Saturday, October 1, 2011

Review: What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point woke us to the wonders of Malcolm Gladwell; Blink, bringing us up with a start, confirmed his talents of discernment, and Outliers proved that this conscientious outsider was still watching us, picking up clues to how we all tick and synchronize our tics. In this batch of inquiries, Gladwell covers the world: from insurgent warlords to ketchup makers; from canine whisperers to ethnic profilers; from NFL signal callers to high school teachers. Most of us don't fit into any of those categories, but that doesn't lessen our interest in his observations. What the Dog Saw challenges us to think like other people and see like other species.

Until I read this book, I have never read anything by Malcolm Gladwell. Maybe I should have.

The book is basically a collection of articles by Gladwell and published in The New Yorker. The book is divided into three parts. The first part is about minor geniuses (like the inventor of the Chop-o-Matic). The second part is about theories. The third part, on the other hand, is about the way we judge and assume things about people.

The articles are all quite interesting, but I have two favorites. The first one is the title article (What The Dog Saw), which is about dog whisperer Cesar Millan. I watch the show every now and then, but I wouldn't say it's my favorite show. This article, however, made me see Cesar Millan in a slightly different light. It talked about his background, what he's like outside of the show, and what his childhood was like. It's a must-read for every fan.

The second article that fascinated me was "Million-Dollar Murray: Why Problems like Homelessness May Be Easier to Solve than Manage". Homeless people and panhandlers are not an uncommon sight here in the Philippines. The Department of Social Welfare and Development does what it can to help out, but there's only so much they can do. The article discussed how in one U.S. study, it was shown that most homeless people are not homeless for very long. It also showed that the chronic homeless can end up with hundred of thousands of dollars in hospital fees, etc. and it would cost the government less to rehabilitate them than it is to just manage their situation. In order to try and solve the homelessness problem, one city tried a program that offered to give homeless people a place to stay, and for the most part, the project has been a success. The arguments are logical and it makes me think if this can work in our country too and what the response to such a project will be.

  1. All the articles are interesting.
  2. The book will make you think. :)
  1. It could be boring, if you're not a fan of non-fiction.
Illusion remembers Cesar scribbling furiously on a pad. "He wrote that down. He said, 'That's it! It's like the dogs. They need exercise, discipline and affection.'" Illusion laughed. "I looked at him, upset, because why the hell are you talking about your dogs when you should be talking about us?"
  1. You like non-fiction books.
  2. You like literature that makes you laugh and think at the same time.
  3. You like Malcolm Gladwell's style.



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