Monday, February 17, 2014

Snowy Day Reminiscing: We're Glad to Have Met Malcolm Gladwell!!

At the end of January, your Boswellians had an extraordinary evening with a brilliant, successful, handsome man. No, this is not a post-Valentine's Day tale of romance: this is our post-event recap on last month's Malcolm Gladwell event! Thanks to all of the lovely attendees, to our Honorary Boswellian Jess, our Honorary Boswellians from the UWM Bookstore, and the esteemed and engaging Mr. Malcolm Gladwell. 

Your Boswellians and the one and only Malcolm Gladwell. Left to right: Jen, Jannis, Terrail, Malcolm Gladwell, Mel, Daniel, and Honorary Boswellian Jess!

Here's what Boswellian Terrail had to say about the event: 

The Malcolm Gladwell event was my first that was an offsite, which I think was an incomparable introduction! I was able to actually hang out with Gladwell and assist him with signing the mountainous collection of books stacked in front of us in under an hour. I believe his record is 1,500 books in 1.5 hours! After getting all of his books signed, I was able to take a picture with him before he took the stage. After making sure there were no immediate duties to attend to until after the event, I began roaming around the Zelazo Center. From the upstairs balcony I surveyed the engaged audience then converged with them into cognition. There were many great points of discussion beyond the book itself. One of the most resonating parts of Gladwell's monologue was his conclusive bottom-line where he spoke: "If you deny a person legitimacy, they will eventually rise up and defeat you". I can attest to this having gone through my entire life as a David with obscured resources. You can also ask anyone who has overcome the odds pit against them from an array of different circumstances. It is important to note that all it takes is one or a few to break down a proverbial barrier, so that the rest of us become witnesses. It allows us to recognize and expound, not only on the particular feat at hand, but yet position ourselves in the path to the other undiscovered possibilities out there. Anyway, when the event was over, I was fully charged. As if in my 2nd adolescence, I posted the picture Gladwell and I had taken onto Facebook where I received dozens of likes. All and all, it was a really cool experience. Im looking forward to the next one!

Here's that photo--"like" away!!

Terrail and Malcolm become best friends.

And here's what Honorary Boswellian Jess had to say about the event: 

So, recently I got to work the Malcolm Gladwell signing as an “Honorary Boswellian.” Which actually means Daniel got an extra bookslave at no extra cost! (pause for laughter) Really, though, I was in good company and I got off easy. I gave a little of my time to some awesome people and in trade, I was able to stand RIIIIIIIGHT NEXT to MALCOLM GLADWELL…for SEVERAL minutes!!! I am still geeking out about it.

I started reading Malcolm Gladwell as a psychology student in college. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking was assigned reading and it was the first non-fiction book I actually enjoyed. I read it in about 3 days. And it changed my life. Gladwell’s insights into the how’s and why’s we (as humans, a society, a culture, etc.) perceive, process and interact with the world around us continue to fascinate me. His ability to write about things that can be quite dry and clinical in a conversational and engaging manner is astounding. He can draw in any reader (and probably some non-readers, too) and he can hold them til the end. Not surprisingly, he is able to talk about his ideas and his books in an equally engaging way. For this event, he was in a huge auditorium (the Zelazo Center on the UWM Campus, which used to be a synagogue!) with some 800 people and he was able to easily fill the space with his personality.

You could hear a pin drop. 
He drew the audience in from the beginning with his exuberance and held everyone’s rapt attention for two hours. He was masterful, animated, engrossing, well-spoken and witty. He is the kind of speaker that anyone would enjoy listening to, whether or not you are interested in what he’s talking about.

It was thrilling to see. It was equally thrilling to stand next to him afterward, and watch him interact with gushing fans while he signed and personalized books. He was a man transformed. After the curtain falls, Malcolm Gladwell is this soft-spoken, gracious, seemingly shy man of genius. And he is the FASTEST book signer in the world. Seriously. Four hands could not collect, open and position books fast enough. He would be the quickest draw in the west, hands down. If you haven’t read any of his stuff, do it. NOW. It might not be Blink for you, but something he wrote will hook you in and make you see the universe differently. Malcolm Gladwell will change your life, too. And you’ll be glad he did!

You really get a sense of the speed at which Gladwell signs in this photo. 
Suffice it to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with my inner bookseller and I am honored to have been brought into the fold for a night. Thank you, actual Boswellians (and especially Daniel), for allowing me to tag along and fangirl out on the Malcolm Gladwell event. It was an evening I’ll never forget!

Larry and Mo--what salesmen!

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