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Explaining the Human Mind September 7, 2007

Posted by Wilz in Entertainment, Society.
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tipping.jpgMalcolm Gladwell is a great storyteller and story-make-sense-er. I first encountered him in a TED talk, talking about spaghetti sauce and Pepsi (video below). He used these two things to expound the concept of beauty in diversity.

When I was flying back to Sarawak through the LCCT last month, I came across his two books, The Tipping Point and Blink, in the convenience store out front (before the check-in area), along with Tuesdays with Morrie. I was pleasantly surprised that a local shop that isn’t even a bookstore was carrying books like this! The fact that they were bestsellers probably had something to do with it heh.

The Tipping Point is his earlier book – and it deals with trends and why and how ‘viral marketing’ works. He talked about the concept of the three people personalities – the connectors, mavens and salesmen – which are responsible for making things happen or popular, provided the ‘thing’ is ‘sticky’ and that there is appropriate context. It was a fascinating read.

blink.jpgBlink on the other hand, is simply genius! With the tag line “The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” the book talks about sub/unconcious thought, snap judgements and the like. Everyone loves to trust their intuition, and everyone also understands that there are limitations to that. How do you identify where your intuition serves you well, and where it may be faulty? Can you train your mind to make better use of your subconcious?

In the course of explaining the ideas in his books, Malcolm Gladwell tells stories of individual experiences, research findings, and his conversations with people, and he connects all these little stories and findings together in ways that both expands your understanding of how the mind works, and even evokes emotion. I’ve never read non-fiction books that contain this many compellingly written stories! Definitely two of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a while.

Besides that, I love his hair. You can see it in the following video (20+ mins):

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