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I read Gladwell's review in that nice floppy New Yorker magazine that comes to my house every week, and it struck me as a pretty effective demolition. So when I stumbled on this site tonight and realized that it's the blog that goes with that book, I had to see if there was any kind of rebuttal. And there is, I see, a kind of rebuttal -- a nice example that comes with a smiley face, not a bad counter to one quibbly point that Gladwell made and spiked with underhanded praise, but it's paltry stuff to pass off as part of "an intellectual debate." What you were dealing with is a cogent review from a fine writer who you claim to like and admire. Wouldn't that be a good opportunity to clarify and explain your own thinking and show that you can carry on a real debate? Other commenters, including Ian Betteridge and Ernest, brought up some of Gladwell's more serious and telling points. And you did respond to Ernest, to say that (a) you chose to respond only to one "particularly parochial" point in the review, (b) YouTube's not losing that much money, really, and (c) your site is getting the same kind of traffic, maybe, as the New Yorker. Woo-hoo! That's putting smarty-pants Malcolm in his place! I mean, I assume that Gladwell's piece doesn't do full justice to your book, that he did some picking and choosing of what parts to pay attention to, and that there is a good response to some of the main criticisms he made. But fwiw (and it can't be worth buried down here at the bitter-end tail of the thread, and of course who the hell am I, anyway?), the general impression I got was that Free was written by a fluent but mushy-headed hype-meister, and based on this post and thread that seems about right.
Toggle Commented Nov 28, 2009 on Dear Malcolm: Why so threatened? at The Long Tail
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Nov 27, 2009