Cindy's Reviews > What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell
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's review
Aug 03, 2010

it was amazing
Read in April, 2010

This is a collection of essays Gladwell has written for The New Yorker, all of whom follow his distinct style and knack for taking the stories of people and formulating a perspective that is always intriguing and fresh. I think the way he writes is kind of a very accessible example of sociological study, an area which I’m forever interested in.

The book is divided into three parts: “Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius”, “Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses”, and “Personality, Character, and Intelligence”. A few stories have obvious links to his longer novels (and one with his TED talk), but there are gems that I’d never heard about before; the standout essay in the book for me was about the origins of the birth control pill and the story of John Rock, and the absolutely fascinating way that birth control can lessen chances of ovarian, breast, and endometrial cancers. The essay on the difference between choking and panicking under stress was also very good.

As Gladwell says in his preface, “Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head.” In that case, this book definitely gets a 5/5 for me.

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