Google+

BBC Culture

The Culture Show

Why does Malcolm Gladwell write what he does?

The best-selling author’s new book is about underdogs and power battles. But is he a David or a Goliath? Jon Ronson interviews the writer for The Culture Show.

Whenever Malcolm Gladwell publishes a book, millions of copies are sold and policy-makers use his ideas to shape our world. In this feature, the author and journalist Jon Ronson asks, “Who is Malcolm Gladwell – and why does he write the things he does?”

Gladwell’s latest book, David and Goliath is about the power of the underdog. He says our “accounting of battles” is lop-sided, using examples such as dyslexia, the Northern Irish conflict and Vietnam to prove that we have misunderstood the true meaning of advantages and disadvantages.

In this profile, Ronson positions Gladwell as an “overdog”, an author who − since the astonishing success of his first book, The Tipping Point − has experienced massive success and a lucrative career in speech-making as well as writing.

Ronson uses Gladwell’s own concept of the “accounting of battles” as a prism through which to explore the author – and how the perspective of his writing has shifted since The Tipping Point.

If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.