        So it’s very well written, you grow to admire some of the characters greatly. All in all, a book worth the time invested.


    1. really? I like inspiring people to read – because the more of my friends read, the more interesting conversations with them I can have 🙂 So it is a selfish reason at the core of it 🙂
      I have a feeling you might really like Gladwell’s Outliers. It has very interesting stories of people who’ve succeeded at different times in history, and some of the circumstances that “helped” them do so – some circumstances are frustrating, because they’re beyond our control, but some are encouraging, too. I have it for Kindle, so maybe I could “lend” it to you.


  2. Ma simt provocata de această postare. Vreau şi eu să fac cunoştinţă cu acest autor şi cu prima carte reclamată. Şi ştiu precis c-o sa-mi placă. Eu am încredere în gusturile tale;-)


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