What The Dog Saw

What the Dog Saw: and other adventures by Malcolm Gladwell is a brilliant compilation of 19 intriguing essays. They are categorized into three parts; 1) Obsessives, Pioneers, and other varieties of Minor Genius, 2) Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses, and 3) Personality, Character, and Intelligence. Only by judging the book/collection by its cover and index you get a glimpse at how Gladwell has his way with words. Combine that with strong research skills and a ‘different’ look at society than most, and you have the next book on your list.

Who is most likely to succeed, how do we hire when we cannot tell who is right for the job? This is the question one of the last essays tries to answer. As with any of the others, the article starts with an example. The story follows Shonka, a recruiter from college football in America. He is evaluating last-year students and has to pick new people for the professional team he is working for. But what qualities are you looking for, and what predicts if someone will perform well when transitioning from one to the other job/level/school? The problem in the current case is that football is played in a wholly different way in the NFL than in college and a recruit who performs well in college does not equate to playing well there too. The same kind of problem can be found for many more fields and it is imperative to find the right predictors to meet your criteria.

Other articles take on different topics. One is about the question why there is only one big brand/type of ketchup and many kinds and brands of mustard (ketchup as a really uniform/total taste). Another takes us back to the origin of ‘Blondes have more fun’ and gives the reader insight into how marketing has influenced us in our everyday life. And of course,  What the Dog Saw is also about dogs. Cesar Millan is an expert in the fields of training dogs and the article concerning him is just about that. The lesson that can be drawn is that you should take another person’s perspective, be able to figure out what motivates or drives him or her.

Malcolm Gladwell has worked for The New York Times and has currently written four books. Just as these books, his essays go beyond the obvious. He dives deeper into materials to find out what is the real cause and goes beyond superficial solutions. If you want to know how genius people develop, or if smart people are overrated and what the difference between choking and panicking is? Then put What the Dog Saw next on your list!