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318 Malcolm Gladwell: What the dog saw

Exploring the hidden patterns and insights behind seemingly ordinary people, events, and phenomena.



In "What the Dog Saw," Malcolm Gladwell presents a collection of his captivating essays from The New Yorker, delving into a wide range of topics such as psychology, social dynamics, and human behavior. With his signature storytelling style and keen observations, Gladwell uncovers intriguing patterns and unearths fascinating insights that challenge conventional wisdom.


Title: What the Dog Saw

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Publishing Year: 2009

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Length: Approximately 12 hours 46 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. The power of intuition: Gladwell examines the concept of intuition and how it can sometimes lead to remarkable decision-making abilities.
  2. The role of outliers: He explores the lives and stories of exceptional individuals who defy conventional norms and achieve extraordinary success.
  3. The influence of context: Gladwell highlights the significance of the environment and context in shaping people's behavior and outcomes.
  4. Uncovering hidden patterns: He reveals the hidden patterns and connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, shedding light on how they shape our lives.
  5. The impact of social dynamics: Gladwell delves into social dynamics, exploring how group behavior and interactions influence individual choices and outcomes.

5 funny quotes

  1. "The lesson here is very simple. But it is striking how often it is overlooked. We are so caught in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally from the earth." - Malcolm Gladwell
  2. "Those three things—autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward—are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying." - Malcolm Gladwell
  3. "The likelihood of escaping your troubled past and emerging unscathed is not good. What it suggests, instead, is that it matters where and when you grow up." - Malcolm Gladwell
  4. "Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds." - Malcolm Gladwell
  5. "It is possible to be too much of a participant. The world cannot be understood without first filtering it through the mind of a dog." - Malcolm Gladwell

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding." - Malcolm Gladwell
  2. "We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We're a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don't really have an explanation for." - Malcolm Gladwell
  3. "There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis." - Malcolm Gladwell
  4. "Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out." - Malcolm Gladwell
  5. "Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities." - Malcolm Gladwell

5 dilemmas

  1. The dilemma of expertise: How do we define expertise, and what role does experience play in achieving it?
  2. The dilemma of talent vs. hard work: What is the balance between innate talent and deliberate practice in achieving exceptional performance?
  3. The dilemma of perception: How do our preconceived notions and biases shape our understanding of the world and influence our decision making?
  4. The dilemma of prediction: Can we accurately predict future success or outcomes based on past performance and patterns?
  5. The dilemma of outliers: How do exceptional individuals and outliers challenge our understanding of success and achievement?

5 examples

  1. In the essay "The Pitchman," Gladwell explores the success of Ron Popeil and his famous infomercials, demonstrating the power of effective salesmanship.
  2. In "The Talent Myth," Gladwell challenges the notion of the "talent pool" and examines how companies often overlook the importance of training and development.
  3. "The Ketchup Conundrum" explores the story of how Heinz ketchup became the dominant brand by understanding the power of the perfect balance of flavors.
  4. In "Million-Dollar Murray," Gladwell tells the story of a homeless man and sheds light on the complexities of poverty, highlighting the challenges faced by social services.
  5. "Late Bloomers" challenges the conventional belief that early success is essential, presenting examples of individuals who achieved greatness later in life.

Referenced books

  1. "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton M. Christensen
  2. "The Bell Curve" by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray
  3. "The Silent Language" by Edward T. Hall
  4. "The Interpretation of Dreams" by Sigmund Freud
  5. "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas S. Kuhn

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"It is possible to be too much of a participant. The world cannot be understood without first filtering it through the mind of a dog."

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