A long-time staff writer for The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell compiles some of his
own favorite articles from 1996 to the present. His unusual curiosity lends itself to getting
inside the minds of others. When he wants to study flavor varieties of ketchup and mustard,
for instance, he doesnít interview hot dog vendors at a baseball game or mothers at the grocery
store, but talks to creators of mustard and ketchup to explore their market analysis and
The book divides these articles into three sections: 1) Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other
Varieties of Minor Genius; 2) Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses; and 3) Personality, Character,
and Intelligence. Other than these three general topics, the selections are not linked by any
central theme. No subject is too obscure or too unimportant to interest Gladwell, and his keen
observations and insight, rather than a particularly engaging writing style, should keep readers
enthralled with most of his stories.
The bookís title comes from a chapter about Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan (written in 2006),
in which the author notes the smooth movements of the dog trainer. In observing Millan handle
difficult dogs and their owners, Gladwell recounts the trainerís "aha" moment when he first drew
a parallel between human and canine behavior. After noticing Millanís perfect posture and
definitive movements, he interviewed Suzi Tortora, a dance-movement psychotherapist, who
comments that Millan moves with a rhythm purposely used to relax an unstable dog. Trying to
envision the dog trainer through canine eyes is a representative example of all the essays
included in What the Dog Saw.
As a best-selling author, Gladwell knows how to hook his readers with an interesting story.
For amateur detectives, armchair psychologists, and detail-oriented readers who want to leave
no stone unturned, these intense examinations of the psychological and sociological aspects of
business will help them see life from a different perspective.