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Here I will share some inspiring thoughts with you as I try to learn about the world around me and together we will nut out the workings of the world to help us with the coaching process of continually looking for a better path.

Why I love Malcolm Gladwell's writing and how we can use it to inspire our coaching

I have been listening to the audiobook by Malcolm Gladwell, Talking to Strangers, his most recent book to date, and I am enthralled by the workings of his mind and his method of research. I have managed to binge on this with a commitment unparalleled by any of Netflix's offerings.

Why do I love Gladwell's writing so much? Because he moves from one topic to another and then circumnavigates back round to his original thesis all in the one chapter, mimicking the way the brain works, off on a tangent one moment then back on track the next. Although all of his side-tracks are relative and informative he comes padding back to the main track, so this stimulates thought and keeps the reader or listener interested in his original train of thought. I find this fascinating but also reaffirming as this is what I do in my conversations and on my podcasts, so I felt immediately connected to Gladwell and not only found him relatable but also rigorous and entertaining.  His book reads like a thriller, a who done it with hooks to read on, to see how one element relates to the other. We want to understand just as much as he does in the why's of this world, just like coaching, we must be curious to advance forward and just as in life, we digress and explore but we come back to our point of focus with discipline to help inform our original concepts and structure gives way to flexibility making us agile and prepared to change strategies if we need to.

We can see his Gladwell's original conundrum and then his method of research to source the answer for his readers and I find that intellectually stimulating, fun and fulfilling.  And I can't find another author who I am currently enjoying more. There is no fluff, no unnecessary words for descriptive purposes, but there is loads of logic, trust in us readers and cohesion and I am grateful for it all.

His arm of queries is long and substantial, his mind is alert and fertile, his brain beguiling, just like an episode of Goosebumps would be for kids, his stories take a twist and turn at every avenue and opens to a vista unthought of by me but which takes me to the 30,000 ft view and this is what a good coach does. They shake up our preconceived concepts and asks us to question ourselves, to not take our position for granted but to earn the respect of our readers and for me Gladwell does this through his rigorous yet light-hearted touch.  

Gladwell overdelivers naturally precisely because he is curious. He is satisfying his own inquiry and like all good students of life, the more we learn the more we realise we don't know, so he's constantly exploring broadly, then deeply. Many of us give up too early before we reach this stage but not Gladwell, he delivers thought and story crisply wrapped in perseverance. He insists on reaching the truth of the matter to satisfy him, he knows that one person's truth is not necessarily another's but you have the sense that he has satisfied his own curiosity and that is intoxicating. Being tenacious and provoking, yet kind, considered and above all curious are the most valuable tools we can possess.

As far as investigative journalism goes Malcolm Gladwell is today's finest, he's prolific as he writes books which become NY Times bestsellers and is a staff writer for the New Yorker. Yet, perhaps I like him best for his use of theatricality in his short vignettes umbrellaed under his one overarching question. His genius lies in digging into the mind of the stranger and dismantling any preconceived stereotypes that we may have had, by dismissing our urge to be generalists and to dig deep by taking the time to engage. Gladwell's writings can't be droning on in the background whilst multi-tasking he asks that we be present to his thoughts and awake to a broader way of viewing the world and for this I prioritise Malcolm Gladwell's work.

Authenticity is another tool we can take from his repertoire balanced by an unbiased hand. He is the outlier in an industry vying for our short attention span with stories half-told based on hearsay. Gladwell throughly researches his subjects, and has used original sound recordings of interviews and court trials when he's able. He has music and atmosphere in his audiobook that reminds me of Orwell's War of the Worlds by the sheer commitment to that radioplay by it's listeners. I myself find I hang on Gladwell's every word.


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