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61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars exploring aspects of human psyche - article by article, October 21, 2009
This review is from: What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (Hardcover)
In a compendium of previously published articles (as old as 1996 and as recent as 2008), Gladwell attempts to provide a unique window to the human psyche mostly in terms of its creativity, inventiveness, decision making and biases. While the articles themselves are very engaging read and informative, the compendium-of-best-articles, leaves the reader fairly direction-less due to the lack of an explicit theme or an overarching premise to contextualize the articles. Moreover, Gladwell doesn't use the opportunity to self-critique older articles and provide any additional insights that would have significantly helped the reader. Gladwell fans and frequent users of his website/blog may find the lack of new material disappointing.

In the first part Gladwell zigzags his way through kitchen gadgets, ketchup, Wall Street, hair dyes, birth control and dog whisperers. The range of the topics, notwithstanding, the reader is treated to unique glimpses of "hidden extraordinary" as the book jacket frames it. (Other reviewers have talked about the contents in the other two parts, but expect a wide plethora of topics) In a way, the lack of cohesiveness of the topics encourages the reader to wander to very different topics which oftentimes leads to surprising insights. The articles being written at different times shouldn't be expected to be able to maintain a uniform sense of engagement or interest to the reader.

After reading through the entire book,the reader is likely to have come across few instances or discussions that will force you to rethink, but overall, the book doesn't provide a relatively succinct theme or question such as the Outliers did for understanding success or the Tipping Point's take on ideas or Blink's take on gut responses. As entertaining and interesting a compendium this turned out to be, a reader will need to manage expectations with respect to this collection of articles.
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