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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the human mind in unique essays, Oct. 27 2009
This review is from: What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (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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A. Volk
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Location: Canada

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