Book Review: What the Dog Saw

What the Dog Saw
by Malcolm Gladwell
June 14, 2010
5 out 5

Malcolm Gladwell has becoming one of my favorite writers. His writing reaches a wide range of topics with emphasize in a mix of sociology and psychology. What shines his works apart are his uses of real-life examples and commonly known events to illustrate the underline subject principles, like the numerous examples in Blink or this book.

In comparison, Blink dwelled the entire content on one single subject, Thin-Slicing, the ability to make instinctive decisions within a small fraction of time to achieve astounding results as if were studied over ample amount of time and resources. What the Dog Saw covered over a number of topics. In no particular order, here are some brain notes:

Creeping Determinism: How after an event occurs can alter (increase) the emotions or confidence level of what you thought about and prior to the events.

Information Noise: The ability to differentiate noise from useful information. The problem with more information does not warrant right choices.

Implicit Vs explicit Learning: unconscious and conscious learning.

Stress from Pressure, Panic Vs Choke: If learned through conscious, innate ability may takes over under panic; if learned drawn from unconscious, inability to explain or to act if try to concentrate from conscious under choke.

Risk Tolerance: willingness to tolerate risks and ability to shred our comfort zones

Growth achieve through continue process of acquire new comfort and relinquish it

Normal Accident: Series of good things where evaluating individually maybe a good thing, but taking collectively causes catastrophe. This is the reason to have a long-term goal, so we can assess alignment of individual decisions.

Smart people are overrated: The failure for Enron which was driven by the talent people orthodox culture maybe caused by lack of common sense and social goals.

Success of an individual may lay with his or her own smartness, but the success of an organization relies on its ability to grow its people to smartness.

Structure Interviews that ask for specific questions or questions based on specific scenarios is the only type of interview that can predict an employee future outcome.

What to do when faced with two equally important deadlines, if answer is to tackle the one with what you know the best, it fails to put the company’s need first.

If everyone is to think outside of the box, maybe then it’s the box that needs to change.

Marketing: Make a good product, show people how to use it, like Ron Popeil’s rotisserie oven and infomercial, vs. how cassette video player failed to replace sitcoms.

Ketchup and Mustards: Best Ketchup may not dominate market, not what the customer want, or customer may not know what they want, or even change the culture of usage.

Package is part of the product.

Success for a reason: Buffett, common sense, Soros, back pain (unconscious?).

Quants vs. Common Sense on Stocks: Bell curve, bell curve with end lobes, Black Swan.

In a way, option sellers believe bell curve, belief shown in premium. Buyers are believers of ear lobes version of bell curves.

Risk averse on gains, gamble on losses. People participate in market’s wiliness to loss everything to gain daily small winnings and for the pleasing effect of feedbacks.

Church and Contraceptive pills: Fact, belief vs. pursuit for agreement may be different things. Contraceptive pills: Pope deemed it un-nature to control god’s will, where could argue for protect life or health, which Pope later deemed acceptable. The art of selling

Brest cancer due to amount of estrogen and progesterone a women live through. Birth of child prevents breasts from mutation. More menstrual cycles yield more estrogen. More estrogen and progesterone contribute to higher risk of breast cancer.

Culture or Rule based Conformity

Experimental pursuer for Perfection

Marketing and LOreal Hair Color, I am worth it. Single slogan responsible for market soaring.

Criminal Profile: white victims may point to white perpetrator as old victim may point to perpetrator with pre-mature sex drives

Biting Dog Profile – Pit Bull are not necessary more dangerous than others as in common belief.

Of course, What the Dogs Saw also covered Thin Slicing.