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What the Dog Saw December 1, 2009

Posted by Ornwassa Siamseranee in [Books] Ways of Thinking.

I have been reading all the books by Malcolm Gladwell, and I saw many interesting things in his way of thinking.  As I was walking through the Cal bookstore before Thanksgiving, my eyes were caught at the white cover (his books always have white cover) of his newest book “What the Dog Saw, and other adventures”.   I immediately picked it up and went to the cashier.  Well, reputation really matters (to me, at least).

This book combines some of his previous works in The New Yorker.  He presents 19 interesting stories under 3 categories:  1) Obsessives, pioneers, and other varieties of minor genius, 2) Theories, predictions, and diagnoses, and 3) Personality, character, and intelligence.  The first part of the book talks about innovations and interesting stories behind them.  For example, he interviewed Ron Popeil, the inventor of various kitchen gadgets and one of the best salesmen of the century.  The second part of the book talks about various problems and general beliefs that people hold towards those problems, and then he presents some interesting twists by providing another angle that we can look at such problems.  The third part talks about characteristics of various types of people.  One interesting chapter in this part was “The Talent Myth” where he raised a question whether smart people are overrated.  He contrast Enron with Southwest that Enron hired a lot of smart MBAs while Southwest hires very few MBAs, and now Enron is in bankruptcy.  As an MBA student, I couldn’t help but be a little bit offended by his thought presented in this chapter.  However, in his chapter, he mentioned that Enron hired Wharton MBA… so I thought – well, too bad they didn’t hire Haas MBA or we may still have a company called Enron around =)

I still have not finished this book, but I’m sure there are a lot more interesting “adventures” waiting for me to discover.



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