Gladwell Goes Down!

I see tidy people!

I see tidy people!

Over at Matthew Yglesias’ blog there is a discussion of why there has been such a backlash against the erstwhile golden boy of all things visionary, Malcolm Gladwell.  His latest book, Outliers, seems to be a bit of a damp squib.

In a spiteful sort of way I am glad to find out that I am apparently not the only person in the world to find Malcolm Gladwell’s writing annoying and glib.  Gladwell’s strength is his ability to impose structure on disparate facts – like James (”Bloody”) Burke, and like Tom Friedman.

The main strength of Gladwell’s writing is its organization. The fact that the organizational patterns he imposes on his material are somewhat arbitrary has apparently escaped many people. For Gladwell the patterns come first, the writing later. This means that his thesis is pretty much pre-ordained and tidy from the get go.  Nothing much emerges.  It just gets packaged.

Also, you can skim read Gladwell and not miss much – which is never a good sign.  So, tough luck for you, Malcolm.


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