Monday, December 28, 2009

Curiosity, Listening & Telling Stories

Malcolm Gladwell has a super cool job. He has been a staff writer with The New Yorker since 1996, and is the author of three books: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), and Outliers: The Story of Success (2008).

Basically, his job is to be curious. Awesome. He goes out looking for things that are interesting and then figures out how to make them into a story. 'What the dog saw' is a collection of his favourite articles. They range from stories about the birth of the hair colouring industry, to plagiarism, investment and even how modern women menstruate 4 times as much as their predecessors which increases the risk of cancer.

I know a few great story tellers. One of them is my big brother; he has the ability to have people eating out of his hands as he has retells some of his adventures on the path to becoming a vascular surgeon. I guess the magic of Gladwell is that he gets to tell stories on such a wide range of subjects that he is able to touch on something that will appeal to everyone.

One of my friends from university has gone a very different route from the core group of people I studied with (who mainly went into accounting, business and investments). He studied/is studying genetics, stem cells and all sorts of things I don't understand but am fascinated by. I would love to know more about his story.

Part of the skill of Gladwell is the ability to go into the ridiculously complicated worlds of the people we mix with on a day to day basis, find the story and retell it in a way that captures the reason why there are people who are passionate about so many different things.

There are so many stories out there. The world needs more curious people willing to search out stories from others, listen and then give the stories life.
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