Pinker takes Gladwell to task (Malcolm responds, tho he focuses on football, which is mentioned just in passing by Pinker), and Tkacik is even harsher:
But in examining Gladwell’s success concurrently with his prescriptions for achievement, even his harshest reviewers damned themselves with faint criticism. […] when The Economist embraced the book’s “engaging” and “intriguing” case studies while wryly enclosing the overarching “big idea” in quotation marks, it overlooked Gladwell’s refusal to engage meaningfully with the world of ideas at all.
But all I’m hearing is “This collection of essays
written over the last ten years is not as good as “The Tipping Point”:The Tipping Point:. Furthermore, they might be inconsistent with each other!” Give it a rest people. Gladwell soars high, and his occasional blunders are fun, because hey, even us ordinary folks can catch them. And do not say that he hasn’t broadened your thinking, Maureen Tkacik, because I’m sure he has broadened your thinking. The pasta sauce thing redeems whatever intellectual overreaching he may be guilty of.