The Discussion I Should’ve Had with Malcolm Gladwell

by bxrtley

Dear Mr. Malcolm,

I’m about 3/4 through David & Goliath and I must say, I wish I read it before I saw you two weeks ago. Our unexpected post-discussion meeting at the corner of 4 Ave/14th St would’ve been more enriching. You already know this, but you have a gift of connecting events and ideas to reveal a truth, dispel a myth or just plain discover something new. I believe it takes a certain level of awareness to find these connections. I call them What Are The Odds of That moments. WATOT’s.

Your Synchronous Ability

You remind me of a pop science version of Matthew Quick. You probably read his book, The Good Luck of Right Now. You both are aware of the connectivities in life. He’s calls it synchronicity. But his is more reflective. And that’s just as gripping. But you? You go on a witch hunt to find these moments. It’s your life’s work.

Each event, person, thought, decision is connected to a wire, which is connected to another event, person, thought, decision in the past, present or future. These tension wires that create this complex web of life seem so easy for you to spot, research and express.

The Ferguson Riots and Your Wyatt Walker Chapter

I have a certain level of awareness to synchronicity too. As you already know, the Ferguson, Missouri riots and demonstrations occurred this week and the pressure hasn’t let up. What are the odds that the very next chapter I read in your book is Chapter Six: Wyatt Walker?

It’s where you deal with the cunning underdog demonstrations of the Civil Rights Movement. Ferguson is having those very demonstrations right now. And reading this chapter with that powerful cover image of a Birmingham, Alabama K9 cop dog lunging at a kid in a demonstration, coupled with previously seeing the photos of Ferguson, Missouri’s K9s, glass shields, batons and tear gas are a bit too coincidental.

So, what to make of the connections?

First of all, it begs the question, ‘What has really changed since Birmingham?’ For starters, there are more whites protesting with blacks. One white woman even got shot with a bean bag, leaving a beet red bruise on her belly.

I suppose the next question is ‘What’s this generation going to do about it?’ Shuttlesworth, King and Wyatt weren’t old and holding up signs. They were cunning underdogs. Brer Rabbits. Strategizing and mobilizing.

Here’s a bonus synchronicity moment for you

I’m working on creating an antihero initiative. Yesterday I had an ambitious thought of developing the world’s largest antihero library. What are the odds that this chapter is the first place you mention the word heroes.

So I wonder when you referred to leaders of the Civil Rights Movement as ‘trickster heroes’, if they could actually be considered antiheroes. And if that’s the case, then I think you’ve just opened a new side of antiheroism for me to delve into.

Don’t worry, I’m not a stalker. Unless you need one. But you’d have to pay me. In all seriousness, your work is truly transformative. And while people may dwindle and dilute your findings or re-discovervies to something like the “10,000-hour rule” your work still manages to change lives. Kudos. I’m sure the rest of the book won’t disappoint.