Small Change, by Gladwell, rebukes the current trend in social activism, boasting a subtitle: Why the Revolution Will not be Tweeted. In it, Gladwell recaptures the tone and tenor of the sit-ins started by four black students in Greensboro, North Carolina. Moving toward the alleged “Twitter Revolution in Iran”, he pulls the stopper out of a drain loaded with false thoughts of revolution. Quoting Golnaz Esfandiari from Foreign Policy, he writes, “It is time to get Twitter’s role in the events in Iran right. Simply put: There was no Twitter Revolution inside Iran.”
Gladwell represents a rare breed in the fold of bestselling authors. He comes from the creative non-fiction stock, but rarely focuses on the big over-arching world politics or events. This combined with his style liberates him to write with something most fiction and media buffs miss in the non-fiction crowd: fresh, insightful voice. Starting with Blink, a book about the power of thinking . . . without thinking, he showed signifies life with small slices, of taking the finer things in life and tracing their winding paths through subconscious and society.
This is, in essence, what he does with all of his work. He finds something micro and sees how it looks on a macro scale. Tipping Point showed us exactly how much little things can make a difference, and what phenomenons lie behind huge swings in groups of people. Outliers followed the special people, those who go above and beyond what we call “good.” In it he traces the story of success, snapshot by snapshot, adjusting the aperture ever so soft as he goes. You could call him inductive, though I think that’s too broad. As I’ve said, he takes a snippet and then creates a portrait of society based on that snippet. It’s beautiful, wonderful, and appealing to someone who, generally, loathes non-fiction writing.
Read Small Change, if you haven’t. Especially if you think you’re going to change anything by hitting “Like” or “Retweet”. In truth, you might generate capital or interest or even dialog. But change? Real sustainable change? In that case, read more @ http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell#ixzz111kz9e9M
- Lancelot Schaubert