Kerstin Olcott's Reviews > What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell
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Jan 05, 2011

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What the Dog Saw is a collection of Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker columns written during the same time period as his first three books. I have a bit of love/hate relationship with books made up of newspaper or magazine columns. I always end up bored and enthralled even by the best writers. The first three chapters of this book nearly bored me to tears but then there were chapters I found absolutely fascinating. The chapter on hair dye and its impact on feminism was great. The chapter on the cost of homelessness in America was witty and intriguing. I also enjoyed the chapters on the inventor of birth control and the fall of Enron. The whole last section of the book is great.

Overall, I did not like the book as much as I loved The Tipping Point, but I'm still a fan of Gladwell's writing style and I'm intrigued by his point of view. "Good writing," Gladwell says in his preface, "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." Gladwell always seems to do that for me. I love how he hears some little tidbit or learns some strange new fact that launches him into an investigation of things I never even think about. I have a copy of Blink in my pile and I plan to checkout Outliers.

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