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Malcolm Gladwell on the danger of joining consensus opinions


August 23, 2016 11:36

00:00 / 90:31

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Malcolm Gladwell needs no introduction (though if you didn't know the famed
author has launched a podcast, you should — it's called Revisionist History,
and it's great.).Gladwell's work has become so iconic, so known, that it's
become easy to take it for granted. But Gladwell is perhaps the greatest
contrarian journalist of his generation — he looks at things you've seen
before, comes to conclusions that are often the opposite of the conventional
wisdom, and then leaves you wondering how you could ever have missed what he
saw. To see something new in something old is a talent, it's a process, and
it's what we discuss, in a dozen different ways, in this episode. Among the
topics we tackle:-How Gladwell got started at the Washington Post after being
fired from another job for waking up late-Gladwell’s high school zine based on
personal attacks and Bill Buckley-How Canadians are disinclined to escalate
conflicts-The value and nature of boredom in childhood-How people reflexively
pile on to convenient narratives  -How the economics of media might be
influencing its current tone-Why pickup trucks today are so much larger than
they used to be-His insights about the current identity of journalists as a
culture-Why podcasting is different from writing for the page/screen-Why
talking about numbers can be difficult in audio-How the internet will one day
seem like an experiment gone completely awry-Why you shouldn’t have satellite
radio in your car-Whether more individualized education is a a good idea-The
importance of people who are above average though not exceptionalThis is a fun
conversation, but it's also a useful one. It's hard to look at something that
is believed to be understood and realize it's been misunderstood. Hell, it's
hard to look at something that is believed to be understood and take seriously
the idea that it might have been misunderstood. This is Gladwell's great skill
— it is the product of both a process and an outlook, and it's worth hearing
how he does it. Read more
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