Check It Out: What the Dog Saw

Jun 30, 2015

What I’m recommending today is an assemblage of curious and quick-witted writing from one of my favorite authors.

Malcom Gladwell is known for being a “brilliant investigator of hidden extraordinary.” He’s written five books, including The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, which is one of my favorite books of all time.

What the Dog Saw is a collection of articles that first appeared in The New Yorker, where Gladwell has been a staff writer since 1996. For this book, he picked his favorite pieces from over the years, including “The Pitchman,” which won the 2001 National Magazine Award for profiling Ron Popeil, the kitchen gadget inventor turned marketing mogul behind countless late-night infomercials. Popeil coined the term, “But Wait… There’s More” back in the 1950s.

The book is divided into three parts:

Part 1: Obsessives, Pioneers, and other varieties of Minor Genius, in which Gladwell leads his reader (or listener) through the widely unknown universe of common subjects including ketchup, hair dye, birth control, and pet whispering.

Part 2: Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses, which contained a brilliant article called The Art of Failure–Why some people choke and others panic.

Part 3: Personality, Character, and Intelligence had one of my favorite pieces of the book, “Late Bloomers.”   

Each part has six or seven articles that left me not just flabbergasted by Gladwell’s skill of writing the mundane into the magnificent, but actually smarter.

I know reading nonfiction isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I’d especially like to recommend trying this title on audiobook (which is available at the Sioux City Public Library). It’s performed by Gladwell, who reads with as much conviction as he writes with. Check it out—you won’t be disappointed.

Support for Check It Out comes from a friend of the Sioux City Public Library. For library hours, locations, and services go to siouxcitylibrary.org.