I've missed the political drama this evening as I was sat listening to Malcolm Gladwell at the Lowry in Salford Quays. He opened his talk by mentioning that a blogger at his previous date at Oxford had been nasty about him. I was going to link to that as a counterpoint, but couldn't find it. I found a kind review here though. There, do you see what he did? *
Gladwell's story telling is multilayered and subtle. But he also draws heavily on emotional devices - like empathy. You take out lots of different things from his stories - personal nuances, moral choices as well as systemic insights.
His talk tonight was about serendipity and the quest for something that you don't quite know what it is, until you find it. There's a link to the same tale about oncological research in the New Yorker, here.
The first time I saw him last year I was exhilerated. This time I was deflated. Partly because of the sad ending to the story, but also because he seemed to come up short. It hasn't made me any less keen to hear him again or less likely to buy a book or read an article by him. Quite the reverse. Serendipity, you see. And a quest.
Thanks to Matt Johnson for organising the tickets.
* The nasty blog is here. Hat tip: Jonathan.