Summer Reading Continued: Gladwell and Bonhoeffer

I recently read two more of Malcolm Gladwell’s books: The Tipping Point and What the Dog Saw. Both were very entertaining, though neither fascinated me as much as Outliers did.

In The Tipping Point I enjoyed reading about the careful analyses that went into the launch and development of the television program Sesame Street. It was also interesting to see how Blue’s Clues went after the same demographic with such a different formula. The chapter about nicotine addiction and smoking was also interesting.

What the Dog Saw is a collection of pieces Gladwell wrote for The New Yorker. Each chapter is an independent essay. Subjects include investments, ketchup, interpreting pictures, dogs, birth control, hair dye, interviews, and many others. I really liked the piece titled The Art of Failure that contrasts choking and panicking.

Gladwell makes me pause and think, and I like that.

The next book I read, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, is a very different kind of book. Bonhoeffer stresses the value of community. He urges readers experiencing regular fellowship with Believers to cherish that blessing. I found it interesting that Bonhoeffer writes of the value of fellowship and of solitude. When he speaks of confession he makes the comment: “Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.” He warns of the danger of a pious attitude that breeds secrecy and concealment. Many of his points made me think. I found myself feeling a little overwhelmed by the duration and frequency of time that Bonhoeffer urges his readers to spend praying and reading the Bible.

I suspect Gladwell and Bonhoeffer could hold a very interesting conversation.


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