Monday, January 17, 2005


Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Blink, is about the two-second intuitive judgments that people make and how there is often a considerable amount of wisdom in such judgments. My own sequel, Wince, will be about the two-second intuitive judgments that I make when I'm reading where I think, "Now we've passed from nonfiction into obvious (if entertaining) apocrapha or even into just outright fiction." An example from Blink that caused me to wince:
[Psychologist Silvan Tomkins] was a legendary talker. At the end of a cocktail party, a crowd of people would sit rapt at Tomkins's feet. Someone would say "One more question!" and everyone would stay for another hour and a half as Tomkins held forth on, say, comic books, a television sitcom, the biology of emotion, his problem with Kant, and his enthusiasm for the latest fad diets -- all enfolded into one extended riff. (p. 198)


Anonymous said...

it is interesting how many of the folks we consider "public intellectuals," are writers who spin out secondary accounts of already-published research.

Anonymous said...

p.s. to above: gladwell is a very good, and entertaining, author. it just seems that the pundits these days are too often folks like gladwell who are smart, well-read, and good writers, but who are not the thinkers making the really important discoveries or breakthroughs. perhaps the latter don't write in a style that has broad appeal (or in some cases is even accessible?).

Anonymous said...

Mine life with anxiety is not fraught
I make'th snap decisions on the spot
will it be donuts cold or hot?
regardless of yesterday's sack I bought
-this but a parting thought
my future in cholesterol is wrought
Woe! the calories I would'st have fought
had'eth I but a spoon of tofu in the pot
a hefty paunch is all I've got
'tis donuts I've only ever sought - LDM