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February 05, 2010


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Jeff Yates

If you like Blink then you should try out his other books as well - My favorite was Outliers. FWIW, I am currently enjoying Letitt and Dubner's (sp?) Superfreakonomics much more than I did Freakonomics - I don't know why I like this one better.

Jacqueline Lipton

Yes, I really enjoyed Outliers too. He also has a new one out at the moment in hardcover, but I can't remember what it's called.


Have you seen Steven Pinker's review of Gladwell's new book? I guess there's some history between the two, and I'm no huge fan of Pinker, but I thought it did a good job of capturing a lot of what annoys me about him.
See here:

Patrick S. O'Donnell

A parenthetical comment:

From the vantage point of philosophy, the first puzzle is not "logical" as it relies on an exemplification of stereotypical thinking and thus exposes a flaw in the way "we" conventionally reason.

The second "puzzle" trades on an uncommon meaning of "to remove" which, typically, means "to change the location, position, station or residence of." Of course it can also be synonymous with "to eliminate," in which case the above answer works. Therefore, to call this a (formal or informal) "logic" puzzle, even metaphorically, seems mistaken.

However, if we think of "logic" in the manner used by psychologists and cognitive scientists, having simply to do with the manner in which we generally "reason" or think, then we could, more loosely, christen these "logic puzzles." In philosophy, "logic puzzles" are often termed "paradoxes," as seen, for instance, in R.M. Sainsbury's Paradoxes (2nd ed., 1995) or, more recently, Nicholas Rescher's Paradoxes: Their Roots, Range, and Resolution (2001).

Jeff Yates


I believe the name of the new book is "What the Dog Saw". I read it (OK I listened to it on my ipod) and enjoyed it. It's essentially a collection of his articles in the past few years. On reviews - try out Richard Posner's review of Blink - he was not really a fan. As a social scientist, I see many 'shortcomings' in Gladwell's analysis - but, people, it's not supposed to be an academic book - c'mon.

Jacqueline Lipton

I have to agree that Gladwell's books need to be read with a grain of salt. They're very entertaining if taken as journalism, but should not be mistaken for serious sociology or psychology research.


My 3L year I took a seminar from Judge Posner called Law & Science. Each week students had to submit in advance a 3-page-or-so paper on a general broad topic, and Posner would read them and bring up some to discuss in class. We spent 20 minutes one day talking about Gladwell's Blink, in response to a student's generally positive paper about it. I'll never forget at the end Posner saying something like "Well, I have a review of this book coming out next week in The New Republic. I thought it was just terrible. A terrible, terrible book." (Or something similar.) One of my favorite moments from law school.

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