Monday, February 7, 2011

What the Dog Saw

I just finished another Gladwell book, "What the Dog Saw." Unlike Tipping Point, Outliers and Blink, What the Dog Saw is a not about any one thing. Rather it's about Gladwell's fascination with the story that's not so obvious- the story behind the story, which is what makes Gladwell a reporter extraordinaire. It's a compilation of strange tales that is fun and thought provoking.
The book is divided into three parts: Part I: Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius; Part II: Theories, Predictions and Diagnoses; Part II: Personality, Character and Intelligence.
While each chapter has a point, the book is really a series of essays about a whole lot of things; Gladwell is Mr. Random Global with a precise way of writing, so in one sense there was no real theme to the book, other than "curiosity about the interior life of other people's day-to-day work." I'm there. I get that. I like the book.

My favorite essays were these:
"What the Dog Saw: Cesar Millan and the Movements of Mastery."  Loved it. I think a lot of  parents could learn a thing or two from Millan about how to raise kids and  play well with others.
 "Late Bloomers." Gives me hope = )
The "Open Secrets" and "Most Likely to Succeed"- both about success and the perils of 2muchinformation, and ultimately Enron and a new way of looking at  business and ability.  Gladwell really shines in these pieces as he takes the Enron fiasco and looks at it from a unique perspective. Post modernism hits the corporate world and it crumbles. And while plenty of people were willing to play ball with the "new small talk" (a literary heist from My Fair Lady) they all wanted someone to pay when it did the logical thang- which was to fall the h*ll apart.
John Rock's Error. Very interesting reading about Dr. Rock, devoted Catholic man and father of many, who developed the Birth Control Pill.

If you are a fan of Gladwell, an info junkie, or someone who appreciates a tale well told, What the Dog Saw won't disappoint.

FYI: I've put my 2010 reading list as a blog post under 52 in 2010.


Deanna said...

You have succeeded in making me want to read this. It sounds fascinating.

Robin McCormack said...

Sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out.