Malcolm Gladwell is coming!

I don’t know about all of you, but most days I’m a devoted reader of light ‘n fluffy literature. The kind of book you can bring to the beach or kick back with over a post-work glass of chilled white wine. But there’s one writer that doesn’t fall into that category that I find totally fascinating – his books make my perspective bend in all kinds of weird ways and consider angles I’d never thought of on problems before. I know, it sounds like a mental workout, and it is – but it’s a fun workout! Zumba for the mind.

The writer I’m talking about is Malcolm Gladwell, who wrote Tipping Point, Outliers, Blink, and What the Dog Saw. They’re all fascinating books that make you tilt your head to look at the world around you in a different way – like considering for the first time why exactly it is that so many great hockey players are born in January, and figuring out how many hours it would take you to get really, really, really good at playing the piano.

But here’s a fascinating fact you won’t find in any of Gladwell’s books: He’s coming to speak here in Winnipeg! He’ll be the keynote speaker at Centrallia, a business forum happening here this October. Tickets to his speech are for sale to the public, but I’ve got a pair to give away to one of my lucky readers! And I do mean lucky – he’s been on the list of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, he’s a super-popular speaker, AND he’s got amazing hair. Not that that last one has anything to do with him being a great speaker, but it’s true – it’s really great hair.

I want everyone to have a fair chance at this, so we’ll make it easy-ish – just share your favourite Gladwell quote and/or fascinating fact in the comments below, and you’re entered. Just one entry per person – I’ll be drawing the winner randomly on June the 22nd! So share your favourite odd and insightful tidbits to make sure you get your chance!

P.S. If you want to double your chances to win, the Centrallia facebook page is having a contest too – like them and you’ve got another chance to at tickets!

65 thoughts on “Malcolm Gladwell is coming!

  1. During an email exchange with Bill Simmons of ESPN about basketball, “Although surely Bird isn’t telling the truth here. On the court, he fits much better with LeBron than Kobe. Kobe’s ideal teammate is a ball boy. But go on …”

    1. My Favourite story was the New York Subway revamp from The Tipping Point. It really hit home, how small changes (removing graffiti, prosecuting fare jumpers) would create a sense of order. Thin slicing from Blink is my close second! If you’ve only read the books, I reccommend audible.com, listening to him read his books make for a whole new experience.

  2. “We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.” As a tutor for Red River College, I often see the blank stare of students until we go over an example. THEN they get it. I experience the reality of this quote daily, as I am sure many educators do.

  3. Favourite quote! “We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We’re a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don’t really have an explanation for,” in Blink.

  4. Hi Peggy,

    Here’s my favourite Malcolm Gladwell quote:

    “We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We’re a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don’t really have an explanation for.”

    Thanks!
    Paul

  5. Mine, for sure, is the 100 Monkey concept that he explains in Tipping Point. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundredth_monkey_effect) This concept of ideas becoming viral once a critical mass is reached is such a powerful driver behind any successful campaign, especially in cause-driven ones like the many online fundraising projects, social change initiatives, etc.
    More relevant, I believe this is what is starting to happen with Downtown Winnipeg. I believe that awareness is starting to increase about how much downtown life has to offer, and that as more people start to move into the area, the better it will be for the entire city.
    Social media is a powerful tool in spreading this message, and this is why people love Peggy as much as we do. It’s a fun way to keep people informed and engaged. As more personalities spread the message, we all win.

  6. A book, I was taught long ago in English class, is a living and breathing document that grows richer with each new reading.”
    ― Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

  7. I’ve read all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books and written a few papers about his research throughout my university career. Outliers was the first book of his I ever read, and his explanation of the relative age phenomenon blew me away: “… In any elite group of hockey players – the very best of the best – 40 percent of the players will have been born between January and March, 30 percent between April and June, 20 percent between July and September, and 10 percent between October and December.”
    Gladwell does a fantastic job of explaining complex scientific research in simple, easy to understand stories. I am a big fan of his and I’d love to get the opportunity to see his presentation!

  8. “….. it would be interesting to find out what goes on in that moment when someone looks at you and draws all sorts of conclusions.”

  9. “Paul Revere’s ride is perhaps the most famous historical example of a word-of-mouth epidemic.” – The Tipping Point

  10. The piece of his that has stuck with me the most is the one from What the Dog Saw on the influence of Catholicism on the invention and design of birth control pills!

  11. I had to share this priceless photo of Malcolm Gladwell which I just came across on his blog:

    “It’s the finals of the 1500 meters at the Ontario 14-year-old championships, many many years ago. The runner on the left is Dave Reid, who was the greatest Canadian miler of his generation…” Gladwell won the race, by ‘statistical fluke’, and promptly retired from competitive running.

    Photo:
    http://gladwell.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451c8bb69e20133efe9cae3970b-pi

  12. Love this one: “No one who can rise before dawn three hundred and sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.” –Outliers

  13. The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are lacking in the latter.

  14. I read the tipping point first, and the thing that stands out most to me is the Hush Puppies story, and how one group of people determined to go against the trend, set the trend, and saved the company.

  15. “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good,” from Outliers.

    Something I’ve been trying to live by recently.

    1. I agree with the last post..miss seeing your ueptads and to know what is happening with you. That must mean you are busy and involved which is a wonderful thing. Just know that so many of us take strength from you and learn from the way that you continue to be positive and so generous of spirit. I hope that you will find 2009 to be a good year and one in which you can continue to grow and share your journey with all of us who love to follow your lead. Happy New Year Jen!

  16. May Favourite, from What the Dog Saw is “Good writing, 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.”

  17. My Favorite Gladwell quote is “Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from”, from Outliers. Always reminds what a big part of me is Winnipeg!

  18. There is so much truth to this quote of his: “Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.” ______________
    Thank you very much for this chance to win Peggy! 🙂

  19. Hi Peggy!

    I would LOVE to win Malcolm Gladwell tickets! (and it would be a great opportunity to check out his hair in person to see if it’s as awesome as you say it is! LOL).

    My favorite quote is what am I striving for in life:

    “It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us.”
    ― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

  20. Hi Peggy!

    I would LOVE to win Malcolm Gladwell tickets! (and it would be a great opportunity to check out his hair in person to see if it’s as awesome as you say it is! LOL).

    My favorite quote is what am striving for in life:

    “It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us.”
    ― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

  21. Malcolm Gladwell is so inspirational: “If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires”
    ———-
    Thank you for this chance to win Peggy! My wife Michelle and I would absolutely LOVE to go.

  22. My favourite quote, and the basis for the most amazingly engaging book I have ever read:

    “There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.” 

    ― Malcolm Gladwell, Blink

  23. “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”

  24. “Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.”

    I’ve lived in many parts of the world… and have come to realize just how much the prairies have shaped who I am.

  25. I still have an episode of The Hour (George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight) where he interviews Malcolm. Two of my favourite people! George asks Malcolm about his secret to success and he replies:”It’s not always about the individual does but what is going on around the individual… I’m more interested in: What generation did you belong to? What did your parents do for a living? What culture do you belong to? What kind of extraordinary things happened to you, lucky breaks did you have as a kid…family and culture.” So smart!!

    1. “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
      ― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

  26. I love Outliers’ tale of 10,000 hours and the first chapter that reveals the curious statistics about NHL hockey players born in Jan, Feb, Mar. His work is readable to the point where its tough to remain critical while reading because I was getting wrapped up in the anecdotes!

  27. So many good quotes from him! Two of my favourites:
    “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”

    “It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us.”

  28. I found the development of the 10000 hour preparation fascinating. Singularity of focus over and extended time… who could imagine that this would/could make someone the richest person in the world!

  29. “Instinct is the gift of experience. The first question you have to ask yourself is, ‘On what basis am I making a judgment?’ … If you have no experience, then your instincts aren’t any good.” Malcolm Gladwell

    Something I try to keep in mind while working at a new job.

  30. I would absolutely love to see him. This quote in particular is one that I can totally relate to. As an accontant, I tend to gather alot of information before I make a decision, and in the end, I ususally come up with the same choice 🙂

    “We live in a world that assumes that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it…We believe that we are always better off gathering as much information as possible an depending as much time as possible in deliberation. We really only trust conscious decision making. But there are moments, particularly in times of stress, when haste does not make waste, when our snap judgments and first impressions can offer a much better means of making sense of the world. The first task of Blink is to convince you of a simple fact: decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately.”
    ― Malcolm Gladwell, Blink

  31. My favourite quote by Malcom Gladwell is…

    “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”
    – Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

    Thanks 🙂

  32. Favorite quote? “Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.”
    As a student who focused on identity building, I’ve written entire research papers built on this idea. He’s been truly inspirational to my academic career and he’s a pure joy to read.

  33. One of my favourite Malcolm Gladwell quotes is about “Affect, Imagery, Consciousness” by Silvan Tomkins, which Gladwell describes as “a four-volume work so dense that its readers were evenly divided between those who understood it and thought it was brilliant and those who did not understand it and thought it was brilliant.”

  34. “To be someone’s best friend requires a minimum investment of time. More than that, though, it takes emotional energy. Caring about someone deeply is exhausting.”
    – Outliers

  35. One of my favourite Gladwell quotes is from Blink: “We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We’re a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don’t really have an explanation for.”

  36. Favourite Quote – “Achievement is talent plus preparation”

    also fond of

    “Mimicry, they argue, is also one of the means by which we infect each other with our emotions. In other words, if I smile and you see me and smile in response—even a microsmile that takes no more than several milliseconds—it’s not just you imitating or empathizing with me. It may also be a way that I can pass on my happiness to you.”

    Favourite Gladwell moment………… walking through Pearson Airport with a copy of a Gladwell book and having the airline staff look at it and smile – I smiled back and raised the book – we then spent a delightful flight excitedly discussing the book allowing ideas emotion and enthusasm to smash together – rather delightful.

  37. Outliers is an awesome book. 10,000 hours is a good concept. He is very talented. I am glad he was awarded the Order of Canada last year.

  38. My favorite Malcolm Gladwell quote? “Emotion is contagious.”

    My favorite moment? When I ran my very first half-marathon – the Police Half, back in ’07 – I had the PERFECT playlist ready to go. My iPod was stashed away safely in one of my pockets, and all I had to do was press play before a medley of Spice Girls, Jamiroquai and Jackson 5 would sing me through the next 13.1 miles of my life.

    Instead?

    “This audio program is brought to you by Audible.com – Audible, audio that speaks to you where ever you are!”

    Tipping Point had recently been added to my iPod for my commute to and from work, and somehow my perfectly crafted playlist wasn’t selected. I was sucked in from the first few sentences (read by Gladwell himself) as he jumped from Hush Puppies to crime in New York… My first half-marathon remains my favorite, and the book was a HUGE part of that.

  39. I love his conversation about contagion : “We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that sometimes big changes follow from small events, and that sometimes these changes can happen very quickly.”
    Would love to hear him!!! Thank you for the opportunity

  40. I love his conversation about contagion: “We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that sometimes big changes follow from small events, and that sometimes these changes can happen very quickly.”

    Would love to hear him – thank you for the opportunity

  41. My girlfriend is a huge Malcolm Gladwell fan! Being a University student I can’t really afford 2 tickets to his keynote but I would very much wow my Girlfriend if I had tickets. I don’t know any quotes I just know she would be in awe about the spectacle. Please Peggy!

    1. Great post Rosa! I feel the same way. Social Media enhance and enlbae real life connections for those looking to grow them. Some people use social media to enhance existing relationships, some to build new ones and some to sell widgets. Gladwell, is a non-participant, an outsider who through talking to others that just don’t get it’ or complain no one is connecting with my business’ has come to believe in looser ties.Vancouver has proven itself that Social Media needs real life interactions to be taken to the next level and to allow people to reach beyond the digital bond into real life.

  42. “It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us. Being a teacher is meaningful.”

    It was a quote that stood out. Words of wisdom; a job will make you miserable if you are just doing it for a paycheque. If you’re not happy, you should quit and find something you get excited about doing in the morning.

  43. Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” I LOVED Outliers, but really all his books. I have all of them on audio to listen to in the car- I find him amazing

  44. My favorite quote is “Achievement is talent plus preparation”. Nothing is a gift, there’s always work involved.

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