I've finished two more books in my quest to read my way through my shelves. (Woo!)
On Spice's recommendation, I finally got around to reading Blink. It's about split-second decisions, like when an expert looks at a sculpture and instantly knows it's fake, or when an orchestra's audition panel knows in two seconds that this is the french horn player for them. I had it because Malcolm Gladwell, the New Yorker writer who wrote the book, was supposed to speak at this conference I went to a couple of years ago, but he couldn't make it. So instead they sent several boxes of Blink. The book confirmed what I think about the guy - he's a fantastic writer. Beautiful, beautiful way with words. But I'm not always totally sure he has his ideas straight. (It's also possible that I'm too dumb to get his ideas.)
I actually once interviewed Malcolm Gladwell for a class. We had to pick an article and talk to the writer about how they'd done it - the reporting, the writing, what the editing was like. So I had a long conversation with him (about one of the articles that led to Blink, as it happens) as I sat outside a restaurant in the Bay Area, getting progressively later for an OAM trivia competition, and he walked down the street in New York and informed me about journalism in general and his article on facial lie detecting in particular.
Interesting - I just reread my transcript of the phone call and the things he said about writing and being edited have turned out to be very accurate.
I said there were two books, but this is plenty long enough for one blog post. More on the other book later.