What the Dog Saw

What the Dog Saw is an anthology of articles by Malcom Gladwell, and because it’s that instead of a book, it lacks the unity of purpose and voice that comprised Gladwell’s previous books.

Instead, what we get with What the Dog Saw is a series of unrelated points that are at times quite entertaining.  I especially enjoyed the bit about why there is so litle variety in ketchup but every other food category has been about catering to smaller niches for the last few decades.

The Titular story about how dogs relate to, “The Dog Whisperer was fascinating as well.  I’ve never seen the show, but it made me interested in it in a way that I never would have been from descriptions, or allusions to it in South Park.

The problem is that some of the stories just aren’t that interesting.  They also sometimes are quite old and draw on old events for inspiration.   I just can’t bring myself to care about John F. Kennedy Junior’s plane crash.  Maybe I would have when the story was published in The New Yorker, but in 2011 it’s nothing but a distant memory.


Furthermore with no broader point to be illustrated a lot of these amount to captain obvious observations.  There’s a difference between choking and panicking.  Yup, This really isn’t something that’s difficult for most of us to suss out but here’s a whole article on it.    It doesn’t merit a whole book on it, so thank goodness that wasn’t a book topic, but everything just seems well yeah.  It neither merits, nor requires an extra look at it.  It is literally, a book of magazine articles, and this means that it’s a book of ideas that made for great short pieces.

The narration on the audio-book is quite good and I ran into no significant audio problems.  It’s always brisk but understandable like most of his previous works have been.

I really can’t wait to read the next full book from Mr. Gladwell. I loved Blink, Outliers, and  Tipping Point so I picked up What the Dog Saw.   I can’t say it was quite the attention retaining read that his earlier books had been.

By Andrew Martin

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About Andrew Martin
Hello, I'm a 31 year old educator. I've spent a few years abroad before coming back to the states this year. I'm a man of many interests, and I use seoulbound as my place for talking about them.

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