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The Story of Success
delaney berman 12 staff writer
May 27, 2010

With unruly curly hair, wire-rimmed glasses, and a tranquil face, Malcolm Gladwell looks just like your average genius. With his four award-winning books, it is evident that he thinks and writes like one too.

At the turn of the millennium, after his name quickly gained respect through his writing for The New Yorker, Gladwell, a Toronto native, published his first book, The Tipping Point. In simple terms, it was a huge hit. Since then, Gladwell has published three other books: Blink (2005), Outliers (2008), and most recently, a collection of his own newspaper articles titled What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures.

The forty-six-year-old graduated from the University of Toronto in 1984 to become a journalist here in The States. Shortly after graduating, Gladwell joined The Washington Post as a science writer, where he stayed for nine years. Then, Gladwell moved up in the world of journalism by becoming a staff writer for The New Yorker in 1996.

The Tipping Point and Blink are “two of the most influential books of the past decade” for several reasons. According to The New York Times, “Gladwell’s theories could be used to run businesses more effectively, to turn products into runaway bestsellers and perhaps more important, to alter human behavior.”

Though they study different topics, The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers all share a few main characteristics. The novels are written in a very factual manner, strung together with case studies and filled with dates and proven rules, consistent with Gladwell’s scientific past.

Generally, dates and statistics weigh books down, making them tedious and, well, boring. However, this is not the case for Gladwell. His ability to blend the numbers with the story is an art in and of itself. He weaves them throughout the text like little secrets, leaving the reader hungry for more tips on how to be successful.

Each of the books has proved highly. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference shows the process by which a simple little idea ends up changing the world. The book acts as a guide on how to most effectively introduce new ideas and sell products.

On the other hand, Outliers: The Story of Success breaks down the lives of extraordinarily successful people in order to explicate how they came to their success.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking explores how the human mind quickly comes to conclusions, reactions, and judgments, even when you may not be consciously thinking.

Publishers Weekly summarized Gladwell’s works: “Fascinating enough for the general reader, Gladwell’s work is a particular boon for businesspeople looking for inspiration on how to tip their own ideas into popular crazes.”

Where does the typical Deerfield student fit in? As future business owners and country leaders ourselves, Gladwell’s books present some of the most important ideas necessary to inspire us and lead us to success, as is the case for many leaders in today’s world.