Malcolm Gladwell talk

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“So what is the Gladwell formula? All he does is pull together diverse bits of research, say the critics, and package them up in ways that do make you think, but mostly think things you sort of thought already. But isn’t that the art of journalism?” …The Daily Telegraph

Went to see Malcolm Gladwell last night to discuss his new book Outliers: The Story of Success at the Lyceum and thought umm, this guys know how to PR. The place was packed and it was in the most amazing theatre setting. Unfortuntaly the lecture was ok but not brilliant. Starting off with some good banter about the best way to name a lecture (by putting three famous names together and relying on the audience to think that the speaker has found an amazing link between them eg. Julius Caesear, Martin Chuzzlewitt and Helmut Lang!) He then continued to discuss that the cultural heritage of an individual affects how they act in certain situations, for example the Appalachia area is known to be a violent area of the States and one theory is that the original settlers came form the Border areas of northern england, known for its violent outbreaks between various clans under the pressure of keeping territory in small land mass. It soon got less interesting as Gladwell continued way too long to discuss how certain countries’ heritage and social interaction and mitigation causes plane crashes! But he did turn hardcore Dutch psychologist Geert Hofstede idea of the Power Distance Index into something really interesting. Hofstede tabulated a list of countries, creating the Power Distance Index and looks at how much a culture does or does not value hierarchical relationships and respect for authority. The index attempts to quantify how deferential subordinates are to their superiors in distinct cultures. Columbianss, Gladwell explains have an especially high power distance index which leads subordinates to speak in a way that seems delicate and circumlocutious to a country with a low power distance index, such as the United States.

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