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Comments

ZZ

Yeah, welcome back. I knew I stayed subscribed to this for some reason. Looking forward to being wowed again by your unique insights.

Jon Pender

In your article about profiling you state that Dr. Brussel said that the bomber would be a Slav. However, the name Milauskas is a Lithuanian name which means that the bomber was not a Slav. You describe this a great feat of profiling but in fact Dr. Brussel was incorrect.

Jen Y.

*blink-blink!* Is it really you?

Huzzah! Welcome back.

(Proof that RSS is the best thing since sliced bread, or maybe opposable thumbs.)

Heather Ross

Welcome back, Malcolm. I was so happy to see a post from you pop up in my reader. You have been missed.

WriteBlack

Wow! You're back! Glad to see it.

In re profilers: I've always had the feeling there was a hint of charlatanism about what they do; I'm glad to have that vague sense confirmed.

I'll be very interested to see how actual profilers respond to this piece.

Owen

This article left me a little confused and frankly, seemed one-sided. I'm not debating the hucksteresque nature of profilers. I read one of Douglas's book a while ago (the one in which he's left alone in a cell with Ed Kemper) and remember thinking how general and contradicting profilers' statements seemed.

Where I am concerned is that you seem to be dismissing the practice of studying serial killers at all. One of the points I got out of the story is that you can't base one serial killer's actions on previous serial killers' actions and therefore, the F.B.I shouldn't waste its time interviewing them. Yet don't captured serial killers contain a wealth of information for psychiatrists and hasn't some useful information come from interviewing serial killers? (ala the MacDonald Triad)

Brad Emmons

Malcolm,

I am glad to see you will be blogging again. I will definitely read your next book, as I enjoyed 'Blink' and 'Tipping Point' so much.

I liked the profilers article as well. It was certainly interesting to hear them compared to psychics and other cold readers like John Edward and company. Are there any peer reviewed comprehensive studies of their work that can be quantitatively verified?

Faceman

Welcome back Malcolm! Missed your thought provoking articles. Let's have more

Bill Millios

Glad you're back. I thought you stopped blogging altogether. That would be a huge disappointment.

I look forward to the new book.

Brian Bosworth

Welcome back! Yours are the only books I read in hardback.

Eriko Seto

Welcome back!!
So glad to see your article in the New Yorker again! Also I have been waiting for the on line video, which shows your debate in the New Yorker Festival!

Genius 2012 talk was fantastic! You are the most demanding interviewer now. Did you enjoy the forum at UofW, too?

Dane

Hey,welcome back,Malcolm!Just tip us off a bit on your new book. What's it about? And what's the WORKING TITLE? I don't think it'd constitute a breach of confidentiality agreement with the publishers,or SPOIL your publishing momentum.Fans of yours are so eager to get to know more about you and your project,just don't keep us in the dark any longer,for christ's sake...

Frode Hegland

Sir. Big fan of your word (particularly 'Tipping Point').

Looking forward to the next one and I hear rumors it's about the future of work (at least to some extent)...

What are your views/feelings/positions on interactive words?

We are working on a project that started at University College London, with the aid of Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson and Vint Cerf.

If you have a moment, please have a look at the YouTube video demo. This is quite unlike hand-made links and keyword searches: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXxJMjujjMo

Regards,
Frode Hegland

JOE RIENER

I thought where you were going with the profiler piece was to talk about the tragically wrong profile(s) of the DC area snipers, Malvo and Mohammed. They escaped a police dragnet after one killing, because the police were looking for a single white man. That's what the FBI said to look for. So Mohammed calmly chatted with the police officer at the check point, and then drove off. Several more people were killed. The flim-flam nature of FBI profiling isn't mere a deception. It's certainty, in the case of the DC snipers, led to more death.

KFairfield

Malcolm - welcome back!

Steve - Well done! You managed to work in Malcolm's salary and speaking income....again....I was afraid the streak would be broken.

Jeff

It's not that Sailer doesn't have some points:
It is difficult to believe that car salesmen industry-wide employ tactics that hurt their bottom line.

McArdle did take Gladwell behind the woodshed (though once there she gave him more of a gentle talking to than a beat down).

Political correctness may really have waylaid Summers and Watson.

But to what end this zealotry?

intoku

You kidding? "little break"??

It's been a large one, man!

Thanks for coming back, I'll read you again.

Best,
Intoku.

Dr John McGowan

Good to have you back and with the treat of another book to come. Wonderful.

The article about criminal profilers so interesting. Its likely to be controversial I feel though. Really its recognising that this art/science whatever you want to call it is right up there with the worst kind of woo woo (in the James Randi sense). Interesting that one of the profilers was almost accepting a label of being psychic. It makes you wonder how many charlatans out there genuinely believe their own shtick.

The problem inherent in this kind of profiling is that is falls into a trap of extrapolating back from one case and making generalization. Even legitimate forensic psychologists and psychiatrists in "real" research often look at the features of a a convicted criminal and start to point to "types". The central problem is, or course, that there may be a whole bunch of people in the general population who share many of the same features and may never do anything. Of course the people in your article who interviewed serial killers used an even lamer methodology. Its a seductive trap though. The public and the newspapers to it all the time. And of course Sylvia Browne and her ilk still ride high!

Jackie

First time I have come to your blog. The people who read your blog are pretty brown-nosy. Bit of a turn off.

Anyway, I'd tell you to keep up the good work but I'll take a pass this time.

debbie millman

Welcome back! We missed you!

Fernando Pitarello

Welcome back Malcolm!

For those interested in MG's new book, please follow the link below.

http://www.kottke.org/07/11/malcolm-gladwells-new-book-on-the-workplace-of-the-future

Sarah

New book!? Can't wait!

mack

What's the subject of your new book and when can we expect it?

David Fein

The recent Brooklyn shooting (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/13/nyregion/14shootingcnd.html?hp) begs the question of why NYPD and other law enforcement has not incorporated the lessons of "Blink." I would be interested to hear your take on how the insight contained in your book can translated into life-saving policies on the ground.

twangster

Interesting article ... I'm wondering if the conclusion to be drawn is that so far criminal profilers haven't come up with anything valid or that successful criminal profiling is not possible.

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  • I'm a writer for the New Yorker magazine, and the author of four books, "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference", "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" and "Outliers: The Story of Success." My latest book, "What the Dog Saw" is a compilation of stories published in The New Yorker. I was born in England, and raised in southwestern Ontario in Canada. Now I live in New York City.

    My great claim to fame is that I'm from the town where they invented the BlackBerry. My family also believes (with some justification) that we are distantly related to Colin Powell. I invite you to look closely at the photograph above and draw your own conclusions.

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