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What The Dog Saw Book Summary
What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell, is the fourth book in a series (preceded by The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, and followed by David and Goliath) that explores various psychological and sociological topics in order to introduce new ways to view the world and ourselves. It is a compilation of 19 articles by Gladwell originally published in The New Yorker, divided into three parts in the book:
- Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius
- Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses
- Personality, Character, and Intelligence
About the Author
Malcolm Gladwell is an English-born Canadian journalist, author, and speaker. Gladwell has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1996, and prior to that, a reporter at the Washington Post. He is the author of five best-selling books (mentioned above). In 2005, Time named Gladwell one of its most influential people of the year.
What The Dog Saw Book Review
First, I should admit that I am a total Malcolm Gladwell fan. When I read The Tipping Point for the first time several years ago, I was hooked and ever since have been a total fanatic for his work. That said, I am going to try to provide a review that is not totally oozing with total adoration.
If you’re into social psychology and/or sociology, I don’t see how you couldn’t totally be fascinated with this book, especially if you’ve read and enjoyed any of his previous books. Gladwell explores topics with an impressive breadth of knowledge on each unique topic, from the battle of the ketchups to the famous Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan. He takes nothing at face value, and has helped me learn there is always more to every story than what initially meets the eye.
I am, of course, not an expert on everything, but I always laser focus in on any writing about any fields I am rather well-versed in for errors and/or poor research. Yes, I’m admitting it, I read with the intent to find anything I can criticize and/or fact check, as I’m sure most people do with their fields of expertise.
But, Gladwell prevailed my test. Just as I expected, he did not disappoint me when discussing my areas of expertise. In fact, he explained it better than I ever could.
Critics of Gladwell argue that while his books are in the psychology/sociology fields, aka science fields, they lack the actual science to back them up. What The Dog Saw is no different then in that regard; it’s no academic research paper. Yet, Gladwell never implies that it is, nor that he is a scientist. He is a writer, a journalist, and his stories reflect that, they are easy to read and understand regardless of your depth of scientific, statistical, etc., comprehension. This is what makes Gladwell so gifted, he can weave stories from every job field and tell them in such a way that anyone can understand, regardless of their knowledge on that field.
I believe his goal is to get people thinking, to question what initially seems obvious. And he then uses some science, some data, but not so that it’s overwhelming to the reader, to help back his points up. Gladwell has never disappointed, in fact he has exceeded, these expectations, which I feel are more realistic than the critics’.
While I certainly enjoyed What The Dog Saw, I don’t believe it is the most mind-boggling of Gladwell’s series (I think most people award Outliers with that title). Yet, it is still an interesting and thought-provoking book, and if you enjoy Gladwell’s previous work, I believe you’ll continue that trend with What The Dog Saw.
Note: I have read that you can actually read the individual essays from the book online for free.
Does this book sound interesting to you? Do you think you would read it?
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