June 4, 2015

Book Short: Blink Part II

Book Short:  Blink Part II Years ago I wrote a post about Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book, Blink (post, buy).  While my post has lots of specifics in it for entrepreneurs, for VCs, and for marketers, my quick summary was this: Where The Tipping Point theorizes about how humans relate to each other and how fads start and flourish in our society, Blink theorizes about how humans make decisions and about the interplay between the subconscious, learned expertise, and real-time inputs.  But Gladwell does more than theorize — he has plenty of real world examples which seem quite plausible, and he peppers the book with evidence from some (though hardly a complete coverage of relevant) scientific and quasi-scientific studies. I recently finished another book, Thinking Fast, and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, which was very similar.  I’d call it the academic version of Blink, or that Blink is the journalistic version of it.  Kahneman breaks down our ability to think and process information into what he calls System 1 (quick and intuitive) and System 2 (slower, rational and logical).  As he puts it: In summary, most of what you (your System 2) think and do originates in your System 1, but System […]


March 17, 2010

Book Short: Gladwell Lite

Book Short:  Gladwell Lite What the Dog Saw, And Other Adventures (book, Kindle) is Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book.  Unlike his three other books, which I quite enjoyed: The Tipping Point (about how trends and social movements start and spread) Blink (about how the mind makes judgments) Outliers: The Story of Success (about how talents are genetic, situational, and cultivated) this was not a complete book, but rather a compendium of his New Yorker articles loosely grouped into three themes. If you love Gladwell and don’t read The New Yorker, it’s not a bad read. He’s a fantastic writer, and his […]


November 16, 2009

Book Short: Sloppy Sequel

Book Short:  Sloppy Sequel SuperFreakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t nearly as good as the original Freakonomics, either.  I always find the results of “naturally controlled experiments” and taking a data-driven view of the world to be very refreshing.  And as much as I like the social scientist versions of these kinds of books like Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and Blink (book; blog post), there’s usually something about reading something data driven written by a professional quant jock that’s more reassuring. That’s where SuperFreakonomics fell down a bit for me.  Paul […]


January 16, 2006

Book short: Proto Gladwell

Book short:  Proto Gladwell I’m sure author Robert Cialdini would blanch if he read this comparison, but then again, I can’t be the first person to make it, either.  His book, Influence:  The Psychology of Persuasion, is an outstanding read for any marketing or sales professional, but boy does it remind me of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and Blink (book; blog post).  Of course, Cialdini’s book came out a decade before Gladwell’s!  Anyway, Influence is a great social science look at the psychology that makes sales and marketing work. Cialdini talks about sales and marketing professionals as “compliance practitioners,” […]


August 8, 2005

A Ball Bearing in the Wheels of E-Commerce

A Ball Bearing in the Wheels of E-Commerce As an online marketing professional, I’ve long understood intellectually how e-commerce works, how affiliate networks function, and why the internet is such a powerful selling tool.  But I got an email the other day that drove this home more directly. When I started my blog about a year and a half ago, I set myself up as an Amazon affiliate, meaning that any time someone clicks on a link to Amazon from one of my postings or on the blog sidebar, I get paid a roughly 4% commission on anything that person […]


July 6, 2005

Book short: Blink

Book short:  Blink Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, is a must read for marketers, entrepreneurs, and VCs alike, just as is the case with Gladwell’s first book, The Tipping Point. Where The Tipping Point theorizes about how humans relate to each other and how fads start and flourish in our society, Blink theorizes about how humans make decisions and about the interplay between the subconscious, learned expertise, and real-time inputs.  But Gladwell does more than theorize — he has plenty of real world examples which seem quite plausible, and he peppers the book with evidence from some (though hardly a complete […]