Malcom Gladwell on Human Nature

This is a fascinating speech by Malcom Gladwell.

Often, what people say, know and feel can be wildly divergent.

Malcolm explores why we can’t trust people’s opinions — because we don’t have the language to express our feelings. His examples include the story of New Coke and how Coke’s market research misled them, and the development of Herman-Miller’s Aeron chair, the best-selling chair in the history of office chairs, which succeeded in spite of research that suggested it would fail.

Gladwell goes to show how preferences are inherently unstable. Unless there is some heavy and known factor to influence decisions, very often people can’t express what they want or what makes them happy.

This can also tell us one thing or two about democracy. A vote is the expression of an opinion with little to no weight, an aesthetical act subject to the same wild swings of fashion.

But go ahead and listen to it. You should find it interesting.

If you don’t have the time to spare, here is a quick overview:


(Shamelessly stolen from here)


2 comments so far

  1. Rebecca on

    Oh yes, I remember reading about this in his book Blink, a good read.

  2. Rust Paint : on

    office chairs that are made of steel and leather are the best stuff that you can use on your office~;:

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