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What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures [Hardcover]

Malcolm Gladwell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 20 2009
What is the difference between choking and panicking? Why are there dozens of varieties of mustard-but only one variety of ketchup? What do football players teach us about how to hire teachers? What does hair dye tell us about the history of the 20th century?

In the past decade, Malcolm Gladwell has written three books that have radically changed how we understand our world and ourselves: The Tipping Point; Blink; and Outliers. Now, in What the Dog Saw, he brings together, for the first time, the best of his writing from The New Yorker over the same period.

Here is the bittersweet tale of the inventor of the birth control pill, and the dazzling inventions of the pasta sauce pioneer Howard Moscowitz. Gladwell sits with Ron Popeil, the king of the American kitchen, as he sells rotisserie ovens, and divines the secrets of Cesar Millan, the "dog whisperer" who can calm savage animals with the touch of his hand. He explores intelligence tests and ethnic profiling and "hindsight bias" and why it was that everyone in Silicon Valley once tripped over themselves to hire the same college graduate.

"Good writing," Gladwell says in his preface, "does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head." What the Dog Saw is yet another example of the buoyant spirit and unflagging curiosity that have made Malcolm Gladwell our most brilliant investigator of the hidden extraordinary.

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Review

GREAT PRAISE FOR WHAT THE DOG SAW:

"[Malcolm Gladwell] is one of the brightest stars in the media firmament...Gladwell's clear prose and knack for upending conventional wisdom across the social sciences have made The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers, as well as his lengthy magazine features on topics ranging from cool-hunting to ketchup, into must reads."—Alex Altman, Time.com

"This evidence of a Gladwell effect helps to predict something larger: that Mr. Gladwell's new book will be as successful as his first three...This book full of short conversation pieces is a collection that plays to the author's strengths. It underscores his way of finding suitably quirky subjects (the history of women's hair-dye advertisements; the secret of Heinz's unbeatable ketchup; even the effects of women's changing career patterns on the number of menstrual periods they experience in their lifetimes) and using each as gateway to some larger meaning."—Janet Maslin, New York Times

"Gladwell is a writer of many gifts. His nose for the untold back story will have readers repeatedly muttering, "Gee, that's interesting!" He avoids shopworn topics, easy moralization and conventional wisdom, encouraging his readers to think again and think different...Some chapters are masterpieces in the art of the essay."—Steven Pinker, The New York Times Book Review

"Uniformly delightful...Malcolm Gladwell can write engrossingly about just about anything...His witty, probing articles are as essential to David Remnick's New Yorker as those of Wolcott Gibbs and A.J. Liebling were to Harold Ross's...Gladwell has a gift for capturing personalities, a Borscht Belt comic's feel for timing and a bent for counterintuitive thinking. He loves to start a piece by settling you onto a cushion of received ideas, then yanking it out from under you."-—Craig Seligman, Bloomberg News

"Malcolm Gladwell triumphantly returns to his roots with this collections of his great works from The New Yorker Magazine....Do yourself a favor and curl up with What the Dog Saw this week: It is more entertaining and edifying than should be legal for any book."—Scott Coffman, Louisville Courier-Journal

"In What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell leads the reader on delightful side excursions, shows with insightful conversation how one path interweaves with another, and suggests meaning-he is, in short, an interpretative naturalist of American culture."—Alice Evans, The Oregonian

Review

GREAT PRAISE FOR WHAT THE DOG SAW:

"[Malcolm Gladwell] is one of the brightest stars in the media firmament...Gladwell's clear prose and knack for upending conventional wisdom across the social sciences have made The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers, as well as his lengthy magazine features on topics ranging from cool-hunting to ketchup, into must reads." (Time.com Alex Altman )

"This evidence of a Gladwell effect helps to predict something larger: that Mr. Gladwell's new book will be as successful as his first three...This book full of short conversation pieces is a collection that plays to the author's strengths. It underscores his way of finding suitably quirky subjects (the history of women's hair-dye advertisements; the secret of Heinz's unbeatable ketchup; even the effects of women's changing career patterns on the number of menstrual periods they experience in their lifetimes) and using each as gateway to some larger meaning." (New York Times Janet Maslin )

"Gladwell is a writer of many gifts. His nose for the untold back story will have readers repeatedly muttering, "Gee, that's interesting!" He avoids shopworn topics, easy moralization and conventional wisdom, encouraging his readers to think again and think different...Some chapters are masterpieces in the art of the essay." (The New York Times Book Review Steven Pinker )

"Uniformly delightful...Malcolm Gladwell can write engrossingly about just about anything...His witty, probing articles are as essential to David Remnick's New Yorker as those of Wolcott Gibbs and A.J. Liebling were to Harold Ross's...Gladwell has a gift for capturing personalities, a Borscht Belt comic's feel for timing and a bent for counterintuitive thinking. He loves to start a piece by settling you onto a cushion of received ideas, then yanking it out from under you."- (Bloomberg News Craig Seligman )

"Malcolm Gladwell triumphantly returns to his roots with this collections of his great works from The New Yorker Magazine....Do yourself a favor and curl up with What the Dog Saw this week: It is more entertaining and edifying than should be legal for any book." (Louisville Courier-Journal Scott Coffman )

"In What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell leads the reader on delightful side excursions, shows with insightful conversation how one path interweaves with another, and suggests meaning-he is, in short, an interpretative naturalist of American culture." (The Oregonian Alice Evans ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the human mind in unique essays Oct. 27 2009
By A. Volk #1 REVIEWER #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:Hardcover
Malcolm Gladwell has done it again in that he's written an interesting book about the human condition. To be fair, it's not really a book per se. It is a collection of previously published New Yorker articles. Since I don't read the New Yorker, they were new to me. If you're a regular follower, this will probably be a book of deja vu.

The book is split into three broad sections: 1. Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius 2. Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses 3. Personality, Character, and Intelligence. Each section has several essays that generally discuss the themes, and they cover a lot of varied ground. Some of the essays, like the one of Ron Popeil (Ronco Food guy from TV) were quite interesting. Others, like the article on ketchup, where a little less interesting. It's not so much that some articles were better written than others, but that the subject material is so varied that you're bound to like certain topics/ideas more than others (there are other kinds of ketchup on the shelves, saw them today- spicy and mexican to name two, plus I kind of think of steak sauce, some salsas, and BBQ sauce as alternate forms of ketchup).

Overall, the book had less impact than some of his previous work (e.g., Tipping Point) where he took one idea and really developed it. Still, as light reading, this book is a good buy. The essays are self-contained, so it's pretty easy to pick it up, read for a while, then put it down again without worried about losing track of an argument or line of thought. The wide range of topics make it likely that most readers will enjoy at least some, but probably not all, of the essays. So if you like Gladwell's other books, and are looking for something similarly amusing, but a little lighter, than this is probably going to be a good (if not great) book for you.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Malcolm learned.... Nov. 13 2009
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
One man's opinion, Malcolm Gladwell is at his best when writing essays for magazines (notably The New Yorker) or when writing Outliers: The Story of Success, his most recently published book. (I do not share others' enthusiasm for his earlier books, The Tipping Point and Blink.) In Outliers, he provides a rigorous and comprehensive examination of the breakthrough research conducted by Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State. One of the major research projects focuses on individuals who have "attained their superior performance by instruction and extended practice: highly skilled performers in the arts, such as music, painting and writing, sports, such as swimming, running and golf and games, such as bridge and chess." Geoff Colvin (in Talent Is Overrated) and Daniel Coyle (in The Talent Code) also discuss the same research.

In this volume, we have 19 of Gladwell's essays, all of which originally appeared in The New Yorker. They are organized within three Parts: Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius (e.g. "The Pitchman: Ron Popeil and the Conquest of the American Kitchen"); Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses (e.g. "Million-Dollar Murray: Why Problems Like Homelessness May Be Easier to Solve Than Manage"); and Personality, Character, and Intelligence (e.g. "Dangerous Minds: Criminal Profiling Made Easy"). In the Preface, Gladwell observes, "Curiosity about the inner life of other people's day-to-day work is one of the most funfamental of human impulses, and that same impulse is what led to the writing you now hold in your hands.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making the Ordinary Interesting Jan. 18 2010
By Oliver TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This is a collection of essays about the ordinary. Why is is that supermarket contains numerous brands of mustard, in all different styles, while most of the ketchup sold is good old Heinz? Gladwell tells that story, as well as the story behind the Ronco Vego-0-Matic, and many others, in this collection of essays which were originally published as magazine articles. Gladwell's enthusiasm, intelligence and writing style make this book a pleasure to read. The short story format makes this a good book for the bathroom, or for an airplane, or to keep with you whenever you have some free time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It does , it slices ,it dices.......... good read Feb. 13 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
so much powerful information ,. giggles and smiles. and it's all real and has happened. the player are real and exist
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What the Dog Saw Jan. 17 2010
By Pauline
Format:Hardcover
Malcolm Gladwell has written several books: 'The Tipping Point', 'Blink', and 'Outliers', all of which I have read. This one "What the Dog Saw" is a collection of essays he has written over the past ten years.

Some of the essays were attention-grabbing and some were not; the book contains a wide range of topics and depending on the person reading the book, some will be intriguing and some will seem tedious.

The essays cover such topics as the discovery of the birth control by a dedicated Catholic who thought his discovery was in synch with his church's teachings, but as it turns out that Catholic Church thought the opposite. There is an essay that explains about designer mustards and why they were successful, but why designer ketchups cannot capture the market from Heinz. Other topics include the influence of hair dye in women's lives, plagiarism, Enron's problems, and all sorts of other stories.

This book is a simple read and it does keep one's attention, but I found it lacking in cohesion. The topics while educational just do not seem to pull together to make a whole. I finished the book and felt like the book was just a collection of random essays. They do have some consistency, but I get the general feeling of disjointedness. I favour his other three books.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Item was listed as new, but it had minor scratches and marks all over...
Just received this item. On time and wrapped by hand, correct item sent, but it was listed as new, and it arrived with minor scratches and marks on it. Not terrible, but... Read more
Published on Dec 20 2011 by Jeremy Chan
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking short stories
'What the Dog Saw' is a compilation of Malcolm Gladwell's favorite articles from the last few years at 'The New Yorker'. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2011 by A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
This new book is full of new adventures and into how people think, how creativity and new ideas were developed. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2009 by Weston
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons to be Learned by Keen Observation
I found most of the essays included in this latest collection of Gladwell's musings on the creative and inventive sides of human nature to be very informative and entertaining. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2009 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
4.0 out of 5 stars Curiosity About the Commonplace Yields New Perspectives
"You, who have shown me great and severe troubles,
Shall revive me again,
And bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2009 by Donald Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars New Adventures
Got this new book yesterday when I got home, waiting for me. What a delight, Gladwell has to be one of my favorite authors, right up there with Og Mandino , Jim Royn and C.S. Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2009 by Timothy Ross
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