Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Malcolm Gladwell interview
Conventional wisdom says Malcolm
Gladwell is a zany brainbox whose books challenge our assumptions and
revolutionise our lives. But, asks Gaby Wood, is that another misconception?
Malcolm Gladwell photographed in
New York, 2013Photo: Dan
Malcolm Gladwell says he never knows what people will take from his books.
“It’s never what I think it’s going to be,” he shrugs. “Parts that you think
are going to make this big impact are ignored, and parts that you wrote in a day
are like the 10,000 hours stuff – I thought no one would ever mention that
again. And it is, in fact, all people talk about. Who knew?”
Not dissimilarly, the story of Malcolm
Gladwellhimself has taken off in ways that would have been
difficult to predict. Once a journalist, he is now a phenomenon, revered and
scoffed at in different quarters, somewhere between social scientist,
motivational speaker and preacher-like source of consolation.
He plays one-man
shows to packed theatres on both sides of the Atlantic; he gives
talks to businessmen about subjects such as Fleetwood
Mac, earning tens of thousands of dollars per speech; his books are
automatic bestsellers. His work has coined an adjective – “Gladwellian” refers
to a sort of nerdy and captivating formula, against which there has been an
inevitable backlash. A website called The Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator mocked
up fake Gladwell covers: “Blank”, one read, referring to his book Blink, “300
Empty Pages to Fill With Your Own F---ing Thoughts”. More