Daily Archives: 29/03/2010

Malcolm Gladwell’s book What the Dog Saw

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In Malcolm Gladwell’s forth book to date, What the Dog Saw, he has put together a number of essays, at taking a fresh look of why incidents or things happen. In NLP terms, to “chunk down”, to look beyond what seems to be obvious.

Once again, Gladwell cites examples to back-up his writing, examples of why the birth-control bill, has a monthly cycle of taking the drug and a period of time when the drug is not taken. It makes sense when Gladwell explains that one of the inventors of the birth-control pill, John Rock was a practicing Roman Catholic, going to mass every morning, and the Vatican believes there should be no artificial methods of birth-control. Rock stated that the birth-control pill used the natural chemicals of the female body to trick it to believe it was already pregnant, and thus not release an egg, but still produce the menstrual cycle, thus the church should accept the pill.

Gladwell, explains how Rock’s ideas were based upon trying to please the Roman Catholic Church, which prefers the rhythm method of abstinence, and had no bearing in the working of the birth-control pill which could be taken continuously. Research says that females are better off not having their monthly periods, being that the increase in the natural chemicals, estrogen and progestin in the females body at the time of mensuration, can cause cancer.

Gladwell explains why making the tops of medicine bottles more difficult to remove in the interests of child safety, makes them more dangerous due to the complacency of the parents.

He explores how we make instant decisions when meeting people, who is right for the job and who is not, and much more.

In Gladwell’s 19 essays, he helps to look at things in a different way. A good read.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers

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In Malcolm Gladwell’s third book, Outliers he looks at why there are people who are outside the normal population, those who excel, he investigates why these people are so great.

Gladwell again gives examples of successful people, and groups, to explain what he is telling us, and shows us that it is not always genius that makes these people a success, but the history of the family going back generations, the culture of the person, even that date of birth could make the difference between being a high achiever or failure, an outlier or an ordinary person.

Gladwell also explains that to be an outlier we should be in the right place at the right time, and to take advantage of the opportunity.

Having the above factors in-place does not mean success, to become an outlier, a person needs to become involved with the area of expertise of greatness, to DO the action, the work, for 10,000 hoursGladwell cites examples of the Beatles, Bill Gates etc, of how the Beatles played in Hamburg nightclubs for long hours, amassing the required 10,000 hours, how Bill Gates spent hours and hours programming the early computers, again amassing the 10,000 hours before setting-up Microsoft.

Gladwell looks at the birth dates of those who created the leading computer software companies, and surprise, they mostly fall within a narrow year range, and he looks at American lawyers who specialise in takeovers and litigation are mostly Jewish of a certain age.

Gladwell asks, why are top basketball players birthdays mostly in the early months, January, February, March, and why pupils who achieve better exam results have their birthdays closer to the start of the academic year, than those pupils whose birthdays are nearer the end of the academic year. Simple really, the older pupil is nearly a year older and has a more developed brain, take for example a baby of one year old and compare it to a two year old child, there is a big difference in ability, understanding and behaviour.

An amazing book, which gives an insight to what could make people great, an outlier.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink

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In Malcolm Gladwell’s second book, Blink, he looks at how first impressions, that within two seconds, our mind has been influenced, as Gladwell says “kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye“.

The book investigates what is going on inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition, in the two seconds, and how we should perhaps go with our intuition, which is often proven to be the correct decision, it is only when our subjective, reasoning mind, comes into play, that we get things wrong.

As always, Gladwell gives examples to explain in an entertaining and informative way, for example in a hospital emergency ward, medical staff are trained to look for less information, in NLP terms to stop “chunking down“, for patients suffering with chest pains to hone in on just the few critical pieces of information, blood pressure and the ECG, ignoring everything else, like the patient’s age and weight and medical history, resulting in a quicker diagnosis.

He writes about how a fire office’s intuition told him that the firefighters under his control were in a dangerous situation, and ordered them to withdraw, only to find that the building they were in collapsed. How did the fire officer know to issue the order to withdraw? By intuition, which can take many years to instill into the cognitive behaviour, to become implicit, automatic, so that we can react in the blink of the eye.

For people who are PhotoReading, why we should take the first idea or concept that comes into our mind when activating the book.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point

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In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, one of his four great books, he explains how ideas, products, behaviours suddenly become the way people think and do things, the items that become desirable, become the behaviours of society, spreading through a population like an epidemic.

He tells us how beliefs can change quickly, how one person can have more influence on change than another, giving specific examples to substantiate his ideas, for instance how Paul Revere got the American colonists around 1773 to become organised against the British, how the Airwalk footwear became fashion, how crime waves were reduced in New York City.

He explains that in any situation or market there will be four major influences.

There will be the “Market Mavens“, people who passes vital information to others about their knowledge, perhaps about good prices, good deals.

There will be “Connectors“, people who know people who know people. There is a theory, often called “the six degrees of separation“, that says it only needs a chain of six people to get information from person A to person B, from yourself for example to the Queen of England.

The “Stickiness” factor, how a message or information will stay in the mind, say like a slogan, and advertisement, how something will become an “anchor” in NLP terms

The forth is “Context“, how ideas or products rely on the time and place change takes place, and the conditions and circumstances when they occur.

Using examples though-out, this book is easy to follow, a must for those in marketing and places of influence, and a must for those of us who are manipulated by others, by governments, by media, radio, TV and newspapers.

The book will open your eyes.