What the Dog Saw: Reviewed
May 25, 2011 Leave a comment
How does society solve its homeless problem? What do job interviews really tell us? These are just a couple of the many questions that Malcolm Gladwell tries to find the answers to in What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures, using a collection of articles written for The New Yorker over the years.
The best way I can describe this book is by saying that it’s about problem solving on various levels. Gladwell seeks answers from the experiences entrepreneurs, a dog whisperers, a profiler, and a number of other people and organizations.
The first part looked at Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius was the least interesting part of the book for me, with the exception of the final two pieces taking a look at the invention of birth control, and the profile of Cesar Millan, which was the inspiration for the book title. The reason why I did not like this section as much was that it was too focused on specific businesses and how they solved their particular industry’s problem. I’m sure it’s interesting to many, but reading about it was not really for me.
The second part highlighted Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses. It definitely upped the interest for me with articles on the downfall of Enron, solving the homelessness problem, and plagiarism, among others. Looking at societal issues and the human psyche is something I can sink my teeth into all day, so these pieces really stood out for me.
The third part discussed Personality, Character, and Intelligence which again took a look at the human psyche and how we make snap judgements of people. This section reminded me a bit of Gladwell’s Blink, so while I enjoyed reading the examples, the subject matter was repetitive.
In the end What the Dog Saw just doesn’t compare to Blink and The Tipping Point. With the lack of connection between each story, it had a more text book feel, and therefore I wasn’t as motivated to keep reading. With the other two books, I couldn’t put them down because there was such a great flow. I give What the Dog Saw a 3/5.