Gladwell is both a sucker for and a master of this kind of obfuscation. When he encounters a study published in a journal with a complicated name, he defaults to swallowing it whole. Default to truth comes to us from a psychologist named Tim Levine, the coiner of his own truth-default theory. She committed suicide in her cell three days later.
The moral of the story is, of course, "don't talk to strangers. The only high-ranking statesman who sfrangers loudly skeptical was Winston Churchill. Gladwell seems more impressed by this insight than he should be. He introduces us to historical oddities, revisionist interpretations of the past, the frontiers of social science, the backstories behind recent headlines, all strung together along a single provocative thesis.
In its most decadent stramgers easily marketed form, social science specializes in taking axioms known to every 19th-century schoolteacher and duding them up as heuristics or effects or biases. She decided there were 36—not 35, not 37, but 36—major poets, ranging from the well-known and era-defining William Wordsworth to the obscure and improbably named John Bampfylde.
The right way to talk to strangers is with caution and humility. The tragedy of Sandra Bland is that she and the policeman were strangers to each other, unable to bridge a social divide. Gladwell wants to go deeper.
Our faulty built-in lie detectors seem a small price to pay for what is otherwise an indispensable social lubricant. The sooner the better.
The closest he comes is the phrase default to truth, which he uses more than 20 times, not counting chapter titles. The vagueness makes his excursions seem diffuse and unconnected as a result. odnt
But Talking to Strangers can also be seen as an advance for the author—an unexpected step in the right direction. The conversation between the arresting officer and Bland, recorded on police radio, went viral on YouTube. Just as often, though, he acts as a great mystifier, imposing complexity on the everyday stuff of life, elevating minor wrinkles into profound conundrums.
Many people who spend a lot of time writing poetry are eccentric; the elevated suicide rate feels true, intuitively. Music video[ edit ] The music video was released in November Of course, if Malcolm Gladwell had practiced epistemological humility for the past 20 years, he would have sold millions fewer books. Just follow the footnotes.
But how would such a calculation be made? Adjusted for circumstance and our own experience, assuming the truthfulness of others is simply a necessity for social beings. If you prefer information that seems agreeable to your point of view, social science teaches that you suffer from confirmation bias—no less a defect for having been shared by every human being who ever lived. Too strqngers, in fact. Some people are better at lying, some people are better at detecting lies, some people are all-around clueless.
The fractures of domt and belief have inspired many well-meaning and systematic attempts to address them.
He may have embarked on an exciting new career. And Churchill, Gladwell notes, as if surprised at wigh irony, had never met Hitler. Some Gladwellisms have entered everyday speech.
Is it so surprising they missed a Cuban spy ring, too? In Talking to Strangers, however, the thesis never emerges.
But his appropriation of the phrase does show that his attitude to social science remains unquestioning. What kind of poet wants to be confused with Mad Men?
Of the 36 poets, two committed suicide. This is thin soup. One wonders whether Gladwell bothered to trace the statistic back to its source. The data, taken uncritically, served to buttress anecdotes that were intended to dramatize some general truth about the human animal.