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Blinkered Posner et. al December 22, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in America, india, life, rant, science.
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1.

Listen to (mostly) Americans discuss where they would emigrate to if for some reason, they had to leave the US. What country do you think tops the list ?

What about for Indians ? Is the choice more obvious ?

2.

This article is really of no use to me. I am not really an introvert, except when I am surrounded by people who I would rather not be with. And in such a situation, the introvert in me would not want to network !!

3.

When I read his books – Blink and Tipping Point – I remember telling myself that the author Malcolm Gladwell is highly overrated and sits very well in the league of Tom Friedman of the flat world fame. ( I admit that “Tipping Point” is slightly more readable ).

Now here is the fun. An old review ofcourse but reading this brought so much joy. I have never seen a book being ripped apart like this. I mean even if the book were literally ripped apart, it wouldnt be as much fun. I would have to paste the entire article if I had to pick out my favorite paragraph. But I would rather do with this.

Such pratfalls, together with the inaptness of the stories that constitute the entirety of the book, make me wonder how far Gladwell has actually delved into the literatures that bear on his subject, which is not a new one. These include a philosophical literature illustrated by the work of Michael Polanyi on tacit knowledge and on “know how” versus “know that”; a psychological literature on cognitive capabilities and distortions; a literature in both philosophy and psychology that explores the cognitive role of the emotions; a literature in evolutionary biology that relates some of these distortions to conditions in the “ancestral environment” (the environment in which the human brain reached approximately its current level of development); a psychiatric literature on autism and other cognitive disturbances; an economic literature on the costs of acquiring and absorbing information; a literature at the intersection of philosophy, statistics, and economics that explores the rationality of basing decisions on subjective estimates of probability (Bayes’s Theorem); and a literature in neuroscience that relates cognitive and emotional states to specific parts of and neuronal activities in the brain.

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