What the Dog Saw
By Malcom Gladwell
The best part about Malcolm Gladwell is the fact that he thinks up questions no one else does. Questions like: why is there only one kind of ketchup when there are dozens of kinds of mustard? What is the difference between a puzzle and a mystery? What if Enron’s trouble wasn’t a lack of disclosure so much as too much information? What actually goes into profiling a criminal? All these questions are examined, if not necessarily answered, in What the Dog Saw.
This volume is a collection of essays Gladwell wrote for The New Yorker over the years. As such, there is only a loose cohesion between the chapters. The main problem with this is Gladwell could not go as deep into any given subject as I would have liked. He clearly goes to the trouble of researching his subjects very thoroughly, and it would have been cool to read more of his findings.
In publishing a collection of shorter works, Gladwell highlights his writing capabilities. I love Gladwell’s turn of phrase. He has a prodigious vocabulary and makes excellent use of it. In reading his work, it feels like his entire goal is to get you to question the things around you. Often in these essays, he doesn’t give you a solution or answer to the problems that he poses. I find that highly useful, as it encourages me to think more for myself.
I would recommend anyone read this book. It’s fun, entertaining and thought provoking.