"How do we know whether someone is bad, or smart, or capable of doing something really well?" he asks in his book 'Blink'. In this book he looks into how educators evaluate young teachers, how the FBI profiles criminals, how job interviewers form snap judgments.
In 'Outliers' he tries to figure out why some people are successful. He comes to the conclusion that we've focused too much on the individual and failed to consider the other factors around successful people. We fail to see the forest for the trees.
Interestingly he gives an example of successful people. Jewish men who grew up during the depression whose fathers worked in the garment district apparently have done quite well as corporate lawyers in New York City. Our hero R. Feynmen also fits this category.
'The Tipping Point' explores meaningful changes and what really brings them about.
I've struggled all my life to understand this world. I got into the science business to seek refuge from a demon haunted world. Things were no different. There is of course the beauty of real science that occasionally works its way into the mess that professional scientists have created. But the world seemed even more bizarre watching people with PhDs use science in the manner that they do. Professional scientists are people who want to be known as smart. They want to be experts. Actual scientific people would never devise a thing such as the peer reviewed journal. RNAi does not come from scientific minds. Biotechnology hasn't failed for no reason.
This blog wonders how a group of highly educated individuals with billions of dollars create the system of scientific research that now passes for "discovery"? We are still standing on the shoulders of giants, but we seem to be looking in the wrong direction.
Along my journey I have extracted ideas from people and things I've read and observed. These ideas tend to follow what is considered to be the scientific method. That doesn't mean the ideas have always come from scientists. Malcolm Gladwell for example is a journalist. People who are good at what they do have the ability to see what matters. Gladwell applies new questions to old problems. Why are some people, of equal ability, more successful than others? When do good ideas (and bad) become accepted? To those of us who are dissatisfied with current explanations, this is a breath of fresh air. The books serve two purposes. First to see new explanations to old problems and, more importantly, to take the journey of how they were obtained.
Malcolm G. is not without his own flaws however. In the future I hope that he re-visits the following ideas posted on his website:
Journalism is not like the business world, where the mechanics of decisions and procedures take place behind closed doors. It is, rather, like science, where the fruits of all endeavor are put on public display. In the world of science, that transparency allows the profession to be self-policing. It is very hard to commit scientific fraud because all significant findings are published, scrutinized by other members of the scientific community, and—if they are sufficiently controversial—independently tested.
No one's perfect.