Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Cast-Iron Philosophy of Malcolm Gladwell


Nobody Cares: The first time I saw this guy was on Charlie Rose. I thought to myself, “Well, there’s a really exciting combination of DNA!” And it was obvious as soon as he opened his mouth, that he was some kind of genius…some kind of savant…one of those kids who I could picture reading the Wall Street Journal at the age of five. He looked like a Jewish mulatto…with the face of a Raphael angel---not something you see every day, at least not here in the middle of America.

But it was his hair that I couldn’t take my eyes off. It was the, “Ain’t Gonna Work On Maggie’s Farm No More” Bob Dylan of the sixties. Thankfully, he didn’t sound like Bob, his voice was young, and smooth to listen to, and his almost child-like enthusiasm was very hypnotic. I wanted to take him out to the sandbox and play, “What’s in the Universe Now?”
Here was a young man who had retained his innocence because of his vast curiosity and intelligence…you don’t see that often.

His name was Malcolm Gladwell, and he had just written a new book called, Outliers.
Basically, it’s about how geniuses and famous people do not always just rise to the top of the heap by sheer will-power alone. (Despite what Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and most television and radios pundits will tell you.) You must take into account what year and month you were born, what class you were born into, and if you are coming in at the right historical moment in time.

Not to mention, your “cultural” background plays a much bigger part than Big Bird.

Most of us know this fact… we’re just not allowed to whimper about it when we fail.

Anyway, I usually try to get something out of every book I read, and Malcolm really helped me today. No--it wasn’t because I thought of some big universal thesis on how to write a Global Constitution FOR the people, although, someone should do this before our current culture of Marxist globalists do it…

No, Malcolm helped me with my cast-iron pipes, bless his heart: And here’s how.

You see, Malcolm does an in-dept analysis on plane crashes in the book, and some reasons why they occur. Along with the usual bad weather etc, it seems, in some “cultures” the co-pilots are just too scared to speak up the Captain if something goes wrong. Instead of shouting, “LOOK OUT! WE ARE ABOUT TO CRASH!” they say something really…polite, like, “Okay, not much gas left.” so as not to offend.
Any human that is married understands this rule all too well, which is why couples should not be allowed to fly planes together. Many would also say couples should not drive together, but that’s a whole other blog…
So, back to the story---Last week, my kitchen sink filled up with water, and basically…stayed filled, for three days straight. So, I got this guy to come out and put down a hose, and then he says, “Oh…somewhere underneath your basement, we don’t know where, a pipe is completely shattered. See…there’s a foot of mud on the end of this line.”

Great. Mud

So, I called three plumbers for estimates and they all told me the same thing: We can’t TELL you how much it will cost until we send a camera down and “locate” it. This will cost you $150 dollars. Every single plumber quoted the same price.

After talking with my insurance company, I decided on a plumber, and they said, “Well we have to do a “locater, camera” search first.”

Fine.

Over comes this guy today, and he comes down into the basement, pulls off a small piece of the wall, and says, “Here’s my bid (don’t ask) and by the way--you owe me today, $250 dollars.”

SAY WHAT?

Now, any other day, I might have written him a check, but not today. I remember how Malcolm said that rich people feel and ACT entitled. And since I’m poor, about the only thing I feel entitled to is fries with my Happy Meal.

So, remembering Malcolm’s words…I acted, “entitled.”

I said, with great authoritative bluster, “I beg to differ sir!”

And I said it to a young and very well built black man, who according to Malcolm’s theory, might be a descendant of the great Abubu tribe where they ripe off heads and eat them with mango’s, thereby prone to getting very angry for all I knew.

You did nothing here.” I replied. “You did no search--I see no camera...you will get paid, when my insurance pays you.” And I said it very calmly, but firmly.

And in this politically correct world, that took guts.

WOW! It took two seconds before he became a puppy. “Well, I couldn’t do a search because your basement is finished and it would have gotten mud…etc. “

Now, Malcolm certainly would never guess, in a million years, that his great piece of work would help out some idiotic nobody in the middle of nowhere. Let’s keep that a secret shall we?
If he knew, he might feel I own him $250 dollars, which would spoil the whole lesson.

But you can do yourself a pretty big favor—do read his book. It’s full of Thomas Paine common sense, wonderfully written, well researched, very original in thought, and if you feel like you’ve been a genius all your life, and yet, can’t understand for the life of you, why you are not winning Nobel prizes…

Malcolm is going to make your day! He certainly did mine.

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