Monday, March 21, 2011

Hacking Humanity by Paul Constant - Books - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

For a little over a decade now, we have crowded into bookstores and swarmed around stacks of attractive hard cover books so that we could witness Conventional Wisdom Being Turned on Its Head before our eyes. In the process, we have turned a very small selection of titles into best sellers, which has in turn transformed a smaller-still group of authors—Malcolm Gladwell, those Freakonomics douches—into a league of rarefied gurus who specialize in some sort of amorphous, flabby social science. Their work is couched in the language of science and discovery, but really it consists of a string of generalizations padded with statistics. These generalizations often confound our first impressions (which Gladwell puckishly announced were almost always correct in his magazine-article-pumped-into-a-flimsy-manifesto Blink) and so leave us slack-jawed at their contrarian wisdom for a moment or two. Then we set the book down and promptly forget everything about it except for that brief moment of wonder we felt when Conventional Wisdom Was Shot Dead, and so the legend of the book grows.