Monday, November 28, 2011

Dinner with Malcolm Gladwell, how could I refuse?

Tonight was a chance to attend a very small event at the Vancouver Club with the Bon Mot Book Club.
Malcolm Gladwell poses a provocative question: Why do some people succeed,living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reachtheir full potential?
The night was a gathering of about 20 EO members and started with a cocktail reception before we moved to a beautiful room with a majestic and massive old wood table where Malcolm sat at the head of the table, silhouetted by the grand fireplace burning behind him.
The setting was very informal, and moved along with a series of Q&A style dialogue. Malcolm was generous with his answers and insight into a host of different topics. I was impressed at "hearing" how complex his mind thinks aboutwhat can seem to be trivial topics.
One topic was on overcrowding in class rooms and the effect on education. He argued teachers should be paid like any other professional based on the quality of their product, in this case how well their students learned and were engaged. "If we added more teachers and lowered the amount of children per classroom, we are only allowing more teachers who are on the bottom of thebarrel into the system. Do you want your child to be in a smaller classroom with a bad teacher or being taught by a great teacher and forget about the size of the class?"
To our amazement, Malcolm began talking about his yet-to-be-published next book. It was so interesting to hear that he has some of the ideas and chapters fleshed out, but the remainder of the book has yet to appear for him. He is living in LA and doing research and waiting for the results to appear.
If you are not familiar with Malcolm Gladwell's work - have a look here.