Thursday, 24 January 2013

Bibliophilia: What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures – Malcolm Gladwell

What I love about Malcolm Gladwell’s books is that he can tackle the most mundane, everyday subject, and by the end you’re saying “now that was fascinating!” 

One essay, “The Pitchman” deals with Ron Popeil. I was vaguely aware of him as a late night kitchen gadget salesman. After reading it, you come away with a whole new appreciation for the man, the products he has created, infomercials and the job of the pitchman. Another essay is called “The Ketchup Conundrum”. Come on, 20 to 30 pages on ketchup? Who cares, it’s made from tomatoes and you put it on your burger. Well, I doubt I will ever look at condiments the same way after reading it. Another essay deals with hair dye. Who gives much thought to it? It is an education not so much about a chemical to transform the colour of hair, as it is a product that transformed society, and a history of advertising and the role of women in it.

Those and several others, (and all of his books) take pedestrian topics no one gives much thought to, into shining investigations into extraordinary knowledge and ideas hiding just beneath the surface.

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