I finished Malcolm Gladwell’s “What the Dog Saw” today. I sat down yesterday and really started it, and before I knew it, I was over halfway through it. This is a lesson I should have learned long ago: from “The Grapes of Wrath” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”, both remarkable books that I struggled to start, but then devoured.
Which isn’t to say that Gladwell’s latest collection of articles is on par with these classics of modern literature. It is a different beast entirely and would be like making the proverbial “apples to oranges” comparison.
On its own merits, “What the Dog Saw” is engaging, interesting, and most of all, accessible. It doesn’t pander to the lowest common denominator, but it does make complicated subjects easily understood. One such example of this is the description of the expose on Enron. The much maligned corporation had more than its share of problems, and Malcolm presents these in a straightforward manner that is not only comprehensible, but fascinating as well.
The collection does suffer a bit from a lack of cohesiveness; subjects of the essays appear to be only tangentially related to one another. However, with the understanding that this is a collection of Gladwell’s work at “The New Yorker” this is easily overcome, and taken at face value, “What the Dog Saw” offers some fascinating insights into things you might not normally take the time or effort to consider.