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Follow up on Gladwell and Other Aspostles

Wow.  I thought I didn’t care for Gladwell’s brand of slick packaged pop-intellectualism.  It looks like The Register has even less patience than I.

Gladwell has made a career out of handing simple, vacuous truths to people and dressing them up with flowery language and an impressionistic take on the scientific method. Hive minders seem to love this garbage for obvious reasons. 01/20/2007


For some reason, Gladwell is paid tens of thousands of dollars for flimsy stories about companies taking “unique” approaches to solving problems when they aren’t actually doing anything of the sort. In his corporate pep-talks, Gladwell describes a utopian vision that can never be realized, while doling out pithy gems such as, “ability plus experience equals expertise.” 10/09/2005

And lastly

“…In embracing the diversity of human beings we will find the true way to human happiness.”  So there you’ve got Gladwell in essence: he always ends with a Hallmark style greeting telling you something sweet, bland and uplifting – that you already knew.

All very ouchy, and peharps even a little bitchy.  For a more sober, but equally critical perspective on not only Gladwell, but his self-styled economic prophet brethern Surowiecki and Anderson, check out this Gawker piece:

And that fact gets at the heart, I think, of why people are turning against the svengalis of new marketing. They’ve all become hugely famous and sought-after on the 5-figure lecture circuit by penning ephemeral “bibles” about the next big thing, proving only that they themselves were it. Can you really blame skeptics in a time of scarcity for denying them the ability to have their cake and pop out of it, too?

My point here is to wonder if we actually are beginning to demand more and these journalists simply cannot bear the scrutiny, if we are not letting crap win?  Or is this like Soviet communism, where these guys are just getting crushed under the stress of thier bullshit?

2 Responses to “Follow up on Gladwell and Other Aspostles”

  1. Venkat Says:

    Halleluejah :)

    Gladwell is one of those people I itch to truly skewer in a blog post. I have resisted temptation so far, because the blowback might be more than the fun is worth.

    But the Register piece fails to critique him correctly… he is overrated, but isn’t your run-of-the-mill huckster. It takes more work to truly understand why he got so big despite the deep flaws in his thinking/writing. I did do a pretty critical review of Surowiecki (a lesser god, so more safely critique-able). Anderson though doesn’t belong in this gang. He actually does attempt to think harder and not accept his own conclusions too quickly.

  2. Norman Mccaleb Says:

    I saw your article and its really good. Great work! Norman Mccaleb

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