When I picked up the new book titled: “What The Dog Saw – And Other Adventures”, by Malcolm Gladwell, I was not expecting to find anything in it about the Cubs. Far from it.
“What the Dog Saw” consists of the author’s favorite articles from among those he has published in “The New Yorker” magazine, where he is a staff writer, since 1996.
The title of the book, “What The Dog Saw”, is taken from a piece Mr. Gladwell wrote about Cesar Millan (aka “The Dog Whisperer”) back in May of 2006, titled “What the Dog Saw – Cesar Millan and the Movements of Mastery”. It was the knowledge that this article was included which drew me to the Gladwell book.
I have had an interest in dogs, and more recently in Cesar Millan, for some time now. As a matter of fact, in some canine circles I’m known as “The DoggieDude”. I was The DoggieDude before I was The CubbieDude.
I enjoyed reading about topics as varied as: Mr. Popeil’s Gadgets, Ketchup vs. Mustard, Investment Strategies, Hair Dyes, the Birth Control Pill, the Kinesiology of Cesar Millan, Enron, Homelessness, Radiographic Interpretation, Plagiarism, and Connecting The Dots in the first eleven articles.
(The Ketchup vs. Mustard article (titled: “The Ketchup Cunundrum”) sheds light on the condiment discussion which Joe started recently.)
Then I innocently began reading the twelfth article, titled: “The Art of Failure – Why Some People Choke and Others Panic”. Mr. Gladwell describes the psychological studies of “performance under pressure”, and cites examples from tennis & golf tournaments, scuba diving accidents, & fatal aircraft piloting events, in his analysis of the art of failure.
And it dawned on me that, although this article was published in August of 2000, I was reading a detailed description of exactly what happened to the Chicago Cubs during the postseason of 2008.
It gave me no pleasure to be reminded of those three games then, and it gives me no pleasure to bring them up again now. But at least I have a better understanding of the mechanisms of what occurred in October, 2008.
Mr. Gladwell closes his article with the only thing you can say: “I feel horrible about what happened. I’m so sorry.”
Note: Malcolm Gladwell’s book: “What The Dog Saw” seems to be available in two different cover designs. I chose the more interesting design to accompany this review.
Additional Note: All of the previously published articles in “What The Dog Saw” are available and can be read free of charge on Malcolm Gladwell’s own website: gladwell.com, listed under “The New Yorker Archive”