special-2--2007
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MALCOLM GLADWELL’S TIPS AND TRICKS

08 November 2007

Sorry for the delay here, but these guest artists are apparently even worse planners than I am! Nevertheless, another fine entry; by Diederik van der Heijden; one whom I can always trust to have a great discussion with about biology, evolution or Pokémon, and terrible, terrible battles over the evils of Windows and its horned foreman, Bill Gate$ -who leaves in his wake a trail of purest sulphur, or so I have heard from many a witness who shortly thereafter was left bankrupted and barren. Thanks for the entry, Diederik!

The internet is surely one of the greatest inventions of man ever. Not only has it changed the way in which we are able to defame a person from behind a wall of anonymity; it also gives us unforeseen access to a wealth of new ideas from the world's most interesting minds.

One such mind is that of Malcolm Gladwell. A friend of mine recently directed me towards the site of the New Yorker (a Liberal American newspaper), which held a conference this year about what the year 2012 would look like on just about every interesting field; from surgery to corporate power to mobile phones. I'm sorry -I shouldn't have uttered the words mobile phone; I see twenty of you have already dozed off. So let me get back to the interesting stuff: Malcolm Gladwell (a New Yorker contributor and writer of a few popular non-fiction books) gave an interesting speech on how society should start looking at geniuses, and what genius really is. I won't rehash it in a summary, because Gladwell puts it far too nicely to do it justice in a single paragraph. Instead, watch it here: Genius: 2012. Or if you're like me, put it on and listen to it while you're drawing away at some awesome animation.

My interest and curiosity piqued, I also went out and bought Gladwell's perhaps most famous book: The Tipping Point. It concerns the way cultural epidemics spread. How and why does a certain brand of jeans or shoes suddenly become the one thing everyone wears? It is argued here that various, perhaps dozens of, little changes and forces all come in from different sides to suddenly 'tip' the scales in a huge way. I'm not very far in the book yet, but as with most non-fiction I read, there are bound to be some eye-opening insights in it.

A more recent book of his (in fact, his most recent) is Blink; about the instinctive reactions we have towards something in the first few microseconds of seeing it. These subconscious judgements often prove to be more correct about something than meticulous rational analysis afterwards. Blink is a champion of the gut feeling; and since I too have oscillated into this state of mind at the moment, I should make it a point to acquire and read it.

Lastly, it must be said that Malcolm Gladwell has in his possession the most awesome hair in the universe. Regard it and be not embarrassed to find yourself in admiration of it; for it is the pinnacle of human achievement, and it is good.

Roderick.