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Gladwell Weathers Gauntlet of Hype; "Difficult Third" Released Today

Filed under: Headline Shooter   Tagged: , , , ,

Ricky Gervais famously ended his two successful TV series, The Office and Extras, after the second season, saying of the third instance of anything successful, “It’s going to get criticised whatever isn’t it?”

Ah, very true. Starting today, Malcolm Gladwell’s third book, Outliers, is available to the public. The early outlook is that he will survive his “difficult third” intact.

It is rare for a nonfiction book to enjoy this level of advance interest. Indeed, rival publishers are watching it carefully for signs of the health of the industry. In Jason Zengerle’s profile from last week, a competing publisher was quoted as saying, “I don’t care that it’s Little, Brown’s book. We all desperately need some good news.”

Most of the reviews are positive, but nearly every reviewer makes a point of noting that Gladwell’s thesis flirts with the obvious. Overall, interest and enthusiasm are high.

You can buy the book today, or, if your portfolio has taken a hit recently (I’m told such things happen), you can point your mouse at the following online resources.

Time Magazine profiles the author (profile pic is “rugged”).
Newsweek won’t let Time monopolize that sweet sweet hype.
The Guardian (UK) looks at “the man who can’t stop thinking.” (I remember an old Kurt Russell movie like that.)
Slate’s Book Club takes up the book. (John Horgan likes this one more than The Tipping Point, of which he was notedly critical.)
Entertainment Weekly gives it an A. (The Tipping Point got a B+.)

Reader’s Digest offers two brief but illuminating interviews. Gladwell says that he would not want his child to try to become the next Michael Phelps; I wish more people would say this sort of thing. Profile pic = “pensive,” in front of a bizarre hand-drawn gallery of facial hair.

The Wall Street Journal has three items, including an excerpt with a baffling typo in the headline.

Other profiles:
USA Today
Independent (UK)

Other reviews:
New York Times (Michiko Kakutani; reg. req’d)
Boston Globe
San Francisco Chronicle
Los Angeles Times
Financial Times (UK)
NY Daily News

There have been lots and lots of tweets recently.

And finally, now seems a good moment to revive two enjoyable New Yorker Conference videos: 2007 2008.

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