Sumner's Slump, The Music Industry's New Tact

cityfile · 12/19/08 12:09PM

• Tough times for Sumner Redstone: His debt issues haven't been resolved, he's feuding with his daughter, and he's a lot poorer, too. Once worth $8 billion, "today it is questionable as to whether he is worth even $1 billion." [NYT]
• It's about five years too late, but the music industry has finally decided to stop wasting its time suing people who download music illegally. [WSJ]
• A few predictions of what's in store for the movie biz in 2009. [THR]
• Fox Business is mocking CNBC again; this time it's via a TV ad. [HP]
• Further evidence that Malcolm Gladwell has reached his tipping point. [BG]
• Mark Felt, the man better known as Deep Throat, is dead at 95. [WaPo]

Pilot Warns Of 'Reckless' Malcolm Gladwell

Ryan Tate · 12/05/08 04:43AM

Malcolm Gladwell's fellow intellectuals, bloggers and Canadians were the first to turn against the New Yorker essayist's accessible and apparently all-too-convincing ideas; now the various professional classes are, one after another, joining the backlash against his DANGEROUSLY misleading anecdotes. Fearsome reviewer Michiko Kakutani was brutal in the Times ("glib, poorly reasoned and thoroughly unconvincing"); the Malcolm Gladwell of computer programmers rather ironically ripped into him ("utterly lunatic theories"); and now a pilot writing in Salon warns that Gladwell will kill us all! Or at least perpetuate untrue stereotypes, false assumptions and incorrect statistics around commercial airline safety, which is almost as dangerous, if you'll grant us some Gladwellian license here. Take, for example, this exchange:

Malcolm Gladwell Gets TV Ads; Your Book Won't

Sheila · 11/25/08 05:58PM

Everyone knows that New Yorker writer and Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell is an expert self-promoter. He's rolled out quite the campaign for his latest book, Outliers: webcasts, doing TV appearances on the CBS Evening News, CNN and the Colbert Report, speaking everywhere, etc. But we just saw a television ad for his book on MSNBC, which is unusual for nonficton—the only other TV ads for books we can think of are for potboiler novels, not books by "counterintuitive pop business theorists." Remember, most authors are lucky to get the promotion budget for a five-city book tour at most—and forget about a fun release party. Click to watch one more reason to start creating "You the Brand"!

Nate Silver To Become The Next Malcolm Gladwell

Hamilton Nolan · 11/14/08 01:29PM

Our friend Nate Silver is already making canny career moves! The baseball stat superfan-turned political pollster blew everybody's mind by calling the presidential election results down to a tenth of a percent. We advised him to pursue a career in corporate consulting in order to become a wealthy power player who works for the forces of good. Well he didn't start "Silver Consulting" just yet, but he is positioning himself to become the next Malcolm Gladwell-esque overpaid business idea guru. Just as good!: The Observer breaks the news that you will soon be able to buy Nate's book(s)!

Gladwell Hates Midtown, Loves $80K Speaking Fees

cityfile · 11/10/08 09:27AM

Malcolm Gladwell has a new book coming out next month, have you heard? Outliers, for which Little, Brown reportedly paid $4 million, may be his most ambitious book or his least, according to New York, which takes a look at the cult of Gladwell in this week's issue. Among the things that you may be surprised to hear: The "rock-star" staff writer at The New Yorker has an "aversion to midtown" (which is where the Condé Nast-owned title happens to be located), but the magazine happily uses a courier service to correspond with him.

The Price Of A Fashionable Wife

Moe · 09/09/08 12:20PM

Somewhere out there is a budding female public intellectual destined to marry an embarrassingly oversharey lifestyle magazine editor1 who dribbles out in monthly editor's letters the grotesquely bourgeois details of their life, providing endless gossip fodder to media workers frustrated in their own loveless (if not as literal!) marriages to the consumerism bankrolling their profession. Until then, however, we will have to be satisfied with the likes former Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner, whose wife shares their home life with the readers of the New York Times—and smartypants Jacob Weisberg. The Slate group editor sleeps on a horsehair mattress covered in "beautiful heavy linen" and sheets from a special shop in London, all of which we know because his wife, Domino editor-in-chief Deborah Needleman, told Fashion Week Daily in excruciating detail (click thumb for a closeup) about the marital bed. By the way, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell introduced the couple! (Hey Gladwell, anyone ever tell you you were a "connector"?)

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 09/03/08 06:10AM

Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink and staff writer at The New Yorker, turns 45 today. Others celebrating: Novelist Kiran Desai is 37, famed editor Gary Fisketjon is 54, and advertising guru Bryan Buckley is 45. Writer/director Noah Baumbach is 39. Charlie Sheen is turning 45. Former VJ and now Web personality Adam Curry is 44. And Arianna Huffington's right-wing ex-husband, Michael Huffington, is 61 today.

Is The Bad Economy Killing The Business Meme?

Michael Weiss · 07/21/08 04:24PM

There's no time like a recession to reassert the conventional economic wisdom that making money is harder than those guys on cable pretend. Viral marketing was huge in the mid-90's before the dotcom bubble burst and everyone realized that eyeballs didn't necessarily translate into dollars. It was only a matter of time before the next crop of counterintuitive pop business theorists — from Malcolm Gladwell to James Surowiecki to Chris Anderson — were doused with the cold waters of cash flow. What's so interesting about this latest cycle of backlash and disillusionment, though, is that the assailants are almost all former apostles turned heretics. After the jump, the spats and surprisingly friendly debates about whether the new memes of trendsetting will remain trendy for very long.

Please Welcome the Malcolm Gladwell Backlash

Pareene · 07/01/08 11:27AM

Malcolm Gladwell, blogger, New Yorker contributor, and poofy haired airport bookstore genius-in-residence, is finishing up his latest book just in time for the nascent backlash against him to reach full force. Gladwell's book The Tipping Point introduced his now-famous style: gleefully retold anecdotes arranged and analyzed to support some slightly unlikely sounding thesis. Blink took this style even further, presenting even more disparate stories manipulated to 'prove' some pseudo-scientific CEO self-help method for improving your decision-making skills. But both books sold zillions of copies and even embittered east coast writerly types still seemed to like him. Now, on the eve of his next book's publication, the cracks are starting to show.

Malcolm Gladwell Buys West Village Walkup

cityfile · 06/16/08 07:23AM

Wild-haired journo-celeb Malcolm Gladwell has gone into contract on a 900-square-foot, two-bedroom, walk-up in the Village. The 23 Bank Street co-op, which had an asking price of $1.4 million, is located inside an 1850s townhouse and features a skylight, two decorative marble fireplaces, and a renovated kitchen. But he appears to be downsizing a bit. In 2005, he sold his Tribeca apartment for $1.9 million and decamped to a rental in the Village. So is he now hunkering down given the turbulence in the real estate market or suggesting the downturn has reached its tipping point. Let us know, MG. In the meantime, photos of Gladwell's new pad follow after the jump.

Gladwell's New Book Will Make You Feel Inferior

Pareene · 05/19/08 02:17PM

Here are the details on the upcoming book by zeitgeist-seizer Malcolm Gladwell, America's Favorite Wacky-Haired Pop Scientician: it will be called Outliers and it's about people who are better than you. Why they're better than you, how they're better than you, and what circumstances led them to being so extraordinary. "Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band." There will be visits to eccentric geniuses doing eccentric things and lots of anecdotes about the peculiarities of the famously successful. It will end up on the desk of every goddamn corporate exec in the nation. We won't read it but we'll complain about it relentlessly. [Kottke] UPDATE: Gladwell's thesis, revealed below!

'Wall Street Journal' Ranks the First Five Against the Wall

Pareene · 05/05/08 10:08AM

The Wall Street Journal's "Careers" column today measures the influence of business gurus. Using a complicated metric involving "googling people" and also "looking people up in Nexis," they have determined and ranked the most influential business thinkers in the universe. Number one is some dude named Gary Hamel who writes terrible books your boss probably reads, if you work for an asshole. BUT: the second-most-influential business thinker in the world is Thomas fucking Friedman, which is probably why we're in a recession. He has a new book out this summer! It's called Hot, Flat and Crowded, which is clearly something a made-up cab driver said to him about India. [WSJ]

Journalistic Perversity Continues

Pareene · 04/09/08 10:49AM

Canadian celebrity journalist Malcolm Gladwell got in a bit of trouble recently for telling an embellished story about sneaking a funny phrase into the Washington Post. Canadian less-famous journalist Clive Thompson recently received a minuscule amount of press for admitting that he's jealous of Gladwell. This, Clive, is not the healthiest way to work through those feelings: "These tools raise a fascinating, and queasy, new ethical question." [SilverJacket]

Malcolm Gladwelling at The Post

ian spiegelman · 03/29/08 02:18PM

Super-famous New Yorker writer and liar Malcolm Gladwell isn't the only reporter who tried to sneak funny bits of prose into his articles for a respected newspaper. (Except didn't he not do that? I'm confused.) Anyhoo, it's a fun old game to play, and we used to play it Page Six. My fellow former Sixer Chris Wilson and I used to daydream about getting the term "Bukkake Bandit" onto the page, which, in 2003/2004, was no easy trick. In fact, it never even got past Richard Johnson. Another crusade was to get the Google definition of Senator Rick Santorum's name into the Post back when that was still new and fun.

When Is Malcolm Gladwell To Be Believed?

Nick Denton · 03/26/08 03:19PM

Jeff Bercovici's deleted blog post on the tussles between fellow Conde Nast writer, Malcolm Gladwell, and the fact-checkers-has reappeared again. Apparently, it wasn't so much censored as benched, pending additional reporting. So, what has Bercovici's additional reporting uncovered? Gladwell, author of anecdotally rich best-sellers such as The Tipping Point, now denies ignoring a fact-checker's warnings at the New Yorker, where he is a contributor. That would be the end of it, except Gladwell's credibility is shot. The pop science writer boasts that he inserts nonsense into articles for his own amusement, but Gladwell is inaccurate even in regard to his inaccuracies. His denial might be a denial; or it could just be another elaborate prank within a prank.

In Defense Of Malcolm Gladwell?

Rebecca · 03/21/08 09:23AM

If the internet has any effect on Malcolm Gladwell's psyche, the dude has had a rough week. His tall tale about Jayson Blair reporting, which was first deemed offensive for being true, was later deemed even more offensive for not being true. Added to that, The New Republic recently called him an idiot . New Yorker fact checkers are claiming that Gladwell tends to exaggerate for rhetorical effect. But some people, including me, think Gladwell is quite smart. Other people, not including me, think these charges of false story telling are ludicrous. What do you think? Does the public have a right to be outraged about this? Or has James Frey turned us into bitter, bitter hags? Poll after the jump.

Jack Shafer Exposes Malcolm Gladwell's Lies About Lying

Rebecca · 03/20/08 10:00AM

Remember when I freaked out that Malcolm Gladwell, the most successful pop-non-fiction writer of our time, was bragging about pulling pranks at the Washington Post? And remember how I was further irked that Gladwell was lying about lying? And remember how Pareene was like seriously, Rebecca, this is tired? Actually, you might not remember that, because it was a private conversation we had. But Slate media critic Jack Shafer thinks it's interesting.