What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures

What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures

by Malcolm Gladwell

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Overview

Over the past decade, Malcolm Gladwell has become the most gifted and influential journalist in America. In The New Yorker, his writings are such must-reads that the magazine charges advertisers significantly more money for ads that run within his articles. With his #1 bestsellers, The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers, he has reached millions of readers. And now the very best and most famous of his New Yorker pieces are collected in a brilliant and provocative anthology. Among the pieces: his investigation into why there are so many different kinds of mustard but only one kind of ketchup; a surprising assessment of what makes for a safer automobile; a look at how we hire when we can't tell who's right for the job; an examination of machine built to predict hit movies; the reasons why homelessness might be easier to solve than manage; his famous profile of inventor and entrepreneur Ron Popeil; a look at why employers love personality tests; a dissection of Ivy League admissions and who gets in; the saga of the quest to invent the perfect cookie; and a look at hair dye and the hidden history of postwar America.

For the millions of Malcolm Gladwell fans, this anthology is like a greatest hits compilation-a mix tape from America's alpha mind

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316076203
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 12/14/2010
Pages: 410
Sales rank: 20,532
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers: The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath. He is also the co-founder of Pushkin Industries, an audio content company that produces the podcasts Revisionist History, which reconsiders things both overlooked and misunderstood, and Broken Record, where he, Rick Rubin, and Bruce Headlam interview musicians across a wide range of genres. Gladwell has been included in the Time 100 Most Influential People list and touted as one of Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers.

Hometown:

New York, NY

Date of Birth:

September 3, 1963

Place of Birth:

England, U.K.

Education:

University of Toronto, History degree, 1984

Table of Contents

Preface

PART ONE:
"To a worm in horseradish, the world is horseradish."
Obsessives, pioneers, and other varieties of minor genius.

The Pitchman
Ron Popeil and the conquest of the American kitchen

The Ketchup Conundrum
Mustard now comes in dozens of different varieties. Why has ketchup stayed the same?

Blowing Up
How Nassim Taleb turned the inevitability of disaster into an investment strategy.

True Colors
Hair Dye and the hidden history of postwar America

John Rock's Error
What the inventor of the birth control pill didn't know about women's health

What the Dog Saw
Cesar Millan and the movements of mastery

PART TWO:
"It was like driving down an interstate looking through a soda straw."
Theories, Predictions and Diagnoses

Open Secrets
Enron, intelligence and the perils of too much information

Million Dollar Murray
Why problems like homelessness may be easier to solve than to manage

The Picture Problem
Mammography, air power, and the limits of looking.

Something Borrowed
Should a charge of plagiarism ruin your life?

Connecting the Dots
The paradoxes of intelligence reform.

The Art of Failure
Why some people choke and others panic

Blowup
Who can be blamed for a disaster like the Challenger explosion? No one, and we'd better get used to it.

PART THREE:
" 'He'll be wearing a doubled breasted suit. Buttoned.'-and he was."
Personality, character and intelligence.

Most Likely to Succeed
How do we hire when we can't tell who's right for the job.

Dangerous Minds
Criminal profiling made easy

The TalentMyth
Are smart people over-rated?

Late Bloomers
Why do we equate genius with precocity?

The New Boy Network
What do job interviews really tell us?

Troublemakers
What pit bulls can teach us about crime

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What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 512 reviews.
SantaMonicaArtist More than 1 year ago
"The trick to finding ideas is to convince yourself that everyone and everything has a story to tell" (xix). In my opinion, What the Dog Saw is a clever way to gain insight on information that Gladwell calls "adventures;" a collection of 19 articles placed into three specific categories: minor geniuses, theories and predictions. I am not usually intrigued by social science or psychology... I am, after all, a senior in High School who prides myself on being an "abstract thinker," "creative," and an "artist," but surprisingly Malcolm Gladwell took particular topics and articulately portrayed experiences with a tone of great excitement and curiosity for the subjects, which allowed me to continue reading the book with an excited anticipation. I understand the arguments from people who had previously read Gladwell's articles in The New Yorker; it was nothing new. But for those craving a logical book filled with facts, and a bit of passion, it was refreshing, to say the least.
Booknut62 More than 1 year ago
I have read with pleasure Malcolm Gladstone's books "Blink" and "Outliers" with fascination and interest and with level of intensity that made those two books quite enjoyable. I did not have the same experience with "What the Dog Saw." It is not the same. Perhaps Gladstone's attempt to cobble together old columns and writings just does not work for me. I found reading this book and getting through it an ordeal. I always finish a book even when I am not particularly enjoying it. This one bordered on being painful to get through. Then again, it could just be me. I am not a fan of short story books either. Some of the topics addressed by Gladstone were interesting such as the opening chapter about "The Pitchman," but that interest and intensity of writing is just not sustained throughout the whole book. "Outliers" and "Blink" were thought-provoking, engaging, and fascinating, but this one never rises to the same level. There are books that I would call not very enjoyable, but a worthwhile read. I am sorry to say that I just can't call this one a worthwhile read. I'm afraid this one was one of those published with the hopes that because of Gladwell's previous successes, it would see success as well. I am sure it has sold well, but this is one of those books that can make you not want to read any more by this author.
Henry_Boyer More than 1 year ago
I enjoy books and articles that give me a bigger picture of the world. Malcolm Gladwell does it with prose that is both faced paced and substantive. Many people will suspect that these reprinted articles from the New Yorker are just a way of cashing in on previous successes, and they may well be, but they are well worth the read. These insights into human nature and experience, giving us the real story behind people and events, are perhaps the only real truths available to us. "What the Dog Saw" spoke to me on both emotional and intellectual levels in a very satisfying way. Light, enjoyable reading that informs and inspires is a big part of what good writing is all about. I enjoyed his earlier book, "Outliers," in much the same way. But here the greater variety of subjects, each presented with sufficient depth that never bogs down, was even more insightful, expanding and encouraging. With the constant deluge of bad news, and with the winter chill freezing us out even down here in Florida, Malcolm's writing is a fresh, warm and fragrant breeze. I looked forward to reading "What the Dog Saw" in the same way I look forward to getting together with good friends. However, this book always fit into my schedule.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I devoured this book. And then I had to talk about all of the fascinating, interesting, well written, diverse topics with anyone who would listen. From the history of the Pill to the history of ketchup, to the efficacy of serial killer profiling to the art of the job interview, I learned all sort of things I would not have ever considered otherwise.
searcher_10 More than 1 year ago
I bought What the Dog Saw on impulse which usually is not a good thing. I was pleasently surprised when I found that I actually enjoyed reading Mr Gladwell's articles even on topics that I would have skipped over if I was reading the original in the magazine. I would not have expected to be interested in articles on womens hair coloring or pitchmen for TV kitchen gimmicks but I was. A very good book for when you want to read something short but interesting and well written
Karpfish More than 1 year ago
These articles are so far ahead their time that you wonder what planet Gladwell came from. He is clear, yet scholarly, profound but research based, concise yet detailed. He is so on target. What other writer, particularly a non-fiction writer, had four books on the best seller list at the same time?
PAFPF More than 1 year ago
Malcolm Gladwell is a supreme writer. Be it any one of his three past bestsellers or his newest book, Gladwell's writing is clear, exciting, and clearly holds the interest of the reader. In What the Dog Saw, Gladwell shares his favorite columns spanning the past thirteen years from his regular writing gig with The New Yorker magazine. The title came from his interview and research for a column he wrote, and included in this book, on Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. When Gladwell started writing that particular column he wondered what Millan was thinking as he trained some of the most difficult and ill behaved dogs one can find. In the middle of writing the column, Gladwell decided the more interesting question was what did the dog see during Millan's training. The author also shares a bit of his personal and professional life with readers in this book. And, he gives his secret for finding columns on subjects that may not readily lend themselves to writing about. Topics such as gourmet mustard and regular ole ketchup are brought to life and make the reader think. This is a great read by a great contemporary writer and columnist.
theBookChubi More than 1 year ago
I listened to the audiobook and I think that was a good idea. First off, Gladwell has a great vocal quality that can both present information in a neutral tone (avoiding the problem of biasing the reader straight from the start) but is also very animated and really helps bring the information alive. Although the words themselves are what is important, without the additional presentational quality of the author I feel this book may come off as dry or too factual (as opposed to the stated purpose of providing an alternative idea). He takes you along the entire thought process behind the theories and ideas he is writing about so that you aren't simply confronted with the "solution" but get an idea of each step taken to arrive at that conclusion. Some of the endings are blunt, which may work well for The New Yorker (where the articles were sourced from) but do seem a bit abrupt for a collection of stories in a book. Gladwell is fantastic about bringing each story around full circle and creating a through-line which, rather than sounding like a college paper (as these articles could have been doomed in another author's hands), provide a rich plot which happens to provide valuable information in the mean time. You will learn something even if you don't mean to and in the context of this book that is a positive factor. All in all this book deserves your attention (it sure managed to capture mine). Read the full review at: http://thebookchubi.blogspot.com/2009/11/i-hope-i-have-encouraged-people-in.html
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to put this book down. Great, thought provoking read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved his other three books...but this one was hard to finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another very innovative and compelling book from Gladwell. The topics covered are diverse, but the overall point is -- like Gladwell's other books -- to get the reader to think about different topics in an entirely new way. In this regard, Gladwell succeeds. I always learn something new and ultimately, improve my own way of thinking.
bermudaonion on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell is a collection of essays written by the author and originally published in The New Yorker magazine. Topics range from ketchup to Ron Popeil to failure to Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer (and the inspiration for the title).I listened to the audio version of this book, and as you would expect, I found some essays to be better than others. The book is read by the author and at first, I didn't think I would like his narration, but I grew to enjoy it, even though his pronunciation of a few words sounded funny to my Southern ears.I imagine my mother's glad I finished What the Dog Saw because I told her more than she probably wanted to know about a few of the essays. I found "What the Inventor of Birth Control Pills Didn't Know About Women's Health" and "Mammography, Air Power, and and the Limits of Looking" particularly fascinating. I thought the articles were well-researched and thought provoking. When Gladwell made a point, he often used more than one source to back it up. "How Nasim Taleb Turned the Inevitability of Disaster into an Investment Strategy" was over my head and I felt like I might have understood it better if I'd been able to read it, rather than listen to it.The audio book is on 10 CDs and takes about 13 hours to listen too. With over 20 essays, it's easy to listen to a complete one in a short time. I enjoyed my first experience with Malcolm Gladwell's work and would like to read more of it now.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked Gladwell's single-topic books (though they were probably just loose collections of essays much like this one) but this is my favourite, as it is an unashamed collection of writings on totally different topics. Gladwell likes taking disparate elements and weaving them together by way of human interest and fine characterisation. He challenges one's assumptions and preconceived notions, and does so in a very enjoyable way. That said, his style can begin to grate after a while, so this is a book to be savoured over time, not consumed whole.
joecflee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I read from Malcolm Gladwell. I was impressed by how he can take complex and seemingly routine subjects and turn them into interesting and well-written articles (the book consists of excerpts from his earlier works).Whether it's about the best TV pitchman or the dog whisperer, he adds perspectives to the way we look at the world, making the title very appropriate. I learned a lot from this book.
maunder on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Gladwell's most popular books: Blink, The Tipping Point, Outliers and this book I found to be slightly disappointing - like a Christmas album from an artist you really liked that seemed somewhat deja vu. There were still many trenchant observations and chapters which were extremely interesting however it remains a collection of articles he has written for various publications and for that reason seems in some cases slightly trivial. Still though, I would recommend it especially if you haven't yet read and intend to read other works by Gladwell.
figre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Malcolm Gladwell is the bestselling author of three books ¿ The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. The only one of these I have read is the latter which, I will admit, I skimmed through and was not impressed. (Others have indicated I read the weakest of the three, and I should try the others. We¿ll see.) There was nothing in that book to prepare me for quality within this collection.What the Dog Saw is a fascinating collection of essays by Gladwell that were previously published in The New Yorker. These essays are insightful, entertaining, educational (not in a painful way), and ¿well, I have to go back to fascinating. Gladwell has the skill of bringing seemingly disparate ideas together, showing the similarities in such a way that new insight is gained in both, and leading the reader to a broader and better conclusion than just a single exploration would have provided.The first third of the collection focuses on people. But Gladwell does not write biographies. Rather, he tells the story of people and how they impact the world we know. This includes the story of Ron Popeil and the ability to sell; Shirley Polykoff and the invention of the marketing phrase ¿Does she or doesn¿t she¿; John Rock and how he developed the pill; and Cesar Millan and how he became the dog whisperer.Just as you are getting used to this approach, the second and third portions of the book begin to more explicitly explore ideas. Two essays take on the Enron debacle (the first pointing out that it was not the lack of information that caused us all to miss what occurred, but the overabundance of information; and the second laying additional blame at the feet of one group that is seldom blamed ¿ McKinsey). Two additional essays talk about selecting and sizing-up people toward identifying success. There is an essay on the solution of the homelessness problem that mirrors racial problems in the police force. Another piece delves into the subject of plagiarism. Another makes the case that complicated situations that lead to disaster (think the Challenger and Three Mile Island) do not have a cause ¿ that no one is really ¿to blame¿.This should provide some idea of the varying ideas and concepts that are explored. And, as previously indicated, Gladwell does this in a manner that makes the reader think, makes the reader explore, and makes the reader want to know more.
stephaniechase on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gladwell's interesting points-of-view are, if anything, even more astonishing in short form, as in this collection of essays from The New Yorker. It is especially interesting to read about some of the topics in retrospect!
triscuit on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This collection of articles is less satisfying to me than his other more thematically cohesive collections of observations. But he has a great knack for finding interesting things to ponder and he is a good writer as well. I've already retold the gist of his chapter on the Roman Catholic inventor of the pill.
Jellyn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A collection of pieces Malcolm Gladwell wrote for the New Yorker. If you like Malcolm Gladwell's other books, I think you'll like this okay. Some interesting things to think about and chew on in here. Such as a whole new way to play the stock market, reasons to be mad at the inventor of The Pill, and.. wow.. some other things I already can't remember. But I'm sure the ideas are up in my head, waiting to be triggered by something.
crazybatcow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's a collection of essays on a variety of topics, some of which are a bit more interesting than others - and which is which would depend on whether or not you're interested in the origins of hair color, or how the "Dog Whisperer" works. If you are, you will find this book interesting, if you're not, well... you can just skip to the next essay.The essays are not related to each other, so you can read them in any order, or not read them at all if they don't interest you. I liked Blink better (more interesting stories perhaps).Are his stories true? Based on facts? Speculation? Who knows, but it is well-written.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You know Malcolm Gladwell. He¿s The Tipping Point author. He looks at events and tries to help us figure out why and when and how-to-do-it-again-better. What the Dog Saw is a collection of Gladwell¿s articles. I wanted to hit the save button several times as I read this book. One article I had to reread was ¿Most Likely to Succeed.¿ It compares finding good teachers to finding a good NFL quarterback. Apparently good teachers are the most important thing in enhancing student performance: ¿¿many reformers have come to the conclusion that nothing matters more than finding people with the potential to be good teachers.¿ It is also hard. It¿s hard to find those good teachers. What does it take? How does one become a good teacher? A few qualities this article examines are regard for student perspective, the teacher¿s ability to allow students flexibility in becoming engaged in the lesson; personalizing the material, making the material live for each student; and, most important, feedback, ¿direct, personal response by a teacher to a specific statement by a student.¿ Just one of twenty or so little articles Gladwell wrote about issues you thought you knew about, you thought you understood¿but that science tells you to reexamine.
tkadlec on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Disclaimer: I'm a pretty big fan of Gladwell. Prior to "What the Dog Saw" I had read each of his books (Outliers, Blink and Tipping Point) and enjoyed each of them. While I may not always agree with his conclusions, I consider him to be one of those rare authors whose writing is consistently truly thought provoking.WTDS is a collection of his essays from the New Yorker. The first third of the book, in my opinion, was borderline ethnography which I only have a marginal interest in. While the writing was excellent, those stories were not as engaging to me as his other books had been. The last two sections of the book, however, more than make up for it. Those are the kinds of essays you'd expect given his past body of work - well written, engaging articles that cause you to reconsider your preconceptions on a topic.If you like Gladwell, you'll probably enjoy the book. If you haven't liked his prior books, I'd still recommend giving this a try and seeing if you enjoy him in more "bite-size" chunks.
laholmes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great collection of articles from Gladwell at the New Yorker. Covering subjects from Ron Popeil to Cesar Milan to choking vs panic, it is a fascinating read. Makes for great light reading and is hard to put down.
Dangraham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not my favorite Gladwell book - I didn't get much new from this one
tangledthread on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this as a downloadable audiobook, narrated by the author. A nonfiction book that challenges the reader to question how we observe and identify problems before trying to apply solutions.Am looking forward to reading other titles by this author.