I have long been a fan of Malcolm Gladwell – well. until recently. His first few books I took to heart and cited as gospel. I have since read a couple that just felt wrong. I then looked at criticisms of his work and see many holes in these pop-sci books. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know is his latest.
That paragraph is a perfect example of what Gladwell calls the DEFAULT TO TRUTH PROBLEM. I assumed he knew what he was talking about… up to and only until, I learned enough about other views to make me doubt.
I listened to the audiobook version of the book and was impressed with the production. Rather than a dry reading of text, Gladwell mixes in audio clips of interviews as well as timely background music. Does that make it any less pop-sci and lend more credibility? Nope.
This is just as dribble loaded as his previous works… if not more. I am not on the bandwagon ripping him for downplaying the death of Sandra Bland and rape as a “miscommunication.” He is entitled to his opinion and those giving him a hard time for that are just triggered snowflakes cringing at his lack of political correctness. My poor rating for the book is because it is a wandering collection of giant leaps and assumptions… much more hyperbole and tabloid fodder than journalism or science.
Plus, he has a very negative view of strangers, implying that everyone is always lying to you.
by Chris Doelle