How the talk became big business

From The Guardian:

Naomi-Klein-001 A speaker. A speech. A microphone. A bare stage. And – no expense spared here – a glass of water. As an evening's entertainment, it does not sound like much: Bruce Springsteen and his E Street extravaganza this is not. And yet when Malcolm Gladwell, a Manhattan-based journalist, turned up last winter to do a monologue at the Lyceum, a West End theatre that has hosted Led Zeppelin and is now home to the Lion King musical, he filled it – twice. Despite bitter November temperatures, long queues formed and the first show had to be delayed by half an hour to squeeze in as many punters as possible. All 4,000 tickets, at up to £25 a head, sold out.

What were they getting for their money? Gladwell does not do stand-up, is not in exclusive possession of the Lord's wisdom and cannot tell you how to make millions from buy-to-let. A small, skinny, former business reporter with a towering afro and hands that flutter about as if evading an invisible butterfly net, Gladwell likes to address such pressing issues as the quest for the perfect pasta sauce (Google the video: it is brilliant).

(Picture: Canadian social commentator Naomi Klein, one of the big draws of the lecture circuit.)

More here.