Midway down the intellectual food chain…

The Black Swan was one of those little books that have done so well in recent years. The Tipping Point is another. If you pass through airports, you know them well. They all contain one big idea that is revealed entirely through colorful anecdotes in however many pages you can read on the average flight from Chicago to New York. They provide just enough intellectual substance to place them slightly above a Vanity Fair article in the intellectual food chain, perfect for regurgitation at cocktail parties and in your more ambitious suburban book clubs. Which doesn’t, of course, mean that they don’t contain some interesting and useful ideas.

That is David Rothkopf writing in his new Foreign Policy blog. Before seeing him speak, I imagined his book, Superclass, would serve the same (admittedly tasty) mashed potatoes as Malcolm Gladwell. What I got was one of the most superbly entertaining and intelligent discussions of 2008. His new blog is doubtless worth checking out.

2 thoughts on “Midway down the intellectual food chain…

  1. I enjoyed the Black Swan, it seemed to confirm some of my suspicions about Econometrics. To me these books contribute more to the discourse than most technical papers that only get read by a few people, who most times do not understand the statistics anyway but have to act like they do.

  2. Conflating the Black Swan with Gladwell makes me much less likely to read Rothkopf – either the mark of sloppy writing or poor comprehension.

    I guess I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt given your recommendation.