Rating: 4/5 stars.
Not my typical reading fare – you can tell by the dearth of nonfiction on my Goodreads shelf and the time it took me to read this (eight days, which is long for me). What the Dog Saw is divided into three sections: Part 1 – Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius, Part 2 – Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses, and Part 3 – Personality, Character, and Intelligence.
I didn’t enjoy Part 1 as much as 2 or 3 because I could not connect with the anecdotes or the characters within each short story. They weren’t actual fiction stories but little narratives of real events that happened – I suppose the fact that I read this portion of the book in a similar way to fiction showcases Malcolm Gladwell’s storytelling talent.
Part 2 was where I started to get hooked. My two favorite stories were Something Borrowed and The Art of Failure. Something Borrowed questioned plagiarism and how society perceives it today as opposed to in the past. The Art of Failure began with describing a tennis match and transitioned into the difference between choking and panicking.
I loved every story of Part 3 – I read the entire section in a day. Gladwell writes about aspects of contemporary society with a fine felicity. This part of the book made buying it worth the money.
What the Dog Saw is an extraordinary collection of essays that are written with intelligence and precision. The research Malcolm Gladwell must have put into each of these stories amazes me – now I want to reread some of his previously published works.