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Monday, November 18, 2013

An Extraordinary Influence

In the work world, a treasured role is to be a person of influence. Whether or not you agree with all of his conclusions from his research, bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell is a person of extraordinary influence. And an exceptional writer.

Gladwell, for those unfamiliar with his work, is the author of bestselling books titled Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and his most recent, David and Goliath.

I got connected to Gladwell’s writing at a Moody team event several years ago. In a small group breakout, eight in our group received a copy of Tipping Point. Each of us was assigned to read a certain chapter of the bookdifferent chaptersand then report our findings. Great idea.

It was there I learned how Hush Puppies – the shoes, not the food – regained popularity after almost going out of business. And how markets are developed and shaped in surprising ways.

From Gladwell’s book, Blink, I learned about thin slicing, and about John Gottman, psychologist and mathematician. Gottman’s seminal work studying over two thousand married couples has provided us a powerful
perspective on relationships.

Through scientific observation and mathematical analysis, Gottman and his associates at the University of Washington could predict—with more than 90 percent accuracy—whether a marriage would succeed or fail.

Gottman defined “four horsemen” that drive relationships apart:  defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism, and contempt. The most potent of those being contempt. By challenging couples to see the damage these relational breakers were causing, Gottman has become a remarkable marriage therapist.

In Outliers, Gladwell’s research presented this idea on success. It may seem that some of our greatest and best in the world were just given exceptional talent. Instead, the reality shows it took hours and hours of work and practice to achieve superior levels of achievement. The benchmark “10,000 hours” became a trademark view from that book.

Gladwell’s latest work titled David and Goliath has been published. I’ve not yet read it. But I have read that while writing this book Malcolm Gladwell has returned to his spiritual roots and regained his Christian faith.
Reading this news, I rejoice that Malcolm Gladwell’s soul is seeking and finding spiritual renewal. I’m cheering for him. Even if he doesn’t sell another book. That is truly secondary. As Jesus said, “What will you gain if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul?  (Matthew 16:26)

Gladwell’s contributions to “business think” have made him an extraordinary influencer. Each of his works are well worth reading. Perhaps Malcolm Gladwell would now agree with this idea: true wisdom and incredible insight can be yours with one single book. A bestseller. The Bible. And you don’t need 10,000 hours.

That's the way WE work.  For Moody Radio, I'm Mark Elfstrand.

1 comment:

  1. John Gottman is well quoted in my favorite marriage resource, Love & Respect. :-)


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