Advertising
Advertising

9 Books That Malcolm Gladwell Wants You To Read

9 Books That Malcolm Gladwell Wants You To Read

Have you ever thought about the books that influence thought leaders like Malcolm Gladwell? With over 4.5 million book sales and counting under his belt, Malcolm Gladwell is one of the most popular and successful authors alive today. His quirky narratives about the hidden nature of achieving success have propelled him to a media-darling status that only a handful of writers can relate to.

Gladwell possesses the rare skill set of being able to dig deep into subjects that deal with human behavior — such as Social Science and Psychology — and to pull away tiny little details that others would’ve probably overlooked, and then tie them into big ideas that affect our lives quite significantly…

It’s his attention to detail that resulted in his string of best-selling books and his stellar writing career as one of the world’s leading non-fiction writer. Several thought-provoking books influenced Gladwell’s way of thinking, which of course had a direct impact on his writing.

Here are nine that Malcolm Gladwell recommends you read.

#1. ‘Freakonomics’ by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

freakonomics-by-steven-d-levitt-and-stephen-j-dubner

    Gladwell told The Week that Freakonomics was the book that turned a boring subject like economics into an entertaining topic, and it’s an enjoyable read to boot.

    #2. ‘Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession’ by Janet Malcolm

    psychoanalysis-the-impossible-profession-by-janet-malcolm

      Gladwell considers the author of Psychoanalysis, Janet Malcom, his “nonfiction role model.” Gladwell was quoted in The New York Times as having said the following about the book and its author:

      “I reread Malcolm’s Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession just to remind myself how nonfiction is supposed to be done.”

      #3. ‘Fooled by Randomness‘ by Nassim Taleb

      fooled-by-randomness

        This is the book that most likely inspired some of Gladwell’s assertions in his best-selling book, Outliers: The Story of Success, where he notes the lack of consideration we place on “opportunities” (luck, chance, or circumstance) when we survey the contributing factors to success for individuals like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

        Gladwell told the New Yorker that Nassim Taleb, author of Fooled By Randomness, “is to conventional Wall Street wisdom approximately what Martin Luther’s ninety-five theses were to the Catholic Church.”

        #4. ‘The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game’ by Michael Lewis

        The_Blind_Side_Evolution_of_a_Game

          Gladwell considers Lewis to be an inspiring role model. Reportedly, Gladwell even told The New York Times that he reads Michael Lewis’ books for the same reasons he watches Tiger Woods play golf:  “I’ll never play like that. But it’s good to be reminded every now and again what genius looks like.”

          If Gladwell’s endorsement weren’t enough to get you to pickup the book — you should also probably know that The Blind Side is an extraordinary story about love and redemption that gets you thinking about how we’ve all got vulnerabilities — and whether we’re ready for it or not — life can “blind side” us when we least expect it. And it’s our ability to get back up that makes us successful in the long run.

          #5. ‘The Opposable Mind’ by Roger Martin

          the-opposable-mind-by-roger-martin

            Bookstores — both online and off — are crowded with books about how great CEOs and leaders stand out from their peers. According to Gladwell, The Opposable Mind is the only one you need to read.

            “I realize that there are thousands of business books on the subject, but, trust me, this is the first to really answer the question” Gladwell says.

            #6. ‘Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do’ by Tom Vanderbilt

            traffic-why-we-drive-the-way-we-do-by-tom-vanderbilt

              Traffic is an investigation of how our behavior behind the wheel relates to human nature… this seems like a tall mountain to climb, until of course, you think about how otherwise normal and well-tempered people turn into total maniacs when they get behind the wheel.

              Gladwell says that the author of Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt, has a clever way of writing. Which is suitable, seeing as though you’d have to be pretty savvy to put together a best-selling book about why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us) — and then to have it make Malcom Gladwell’s list of recommended books.

              #7. ‘Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Made Man’ by Garry Wills

              nixon-agonistes (1)

                This book is an outlier when you compare it to the rest of this list, but it’s a classic nonetheless, at least according to Malcolm Gladwell it is.

                Here’s what he told The Week about the book: “A classic from the early ’70s by one of the great political writers of his time. Written just before Richard Nixon resigned, it’s as devastating a portrait of him as has ever been written.

                #8. ‘Should I Be Tested for Cancer?’ by H. Gilbert Welch

                should i be tested for cancer

                  This is a book that brings together a wide body of little-known medical research — and presents this data in a compelling argument against the constant testing for cancer in the world of medicine — which seems to result in unintended consequences by way of invasive treatments, misdiagnosis, and much, much more.

                  This book asks a simple question: are there situations when you shouldn’t be tested for cancer? The author’s answer brings data together in an engaging and stylish way that really gets you thinking. Which is precisely why it makes Malcom’s list of books for you to read.

                  #9. ‘The Person and the Situation’ by Richard Nisbett

                  The-person-and-the-situation-recommended-by-Malcom-Gladwell

                    Gladwell told the New York Times that the author of this book, psychologist Richard Nisbett “was the most influential thinker in my life.” Gladwell attributes his world general way of thinking about the world to Nisbett and his book, The Person and the Situation; saying that “if you read that book, you’ll see the template for the genre of books that The Tipping Point, and Blink and Outliers belongs to. That book changed my life.”

                    Okay, now that you’ve the nine best books straight out of Malcolm Gladwell’s library — which one will you read first?

                    More by this author

                    Dean Bokhari

                    Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

                    How to Be Productive: 11 Ways to Be Productive and Happy at Once 11 Life-Changing Books To Help You Build Better Habits nutrition books 6 Nutrition Books That Will Transform Your Health successful ceo The Daily Rituals of 7 Successful CEOs 10 Mind Expanding Books To Read In A Lifetime

                    Trending in Work

                    1 How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work 2 How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business 3 20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples (2019 Updated) 4 How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career 5 8 Critical Skills for Workplace Success and Career Advancement

                    Read Next

                    Advertising
                    Advertising
                    Advertising

                    Published on March 25, 2019

                    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

                    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

                    Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up. You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out.

                    But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

                    Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

                    “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

                    It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

                    Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

                    As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

                    As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

                    Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

                    Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

                    1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

                    When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

                    Advertising

                    Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

                    2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

                    Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

                    But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

                    If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

                    3. Go to All Office Networking Events

                    Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

                    If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

                    Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

                    Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

                    The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

                    Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

                    4. Show Initiative

                    Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

                    Advertising

                    Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

                    Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

                    5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

                    Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

                    Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

                    6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

                    A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

                    Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

                    Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

                    A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

                    Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

                    Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

                    These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

                    Advertising

                    Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

                    7. Find a Mentor

                    With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

                    Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

                    Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

                    8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

                    After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

                    What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

                    Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

                    Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

                    You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

                    9. Set Your Professional Bar High

                    Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

                    Advertising

                    Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

                    Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

                    Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

                    The Bottom Line

                    Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

                    “Half of life is showing up.”

                    The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

                    Remember, your career is your business!

                    More Resources About Ever-Growing

                    Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

                    Read Next