Cultural lessons, compliments of Malcolm Gladwell

I’m a reader. I’m a writer too but I’ve been a reader for much longer than I’ve been writing, and one of my favorite writers these days is Malcolm Gladwell. Yes, I might have been drawn to his work because he has Jamaican heritage and he has a cool Afro and he’s a runner, and I like people who have things in common with me. But more than that, I love the way his writing helps me rethink me perspective on many social and cultural ideas. And I love how he introduces people and makes me feel like I know them because he tells me things about them and gets me feeling connected with them, all before he reveals that they are indeed this big deal or that big deal in the world.
Right now, I am reading his latest book, David and Goliath which is all about rethinking the perception that smaller is weaker and bigger is stronger. One of the people he introduces in the book is Vivek Ranadive, a regular man, an Indian immigrant who has no experience playing American sports but decides to help coach his 12 year old daughter’s basketball team. Because the team is a definite underdog with less than skilled players and almost no experience, he tries new things, building different kinds of skills so his players can beat their opponents in a different way. I loved the idea that we we can change our approach and be successful using unconventional methods, and I’ve been really getting into the book.
And then today I was watching tv as the sports analysts are all talking about mr Sterling and the racist remarks he made recently that have gotten him banned from the NBA, even though he has owned the LA Clippers basketball team for decades. And on the show I was watching, they opened up by bringing in a guest, Sacramento Kings owner, Vivek Ranadive! And I got all excited because I know him! I went to sleep last night reading about Vivek coaching his daughters basketball team to great success, deciding to implement the full court press so his girls so beat their opponents at running and challenging skills they hadn’t practiced.
So maybe you’re a complete sports buff and if you were reading, when Vivek’s name was first mentioned, you would have made the connection immediately. But I follow running events and watch cross fit games and watch enough football to comment on the Super Bowl, but I don’t know team owners and such. Except today I know and I won’t forget, thanks to Malcolm Gladwell.
Reading is essential. Read a book today.

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