The Gladwell Effect

From The New York Times:

Gladwell162b_1 “PEOPLE are experience rich and theory poor,” the writer Malcolm Gladwell said recently. “People who are busy doing things — as opposed to people who are busy sitting around, like me, reading and having coffee in coffee shops — don’t have opportunities to kind of collect and organize their experiences and make sense of them.” Slight, shoeless and sporting the large head of curly hair that’s become his trademark, Gladwell, a staff writer for The New Yorker, was sitting at the kitchen table of his apartment in a West Village town house. In tones at once laid-back and precise, he was discussing his best-selling books: “The Tipping Point” argues that small actions can spark “social epidemics” — a term he gives a positive connotation; and “Blink” a paean to intuitive thinking, makes a case for “thin-slicing,” paring down our information intake so we can tune out the static and make fast, sound decisions. Gladwell said his goal in those two books was simple: In a culture with too much information and not enough time, he offers “organizing structures” for people’s lives.

Their success has given Gladwell an active, and extremely lucrative, second career as a public speaker. Much in demand, he is paid in the neighborhood of $40,000 per lecture. He’s also on the recommended reading list at many companies and business schools, and has spoken at West Point and the National Institutes of Health, among many other institutions. Last year, Time magazine named him one of its “100 most influential people.” Fast Company magazine called Gladwell “a rock star, a spiritual leader, a stud.” Stephen Gaghan, the screenwriter of multiple-thread narrative movies like “Traffic” and “Syriana,” is developing a movie based on “Blink.” That book is also the subject of a clever sendup, “Blank: The Power of Not Actually Thinking at All,” by the pseudonymous Noah Tall, which will be out this month.

More here.