Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blinking freak

I’d never quite identified a word or phrase that defines all those books (Blink; Freakonomics; The Black Swan; The Long Tail; The Undercover Economist; and so on) that seem to oscillate between economics, sociology, psychology, business, current affairs, pop culture and self-improvement, until Shane Richmond nudge*d me towards this article by Maureen Tkacik about Malcolm Gladwell; she refers to “the competitive thought-generation business”, which nails the whole genre quite nicely. Although, when I come to think of it, I suppose that’s what I do as well, albeit with less success. Ouch.**

*And there’s another one.

**Which might well be another one again.***

***Ah. It is. Sort of.


Annie said...

"Behavioural Safety is the hand that fits inside the Health & Safety glove. Why are they separate? Because Behavioural Safety should occur regardless of paperwork, laws or regulations. The converse is, well, an empty glove. A safe head is safer than a safe hat..."

That book looks riveting.

expat@large said...

I think they are in the "Inflating An Idea That Could Fit Into A Paragraph Into A Book (Deal) Business".

epikles said...


Pseudo-Intellectual Self-Help

Fat Roland said...

Um, well, er... I took this photo on Monday...

Alistair Fitchett said...

Okay, i've never read 'Freakonomics', but does the book tacitly (or explicitly, even?!) acknowledge that this is all the result of pseudo-intellectual hippy meanderings (the kind that in the late'60s and early '70s led to people running off to form communes) getting it on with the financial aspirations of Reagan's '80s and bearing some strange love-child that's mistrusted by both sides of the bed?

Or have i missed the point again?

Tim F said...

But a book about wearing gloves on your head, Annie, that would be great.

E@L: You say that like it's a bad thing.

Sounds good to me, PW.

Nice one, FR! Is that your shop?

No, Alistair, I think you hit the cliché on the, um, other cliché.

expat@large said...

Present company excepted, of course.

LC said...

I *love* these airport bookstore psychonomic reads, and have blagged my way into a relatively senior position at work purely by spouting off whatever bits of them I can remember in meetings.

Gladwell's The Outliers is brilliant: people tend to succeed in life if they have some natural ability coupled with lots of experience, and are given suitable opportunities. Genius.