I give this book 3.5/5 stars. PROS: excellent production quality. It flys by like a good episode of This American Life or Invisibilia. I wish all audio books had this level of flair. I hadnt really thought about the concept of Coupling, which is very interesting. CONS: For all its intensity, it was not particularly illuminating or revelatory— ‘be careful when talking to strangers’ ...no kidding. I also felt like he was bending hugely complicated human conflicts to fit his theories that in truth aren”t so cut and dry. For example, Gladwell doesnt even begin to consider that Officer Encinia’s obvious racism was also a factor in Bland’d mistreatment beyond simplying misunderstanding her behavior. And what about other people besides Chamberlain who met Hitler in person but werent fooled by his friendly and cooperative manners? Conclusion: Thought provoking and enjoyable (if all the super bleak stories doesnt depress you) but don’t expect any answers or resolutions. it all just hangs in the air like the smoke after a fireworks show.
Fascinating book and I loved the podcast like presentation. Just finished and I am listening again.
My review is somewhat mixed. The production of the material was outstanding!. Using real-life audio and reenacting other scenes added immeasurably to the presentation of the material. The music was another story: whether or not it was Gladwell's intention to promote a liberal story line, the music did that, especially the repeated screams of "Say his name!" after shouting a name of a supposed "victim" such as Michael Brown or Freddie Gray. I live in a Baltimore suburb and have an entirely different view of Gray: he was a career criminal whose ultimately fatal injuries were at least in part self-induced. He was canonized by local thugs and sycophantic politicians, including a mayor who saw her political career go up in the smoke of the fires and riots that followed. Gray is no one to celebrate. Additionally, while the information was well-researched and reported, there seemed to be no real conclusions reached, no resolution, no strategies to address the problems Gladwell so clearly articulated. As a result, I found the book somewhat incomplete.
Don´t miss understand my rating. I had a different expectation that’s it. The book is great, the topic is excellent and the narrative flaw less. So why a 4 star review and not a 5? My expectation was to have a cheerful book, I listen to Gladwell’s podcast and I end my listening with a smile on my mind. Some chapters of this book where to obscure, left me wondering and reflecting but with a blue mood. So, if you expect a joyful book this is not it. Never than less is an excellent book. I will continue buying audio books and consuming Podcast from Gladwell in the future!
Great book, top class narration.
Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He was formerly a business and science reporter at the Washington Post.