Tuesday, August 25, 2009
IOZ interviews Malcolm Gladwell:
Today I am thrilled to be joined by America's most important thinker, Malcolm Gladwell, who writes for The New Yorker and will soon publish his fourth book, Hey!. Today, Gladwell talks to us about his new book, elections in Afghanistan, Health Care, and state of the American economy.
IOZ: Mr. Gladwell, thank you for joining us.
MG: Thank you.
IOZ: Malcolm, what is your new book about?
MG: Well, IOZ, it's about how when you call across a room, street, or open outdoor area to someone who hasn't previously noticed you, they will hear you and become aware of your presence. This is really a remarkable phenomenon, but much of the newest research has yet to be written about for a general audience. I got the idea one day when I was in Manhattan. I was on Bleeker, and suddenly someone called, "Hey!" Before that, I hadn't known he was there. Afterward, I did. So I started to ask myself, what goes on in that moment. What is the real story there? In a broader sense, it is a book about what it means to be human.
IOZ: Heady stuff, no doubt. But Malcolm, won't some people say, oh, that is just glib repackaging of a totally banal and widely appreciated fundamental of everyday, lived experience?
MG: They might, but they would be misunderstanding the central idea of the book. You see, this isn't a story that's been told before. It isn't about hearing, or voice recognition, or the habits of human public interaction. Those stories have been told before. This is really a story about an idea.
IOZ: Do stories and ideas mix, Malcolm?