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"He alone was real."

Philby's boss was Sir Stewart Menzies, who, we are told, "rode to hounds, mixed with royalty, never missed a day at Ascot, drank a great deal, and kept his secrets buttoned up behind a small, fierce mustache. He preferred women to men and horses to both." Menzies was an amateur at a time when his adversaries were professionals. Philby's fellow Soviet spy Donald Maclean was a mess. But since he was a mess with the right accent and background he easily found a home in the British spy service. At one point, Macintyre says, Maclean "got drunk, smashed up the Cairo flat of two secretaries at the U.S. embassy, ripped up their underwear, and hurled a large mirror off the wall, breaking a large bath in two. He was sent home, placed under the care of a Harley Street psychiatrist, and then, amazingly, after a short period of treatment, promoted to head the American desk at the Foreign Office."
Kim Philby, the Soviet spy who infiltrated MI6, is the subject of a Malcolm Gladwell article in The New Yorker. Gladwell argues that Philby's story is not about spying but "the hazards of mistrust." He is interviewed on a New Yorker podcast about his article. Gladwell's article is also a review of Ben Macintyre's book on Philby, A Spy Among Friends. Gladwell reviewed Macintyre's previous book, Operation Mincemeat and argued that spy agencies might be more trouble than they're worth.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 28, 2014 - 25 comments

A Diet Coke and a George Saunders, please

Cultivating Thought: Cups and bags at Chipotle (previously) will now feature stories and essays by famous authors, including Toni Morrison, George Saunders, Steven Pinker, Sarah Silverman, and Jonathan Safran Foer, who came up with the idea for the series and will be curating it as well.
posted by Cash4Lead on May 15, 2014 - 74 comments

How not to negotiate with believers... Waco & The Branch Davidians

Malcolm Gladwell writes a compelling take on the history of the Branch Davidians and how their millennial Christian beliefs led to their ultimate confrontation with the FBI. "I came out the little driveway on the side of the building and got onto the main driveway that ran along the front of the building. As I turned the corner . . . one of the agents outside a tank started screaming at me to come over to him. My left ankle was all blistered, the skin was rolling off my hands, and my face was burned down the right side of my neck where the mask had been. I guess I took the mask off after I got out. It was kind of melting onto my face. . . . He was cussing me out, telling me if I made a false move he was going to blow my so-and-so head off. But he said: you’re gonna remember this day for the rest of your life. I thought: at least that is a true statement." [more inside]
posted by artof.mulata on Mar 24, 2014 - 111 comments

Hacktacular!

The 2013 edition of Salon's annual Hack List is out, and this year, Salon hackmaster Alex Pareene has stirred the pot of hackery by "channel[ing] each hack's unique voice" and "let[ting] them 'write' their own entries." [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Dec 19, 2013 - 69 comments

Is he the David or the Goliath?

Does Gladwell matter? Is he relevant to our daily lives? If you don't think so, are you merely not his intended audience? Perhaps it's just a matter of taking it with "the proper portion of salt"?
posted by Obscure Reference on Oct 5, 2013 - 74 comments

Subjective Cartography

If New York Were A Blank Slate, How Would You Fill It In? is a piece on Becky Cooper's book Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers both famous and not. Cooper's Map Your Memories tumblr. Found from Brain Pickings, which has much more. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 19, 2013 - 6 comments

"The purpose is not to substantiate but to enchant."

We only wanted one thing from Jonah Lehrer: a story. He told it so well that we forgave him almost ­everything.
posted by facehugger on Oct 31, 2012 - 62 comments

Don't even Blink...

Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks
posted by Artw on Sep 14, 2012 - 64 comments

When contrarianism attacks

Malcolm Gladwell says that he got into journalism by accident, that his real dream was to work for an ad agency. “I decided I wanted to be in advertising. I applied to eighteen advertising agencies in the city of Toronto and received eighteen rejection letters, which I taped in a row on my wall,” he wrote in his What the Dog Saw. If true, then Gladwell didn’t fail at all. Rather, he has achieved his dream of becoming an ad man beyond all expectation.
The hidden histories of Malcolm Gladwell. [Previously.]
posted by Sonny Jim on Jun 8, 2012 - 94 comments

The Tripping Point

Generate the next Malcolm Gladwell book. Perhaps soothing if one is annoyed at Gladwell's piece in the New Yorker last week regarding the nonimportance of twitter in Egypt's turmoil.
posted by angrycat on Feb 8, 2011 - 46 comments

"A networked, weak-tie world is good at things like helping Wall Streeters get phones back from teen-age girls."

Small Change: Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted. Earlier this summer, Golnaz Esfandiari examined the "Twitter Devolution" in Iran*. Anne Applebaum commented on the Twitter revolution that wasn't in Moldova last spring. [more inside]
posted by availablelight on Sep 27, 2010 - 46 comments

Gladwell for Dummies

Such are the contradictions that seem to riddle not just Gladwell's thinking but the thinking on Gladwell's thinking, and perhaps even the thinking on thinking on that, and it is precisely these slippery but substantive contradictions that have allowed Gladwell to tout his revolutionary "big ideas" without couching them in anything so mundane as a logical, well-supported or otherwise sound argument. Gladwell for Dummies.
posted by defenestration on Nov 5, 2009 - 102 comments

Folsomism vs. Activism

Atticus Finch and the limits of Southern liberalism. An essay in the latest The New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell. "Atticus Finch is faced with jurors who have one set of standards for white people like the Ewells and another set for black folk like Tom Robinson. His response is to adopt one set of standards for respectable whites like Boo Radley and another for white trash like Bob Ewell. A book that we thought instructed us about the world tells us, instead, about the limitations of Jim Crow liberalism in Maycomb, Alabama."
posted by billysumday on Aug 10, 2009 - 188 comments

I'm good at that, I must be good at this too....

The Psychology of Overconfidence
posted by anotherpanacea on Jul 27, 2009 - 82 comments

Malcolm Gladwell on genius

Malcolm Gladwell asks: is there such a thing as pure genius? [more inside]
posted by louigi on Nov 15, 2008 - 67 comments

Race and Intelligence, Redux

About a month ago, a MeFi FPP on this article sparked a controversy here on the usefulness of the concepts of IQ and race in determining whether some ethnic groups can be shown to be intrinsically less intelligent than others. Now James Flynn, discoverer of the Flynn effect, has written a book, What is Intelligence?, that settles many of the issues of this controversy. In this week's New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell summarizes Flynn's arguments succinctly in a review entitled "None of the Above: What IQ doesn't tell you about race."
posted by ubiquity on Dec 16, 2007 - 85 comments

2012: Stories From the Near Future

The inaugural New Yorker Conference, “2012: Stories From the Near Future,” took place on May 6 and 7, 2007. Here is an archive of videos from the event.
posted by parudox on Nov 12, 2007 - 10 comments

So Predictable

So Predictable - Malcolm Gladwell talks at the recent New Yorker Festival about success-predicting software for the music and film industries.
posted by forallmankind on Oct 19, 2006 - 18 comments

The man who thinks about thinking without thinking.

Blinked is Malcom Gladwell's latest short, concept driven book about how instant judgements are often correct, but equally often dangerous. Two reviews on S****.com and S****.com [ad thingie to watch] make for great reading themselves. Gladwell's long been a favorite of mine, and I don't think I'm alone here. Previously cited works include one of the best essays I've ever read, about the ultimate pitchman.
posted by allan on Jan 13, 2005 - 33 comments

Malcom Gladwell's got a new one in the New Yorker about a guy whose investment strategy positions him to profit from unlikely and scary random catastrophes like 9/11. Its' not on newyorker.com, but the story's subject was kind enough to scan it and post it.
posted by luser on Apr 16, 2002 - 8 comments

Malcolm Gladwell on JFK Jr's Crash

Malcolm Gladwell on JFK Jr's Crash New from the New Yorker. Actually the article talks mostly about the difference between choking and panicking, mostly in Sports. Still, the discussion about the plane crash is the most fascinating. Perhaps thats because of my morbid fascination with plane crashes:

Chapter 1 of "Inmates Are Running the Asylum" by Alan Cooper (American Crash in Cali, Colombia).... Bruce Tognazzini on Interfaces that Kill (John Denver).... The Lessons of ValuJet 592 by the masterful William Langweische.... The same Mr. Langweische has a book called "Inside the Sky: Meditations on Flight" which looks interesting.
posted by lockecito on Sep 26, 2000 - 2 comments


The New-Boy Network

The New-Boy Network Finally, the Malcolm Gladwell article describing - all at once! - hiring in the software industry and the scientific basis of first impressions ia onliné. I discussed this very story with a recruitrix from MSN just today. It cast a bit of a pall over an otherwise surprisingly pleasant and reassuring interview (held after hours in a café with me wearing shorts). But I digress.
posted by joeclark on Jun 28, 2000 - 5 comments

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