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

                    Why You’re Not Interested in Anything And Have No Motivation 40 Inspirational Quotes on Overcoming Challenges 9 Things Successful People Do To Always Get What They Want How to Become an Intentional Learner for Never-Ending Growth How to Use the Law of Attraction to Make Your Dreams Happen

                    Trending in Work

                    1 12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job 2 10 Key Elements of Effective Meetings to Avoid Wasting Time 3 Pick Your Job Based On What You Love To Do, Not How Much You Have Invested In. 4 What Is a Mentor And Why You Should Find One For Yourself? 5 10 Signs You Have Created a Good Work-Life Balance

                    Read Next

                    Advertising
                    Advertising
                    Advertising

                    Published on September 16, 2020

                    12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

                    12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

                    Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

                    Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

                    Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

                    Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

                    Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

                    Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

                    1. Organization

                    When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

                    When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

                    Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

                    To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

                    To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

                    Advertising

                    2. Flexibility

                    You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

                    Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

                    For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

                    To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

                    To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

                    3. Collaboration

                    As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

                    Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

                    To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

                    To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

                    4. Poise

                    Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

                    When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

                    Advertising

                    What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

                    To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

                    To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

                    5. Communication

                    Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

                    When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

                    To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

                    To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

                    6. Good Computer Hygiene

                    Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

                    Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

                    To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

                    To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

                    Advertising

                    7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

                    Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

                    Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

                    To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

                    To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

                    8. Respecting Feedback

                    In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

                    Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

                    To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

                    To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

                    9. Project Management

                    Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

                    To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

                    To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

                    Advertising

                    10. Staying up to Speed

                    Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

                    To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

                    To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

                    11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

                    “Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

                    To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

                    To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

                    12. Teamwork

                    Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

                    Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

                    To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

                    To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

                    Final Thoughts

                    Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

                    More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

                    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

                    Read Next