September 3

This Day in History

Literary

Sep 3, 1963:

Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell born

On this day in 1963, Malcolm Gladwell, author of such non-fiction best-sellers as "The Tipping Point," "Blink" and "Outliers," is born in Fareham, Hampshire, England. Known for taking a counterintuitive look at questions about modern life, Gladwell’s writing has explored everything from IQ tests to why people choose Coke over Pepsi.

Raised in rural Ontario, Canada, where his English-born father was a university math professor and his Jamaican-born mother was a psychotherapist, Gladwell graduated from the University of Toronto in 1984 with a degree in history. Starting in 1987, he worked as a reporter for The Washington Post, covering business and science, before being hired, in 1996, as a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine.

In 2000, Gladwell published his first book, "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference," which examines the moment when an idea, product or behavior reaches the point where it tips, or spreads and gains critical mass. "The Tipping Point" used experts and academic studies to explain everything from the comeback of Hush Puppies shoes to the drop in crime in New York City in the early 1990s. Gladwell’s next book, "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking," debuted in 2005 and is about the role of snap judgments and intuition in decision-making. Like his first book, "Blink" also applied science to a range of topics, including speed dating and military war games. The same year "Blink" was published, its author was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.

Gladwell’s third book, "Outliers: The Story of Success," about what sets high achievers apart from the rest of society, debuted in 2008, and looks at the careers of Bill Gates and the Beatles, among others. Gladwell’s books have sold millions of copies, and sparked a second lucrative career for their author as a public speaker.

In addition to his books and speaking engagements, Gladwell remains a staff writer for The New Yorker. In 2009, "What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures," a compilation of his articles for the magazine, was released.

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