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 20 th century? In the past decade,... read more
“To a worm in horseradish, the world is horseradish.”
“Happiness, in one sense, is a function of how closely our world conforms to the infinite variety of human preference. But that makes it easy to forget that sometimes happiness can be foundin having what we've alwys had and everyone else is having.”Malcolm Gladwell
“You could get what you wanted by faking it, but then you would never know whether it was you or that bit of fakery that mad ethe difference. You ran the risk of losing sight of who you really were.”Malcolm Gladwell
“My dear madam, in my faith, we are taught that the Lord is with us always. When my time comes there will be no need for introductions.”John Rock
“Sometimes the gap between hearing an idea and figuring out how to write about it is substantial. In this case, it was almost a decade. While he was in medical school, my friend Chris Grover once pointed out to me that, from an evolutionary perspective, the experience of modern women was profoundly unusual. Up until the beginning of the nineteenth century, women of childbearing age rarely menstruated. Today, they menstruate all the time. I found that fascinating. But how on earth do you fashion a story around that fact? Then I discovered John Rock.”Malcolm Gladwell
“We needed fewer spies and more slightly batty geniuses.”Admiral Bobby R. Inman
“But it hardly mattered, because cover-ups, whistle-blowers, secret tapes, and exposes - the principal elements of the puzzle - all require the application of energy and persistence, which are the virtues of youth. Mysteries demand experience and insight.”Malcolm Gladwell
“I am an abolitionist. My office in Boston was opposite the monument to the 54th Regiment on the Boston Common, up the street from the Park Street Church, where William Lloyd Garrison called for the immediate abolition, and around the corner from where Frederick Douglass game that famous speech at the Tremont Temple. It is very much ingrained in me that you do not manage a social wrong. You should be ending it.”Philip Mangano
“Power-law problems leave us with an unpleasant choice. We can be true to our principles or we can fix the problem. We cannot do both.”Malcolm Gladwell.
“the difference between a crime of evil and a crime of illness is the difference between a sin and a symptom.”Malcolm Gladwell
“Panic, in this sense, is the opposite of choking. Choking is about thinking too much. Panic is aobut thinking too little. Choking is about loss of instinct. Panic is reversion to instinct. They may look the same, but they are world's apart.”Malcolm Gladwell
“There was no one to blame, no dark secret to unearth, no recourse but to re-create an entire system in place of one that had inexplicably failed. In the end, the normal action was the more terrifying one.”Malcolm Gladwell
“In the late 1960s, Sweden changed over from driving on the left-hand side of the road to driving on the right, a switch that one would think would create an epidemic of accidents. But, in fact, the opposite was true. People compensated from their unfamiliarity with the new traffic pattersn by driving more carefully. During the next twelve months, traffic fatalities dropped 17 percent before returning slowly to their previous levels. As <Gerald> Wilde only half-facetiously argues, countries truly interested in making their streets and highways safer should think about switching over from one side of the road to the other on a regular basis.”Malcolm Gladwell
“One the road to great achievement, the late bloomer will resemble a failure: while the late bloomer is revising and despairing and changing course and slashing canvases to ribbons and after months or years, what he or she produces will look like the kind of thing produced by the artist who will never bloom at all.”Malcolm Gladwell
“Prodigies are easy. They advertise their genius from the get-go. Late bloomers are hard. They require forbearance and blind faith.”Malcolm Gladwell
“Whenever we find a late bloomer, we can't but wonder how many others like him or her we have thwarted because we prematurely judged their talents. But we also have to accept that there's nothing we can do about it. How can we ever know which of the failures will end up blooming?”Malcolm Gladwell
“This is the final lesson of the late bloomer: his or her success is higly contingent on the efforts of others.”Malcolm Gladwell
“Late bloomers' stories are invariably love stories, and this may be why we have such difficulty with them. We'd like to think that mundane matters like loyalty, steadfastness, and the willingness to keep writing checks to support what looks like failure have nothing to do with something as rarefied as genius. But sometimes genius is anything but rarefied; something it's just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table.”Malcolm Gladwell
“Teacher effects dwarf school effects: your child is actually better off in a bad school with an excellent teacher than in an excellent school with a bad teacher. Teacher effects are also much stronger than class-sozed effects. You'd have to cut the average size in half to get the same boost that you'd get if you switched from an average teacher to a teacher in the eighty-fifth percentile. And remember that a good teacher costs as much as an average one, whereas halving class size would require that you build twice as many clasrooms and hire twice as many teachers.”Malcolm Gladwell
“For most of us, hiring someone is essentially a romantic porcess, in which the job interview functions as a desexualized version of a date. We are looking for someone with whom we have certain chemistry, even if the coupling that results ends in tears and the pursuer and the pursued turn out to have nothing in common. We want the unlimited promise of a love affair. The structured interview, by contrast, seems to offer only the dry logic and practicality of an arranged marriage.”Malcolm Gladwell
“Social progress, unless we're careful, can merely be the means by which we replace the obviously arbitrary with the not so obviously arbitrary.”Malcolm Gladwell
“In every respect the design of the product must support the transparency and effeciveness of its performance during a demonstration - the better it looks onstage, the easier it is for the pitchman to go into the turn and ask for the money.”Malcolm Gladwell
“We have to learn that sometimes a poor performance reflects not the innate ability of the performer but the compleion of the audience; and that sometimes a poor test score is the sign not of a poor student but of a good one.”
“A normal accident is the kind one can expect in the normal functioning of a technologically complex operation Modern systems are made up of taousands of parts, al of which interrelate in ways that are impossible to anticipate Given that complexity, it is almost inevitable.”
There is more courage and heroism in defying the human impulse, in taking the purposeful and painful steps to prepare for the unimaginable.Highlighted by 628 Kindle customers
Panic, in this sense, is the opposite of choking. Choking is about thinking too much. Panic is about thinking too little. Choking is about loss of instinct. Panic is reversion to instinct. They may look the same, but they are worlds apart.Highlighted by 605 Kindle customers
“No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.”Highlighted by 541 Kindle customers
under certain circumstances, changes that appear to make a system or an organization safer in fact don’t. Why? Because human beings have a seemingly fundamental tendency to compensate for lower risks in one area by taking greater risks in another.Highlighted by 463 Kindle customers
The talent myth assumes that people make organizations smart. More often than not, it’s the other way around.Highlighted by 433 Kindle customers
Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. Not the kind of writing that you’ll find in this book, anyway. 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 — even if in the end you conclude that someone else’s head is not a place you’d really like to be.Highlighted by 420 Kindle customers
Karl Popper, who said that you could not know with any certainty that a proposition was true; you could only know that it was not true.Highlighted by 412 Kindle customers
Puzzles are “transmitter-dependent”; they turn on what we are told. Mysteries are “receiver-dependent”; they turn on the skills of the listener,Highlighted by 398 Kindle customers
Fischhoff calls this phenomenon “creeping determinism” — the sense that grows on us, in retrospect, that what has happened was actually inevitable — and the chief effect of creeping determinism, he points out, is that it turns unexpected events into expected events. As he writes, “The occurrence of an event increases its reconstructed probability and makes it less surprising than it would have been had the original probability been remembered.”Highlighted by 372 Kindle customers
People at the top are self-conscious about what they say (and rightfully so) because they have position and privilege to protect — and self-consciousness is the enemy of “interestingness.”Highlighted by 363 Kindle customers
Part 1: Obsessives, Pioneers, and other varieties of Minor Genius
The Pitchman - Ron Popeil and the Conquest of the American Kitchen
The Ketchup Conundrum - Mustard Now Comes in Dozens of Varieties. Why Has Ketchup Stayed the Same?
Blowing Up - How Nassim Taleb Turned the Inevitability of Disaster into an Investment Strategy
True Colors- Hair Dye and the Hidden History of Post War America
John Rock's Error- What the Inventor of the Birth Control Pill Didn't Know About Women's Health
What the Dog Saw- Cesar Millan and the Movements of Mastery
Part 2: Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses
Open Secrets- Enron, Intelligence, and the Perils of Too Much Information
Million-Dollar Murray - Why Problems like Homelessness May Be Easier to Solve Than to Manage
The Picture Problem- Mammography, Air Power, and the Limits of Looking
Something Borrowed- Should a Charge of Plagiarism Ruin Your Life?
Connecting the Dots- The Paradoxes of Intelligence Reform
The Art of Failure- Why Some People Choke and Others Panic
Blowup - Who Can Be Blamed for a Disaster like the Challenger Explosion? No One, and We'd Better Get Used to It
Part 3: Personality, Character, and Intelligence
Late Bloomers- Why Do We Equate Genius with Precocity
Most Likely to Succeed - How Do We Hire When We Can't Tell Who's Right for the Job?
Dangerous Minds - Criminal Profiling Made Easy
The Talent Myth - Are Smart People Overrated?
The New-Boy Network - What Do Job Interviews Really Tell Us?
Troublemakers - What Pit Bulls Can Teach Us About Crime
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