Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell *

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is a tribute to confirmation bias and other logical fallacies. In the author's second collection of anecdotes, summaries, and unscientific studies ...
In order to find out more about the reasons teenagers smoke, I [Malcolm Gladwell] gave several hundred people a questionnaire, asking them to describe their earliest experiences with cigarettes. This was not a scientific study. (Emphasis added)
... in which he purports to explain the origin and meaning of fads. In between sections where the book simply reiterates and summarizes what has already be repeated multiple times, the reader is presented with uncritical praise for a random selection of marketing stories (about marketing), urban legends, pseudoscience, and pop psychology.
Divorced people who suffer depression and complain of cognitive dysfunction may be expressing the loss of their external memory systems.
Since this anthology draws its chaotic collection from eclectic and historically diverse sources, some of the excerpts are sure to be novel and/or interested, regardless of the otherwise chaos of the general thesis and and sequencing.

This book is a very fast read, but has a very low signal to noise ratio. If you must read Malcom Gladwell, start with Outliers.

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