What the Dog Saw

I just completed Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, What the Dog Saw.  Lately there has been a bit of an anti-Gladwell backlash in some circles, apparently because he writes too coherently and sells too many books.  But, as usual, his book answers of bunch of interesting questions, including:

  • How did Clairol and L’Oreal take the stigma out of hair dye?
  • Why can’t anyone compete with Heinz ketchup?
  • Do you think your intelligence is fixed or malleable?  Why does your answer matter?
  • How can fundamental attribution errors can color our judgments?
  • When are snap judgments most reliable than our carefully thought-out explanations?

The book consists of a series of essays Gladwell has published in the New Yorker over the years, which makes the book easy to digest in small chunks.

In the spirit of objectivity, here is a tough but fair critique of What the Dog Saw by noted evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker, followed by an exchange of letters between the two men.