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Malcolm Gladwell coming to Ottawa…and I got tickets for you!


I may have mentioned this in another post a few weeks ago, however it definitely deserves it’s own post. United Way Ottawa has invited  Malcolm Gladwell , one of the most influential writers of our time, to speak at the National Arts Centre on June 11th, from 4-5pm. The format will be MG having an open conversation with  journalist and member of the United Way board of directors, Mark Sutcliffe. For all you newbies, Malcolm is a staff writer for The New Yorker and has also written best-selling books such as The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers. Many of the concepts explained in his books stem from the findings of various researchers throughout the last century. Malcolm takes these concepts to the next level by applying them to modern times and using them to explain various aspects of social behaviour. If you haven’t read one of his books, stop what you’re doing, go to Amazon right now and order one…you won’t regret it. For the rest of you that need no convincing, read on…

As soon as I found out about MG coming to town, I ordered two $75 tickets without hesitation. A few weeks later one of my contacts at United Way Ottawa (former client) offered me two additional tickets. Rather than keep these to myself, I have decided to give these away on my blog in the form of a little Malcolm Gladwell “QCT” contest. Let me explain…

The Prize: Two tickets to see Malcolm Gladwell speak at the NAC ($150 value)

The Rules: Leave a comment on this blog post mentioning your favourite Malcolm Gladwell quote, concept, or theory. It can be one sentence or a novel.

The Deadline: June 1st, 2009 (midnight)

How will I pick the winner? I will write down the name of each person that leaves a comment, put it in a hat, and get my fiancee to pick a winner. I will announce this individual in a blog post on June 2nd, 2009.

Since I’m the one holding the contest, I may as well start it off by leaving you with my favourite Malcolm Gladwell quote:

“There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.”

Good luck!

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  1. Tara Fleming

    If we are to learn to improve the quality of the decisions we make, we need to accept the mysterious nature of our snap judgments.

  2. Mark Buell

    “We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We’re a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don’t really have an explanation for.”

  3. Louise Saulnier

    “What must underlie successful epidemics, in the end, is a bedrock belief that change is possible, that people can radically transform their behavior or beliefs in the face of the right kind of impetus.”

  4. “There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.”

  5. Oh haha I should have read the whole post, you already had that one!

    Let me try that again:

    “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”

  6. John Dallas

    “Once you understand that context matters, however, that specific and relatively small elements in the environment can serve as Tipping Points, that defeatism is turned upside down” Context and the little things matter!

  7. Cassandra Wilson

    It is quite possible for people who have never met us and who have spent only twenty minutes thinking about us to come to a better understanding of who we are than people who have known us for years.

  8. Angela Reid

    “No one who can rise before dawn three hundred and sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.”

  9. Paula Flood

    The concept of the 10,000 hour-expert

  10. Andrea Matyas

    Quote (from page 239 of Outliers) in reference to the 10,000 hour rule for practice time:

    “…a belief in work ought to be a thig of beuty. Virtually every sucess story … involves someone or some group working harder than their peers…. Working really hard is what successful people do, and the genius of the culture formed in the rice paddies is that hard work gave those in the fields a way top find meaning in the midst of great uncertainty and poverty.”

  11. Linda Mae

    Well, I wish I lived ANYWHERE near Ottawa. This sounds like an exciting opportunity!

  12. “I hope I have encouraged people in business to expand the way they make sense of human behavior.”

  13. Simon Bridge

    The concept of Mavens, Connectors and Salespeople. I particularly liked the concept that Martin Luther King was a salesman. According to Gladwell, Black people in the USA at that time did not need another person to convince them that fighting for their civil rights was a good thing. They had ample leaders in the black community already doing that. What they did need was someone who could sell White America on that concept – That is where King came in.

  14. I suspect people who are indecisive are people who are far too enamored of analysis in all settings and are destroying their ability to make an instinctive judgment through over-analysis and that’s dangerous,

  15. “People are experience rich and theory poor. People who are busy doing things – as opposed to people who are busy sitting around, like me, reading and having coffee in coffee shops – don’t have opportunities to kind of collect and organize their experiences and make sense of them.”

  16. Brandon F

    The Rule of 150 says that congregants of a rapidly expanding church, or the members of a social club, or anyone in a group activity banking on the epidemic spread of shared ideals needs to be particularly cognizant of the perils of the bigness. Crossing the 150 line is a small change that can make a big difference.

  17. Leila K

    “Cultural legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lives. They persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social and demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished, and they play such a role in directing attitudes and behavior that we cannot make sense of our world without them.”

    — Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers)

  18. C. Rocan

    In order to get one of the greatest inventions of the modern age, in other words, we thought we needed the solitary genius. But if Alexander Graham Bell had fallen into the Grand River and drowned that day back in Brantford, the world would still have had the telephone, the only difference being that the telephone company would have been nicknamed Ma Gray, not Ma Bell.

  19. thx for this opportunity, here’s my quote: “I hope I have encouraged people in business to expand the way they make sense of human behavior.”

  20. Gael

    I like his idea that connectors (people who are friendly, have a wide network of acquaintances, and who like to share information) are integral to spreading ideas and trends. I think I like this idea because as much as I value having authoritative sources for generating valid, credible knowledge, it is people’s enthusiasm, curiosity, and love of information that actually _spreads_ knowledge. Connectors are the epitome of that enthusiasm.

  21. James Tourigny

    The best thing that Mr. Gladwell has brought to the table is the idea that people can make a difference through the creation of communities – at work, home and in our own respective geographic communiities.

    “the single most important thing a city can do is provide a community where interesting, smart people want to live with their families.”

    Interesting and smart people will always make a difference because of their ability to think, interpret and act within those communities.

  22. Chris Smeaton

    My favorite quote is from the Outliers Introduction.

    When Bruhn and Wolf first presented their findings to the medical community, you can image the kinds of skepticism they faced. There went to conferences where their peers were presenting long rows of data arrayed in complex charts and referring to this kind of gene or that kind of physiological process, and they themselves were talking instead about the mysterious and magical benefits of people stopping to talk to one another on the street and of having three generations under one roof.

  23. I just want to be a connector, because, “word of mouth remains very mysterious.”

    Ironically, this quote seems especially true when the social media tools should be making word of mouth marketing easy and effective.

    Hope to see you at the event.

    Jonathan Wade

  24. My favourite Malcolm Gladwell quote:

    “The face is not a secondary billboard for our internal feelings. It is an equal partner in the emotional process.”

  25. Hey everyone, the contest is now closed. I will be posting up the winner tonight.

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