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Malcolm Gladwell, the Canadian writer and best-selling author of The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers, is renowned for making complex ideas in behavioral economics and social psychology relevant and captivating to broad audiences. In his Masterclass on research and writing, he stresses the importance of critical reading as part and parcel to any great writer’s process:

The way to keep your reader in mind as a writer is first and foremost to be a reader. And when I say that, I don’t just mean someone who reads, but I mean someone who takes the task of reading seriously.

In addition to his prolific output as an author, journalist, public speaker and podcaster, Gladwell makes a point of endorsing written works he finds especially enthralling. Compiled from interviews, tweets and his penchant for book blurbs, read on for a list of books recommended by Malcolm Gladwell.


Drunk Tank Pink by Adam Alter

“A really provocative look at how much our behavior is contextually determined.” -MG

Irresistible by Adam Alter

“As if to prove his point, Adam Alter has written a truly addictive book about the rise of addiction.” -MG

A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

“It is a beautiful and elegant account of an ordinary man’s unexpected and reluctant descent into heroism during the second world war.” -MG

Just Kids by Patti Smith (also rec’d by Annie ClarkCarrie Brownstein, Florence Welch & Marina Abramovic)

“I finished it in one sitting, then wept. It’s that good.” -MG

Strangers to Ourselves by Timothy D. Wilson

“One of the loveliest, most insightful books about social psychology that I ever read.” -MG

Merchant Princes by Leon A. Harris

“It’s about immigrants; it’s about people figuring out and then conquering an unfamiliar marketplace; it’s about all of the brilliant ideas that came to these guys as they invented the department store.” -MG

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

The Big Short by Michael Lewis

“One of the best business books of the past two decades.” -MG

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis

“Supposedly about football (the title refers to the side of the field a quarterback is blind to), it’s actually an extraordinary story about love and redemption.” -MG

Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession by Janet Malcolm

“I reread Malcolm’s ‘Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession’ just to remind myself how nonfiction is supposed to be done.” -MG

The Person and the Situation by Richard Nisbett and Lee Ross

“It offers a way of re-ordering ordinary experience. It argues that when we perceive the actions and intentions of others, we tend to make mistakes. We see things that aren’t there and we make predictions that we ought not to make: we privilege the ‘person’ and we discount the influence of the ‘situation.’ It speaks, in short, to the very broadest questions of human perception.” -MG

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

“This book invented an entire genre. Economics was never supposed to be this entertaining.” -MG

The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin

“I realize that there are thousands of business books on the subject, but, trust me, this is the first to really answer the question.” -MG

Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do by Tom Vanderbilt

“I kept waiting for the moment when my interest in congestion and roads would run its course. It never did.” -MG

Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child

Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb

Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Made Man by Garry Wills

“A classic from the early ’70s by one of the great political writers of his time. Written just before Richard Nixon resigned, it’s as devastating a portrait of him as has ever been written.” -MG

In Defense of a Liberal Education by Fareed Zakaria

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin

(via Business Insider & The New York Times)

Categories: Authors

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