Mis teeb Malcolm Gladwelli paeluvaks?

Malcolm Gladwell for Time Magazine by Bill Wadman, October 2008

Gladwell suudab luua üllatavaid seoseid ja esitada intrigeerivaid väljakutseid tavaarusaamadele, pannes lugejaid küsima – kuidas see on võimalik? Kas see on tõesti tõsi? Mida muud see võib selgitada?

Whartoni ärikooli professor ja üks maailma mõjukamaid juhtimismõtlejaid Adam Grant pakub oma artiklis, et jutustamisoskusest olulisemad on ideed. Analüüsides Gladwelli fenomeni viitab Grant sotsioloog Murray Davise läbimurdelisele artiklile 1971.a, mille võib kokku võtta 2 lausega.

Murray Davis: “It has long been thought that a theorist is considered great because his theories are true, but this is false. A theorist is considered great, not because his theories are true, but because they are interesting.” 

Davis kirjeldab 12 erinevat võimalust meie tavateadmisi proovile panna ja Gladwell sobitub Granti arvates neist 5-ga.

1. Bad is Good and Good is Bad

The idea here is to take a negative and unveil its positive side, or vice-versa. This is the theme of David and Goliath, where Gladwell argues that disadvantages can give us advantages. Who would have thought that a disability like dyslexia could actually make people more successful?  Or losing a parent as a child, one of the worst things that can happen in life, may actually increase your odds of becoming president or prime minister?

2. What Looks Like an Individual Phenomenon is Really a Collective Phenomenon

Gladwell argues that we think professional hockey and soccer players make it because of talent and hard work, but it’s really about being born a few months earlier than their peers. We assume that planes crash due to mistakes made by individual pilots, but it’s actually about the cultures in which they were raised. We believe Bill Gates and the Beatles achieved greatness because of their talents, but they had to be in the right place at the right time.

3. What Seems to Succeed Fails, and What Seems to Fail Succeeds

It’s interesting when something that appears to work doesn’t, or when something that looks ineffective proves to be effective. In David and Goliath, Gladwell covers evidence that contrary to popular belief, small classes in schools don’t lead children to learn more. In Blink, he adopts the reverse strategy, showing that although we expect reason to outdo intuition, we underestimate the power of intuition. We believe that the best way to spot fake art is through systematic analysis, but an expert can tell in the blink of an eye. Even when critical information is stripped away, and we only have tiny clues, our intuition can be strikingly accurate.

4. What Appears To Be Local is Global

It’s also surprising when seemingly isolated events are in fact driven by common forces. This is another hallmark of The Tipping Point, which shows how the same kinds of dynamics can explain the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, pop culture trends, and crime sprees. We also see it in David and Goliath, where the willingness of underdogs to play by a different set of rules serves as a lens for illuminating events as diverse as the success of the American civil rights movement and an inferior basketball team with an inexperienced coach making the national championship.

5. What Looks Like Disorder is Actually Order

The ability to find structure in chaos is another quality of interesting theories, and this is a signature strength of The Tipping Point. We think fads come out of nowhere, but if we appreciate Gladwell’s three rules of epidemics — the law of the few, the stickiness factor, and the power of context — we can better understand the systematic factors that cause them to spread.

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