Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Malcolm Gladwell author of The Tipping Point, Blink and most recently Outliers: The Story of Success, gave a talk last night at The Lyceum Theatre, home of The Lion King. Despite an incredible mane of hair, think Sideshow Bob, he was there as himself on TLK's night off to talk about, as it transpired, plane crashes. We weren't expecting this. He is well known for insightful ideas, observations, provocative thoughts and a love of physchological tests that translate the human factor into real life stories and in this case catastrophes.

He spoke of there being typically 7 very ordinary, almost banal events that occur in quick succession which accumulate into a disaster. Gladwell is a wonderful, engaging orator, with a compelling vocal range which had the whole audience in pin-drop silence or laughter at just the right moments; we were buoyed along from comical national traits to sad tales of crashes, unnecessary accidents and shown worrying similarities in each case. In short, Gladwell is a great observer, much like a stand-up comic, but more worryingly somehow, because it's real and at the expense of people's lives.

On a lighter note, or atleast I hope, I've started reading Outliers and hope it will also give insightful examples of events which shape success, in much the same way it can shape disaster.
I'll let you now how it goes, perhaps the first Digit Book Club book, any takers?

He was also on Radio4 last night I'm told.

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