Malcolm Gladwell on “The unheard story of David and Goliath”

photoRichard Saul Wurman created the TED conference in 1984 as a onetime event. (As you may already know, TED refers to Technology, Education, and Design.) It became a four-day conference six years later. Chris Anderson purchased TED in 2001. Until 2005, it remained a once-a-year conference: four days of programs, 50 speakers, 18-minute presentations. Anderson added TEDGlobal to reach an international audience. TED.com was launched in 2006. Thus far, the website has attracted more than one [begin] billion [end] views, averaging about two million day. The video programs have been translated into more than 100 languages.

According to Anderson, “With TED, the end of the talk should not be the end of the idea, but just the beginning.” TED showcases speakers who are knowledgeable, of course, but also “human, relatable, and often emotional, so what they share lights people up.”

There are no charges to access any of the TED programs. After attending the 2006 conference, documentary filmmaker Daphne Zuniga described it as “Cirque Du Soleil for the mind.” Oprah Winfrey later observed, “TED is where brilliant people go to hear other brilliant people.”

I will continue to recommend the TED programs that are among the most high-rated. For example, Malcolm Gladwell. He discusses a classic underdog tale: David, a young shepherd armed only with a sling, beats Goliath, the mighty warrior. The story has transcended its biblical origins to become a common shorthand for unlikely victory. But, asks Malcolm Gladwell, is that really what the David and Goliath story is about?

Gladwell 1Detective of fads and emerging subcultures, chronicler of jobs-you-never-knew-existed, Malcolm Gladwell’s work is toppling the popular understanding of bias, crime, food, marketing, race, consumers and intelligence.

Malcolm Gladwell searches for the counterintuitive in what we all take to be the mundane: cookies, sneakers, pasta sauce. A New Yorker staff writer since 1996, he visits obscure laboratories and infomercial set kitchens as often as the hangouts of freelance cool-hunters — a sort of pop-R&D gumshoe — and for that has become a star lecturer and bestselling author.

Sparkling with curiosity, undaunted by difficult research (yet an eloquent, accessible writer), his work uncovers truths hidden in strange data. His always-delightful blog tackles topics from serial killers to steroids in sports, while provocative recent work in the New Yorker sheds new light on the Flynn effect — the decades-spanning rise in I.Q. scores.

Gladwell has written four books. The Tipping Point, which began as a New Yorker piece, applies the principles of epidemiology to crime (and sneaker sales), while Blink examines the unconscious processes that allow the mind to “thin slice” reality — and make decisions in the blink of an eye. His third book, Outliers, questions the inevitabilities of success and identifies the relation of success to nature versus nurture. The newest work, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, is an anthology of his New Yorker contributions.

He says: “There is more going on beneath the surface than we think, and more going on in little, finite moments of time than we would guess.”

Here is a direct link to one of his most popular TEDTalks. I envy anyone who has not as yet seen it.

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