Thursday, March 1, 2012

How Malcolm Gladwell finds ideas

People ask writers how they find ideas all the time. I always thought it was a reasonable question, so I was pleased to learn that these pros apparently think so too.


Malcolm Gladwell being interviewed by Daniel Ariely on

So the first thing I want to ask you is: How do you pick your topics?

Gladwell: I don’t really know — I mean, desperation? … I see things and I collect them, and I think they might be interesting. But there’s no theory or system. I go to the library sometimes, and I just sort of roam around; or I go on the databases and I just type in things at random, or I get articles and read through the bibliography…. But there’s no rhyme or reason. Someone will say something to me interesting, and I’ll follow up on it or something. To be a writer I think you’re kind of constitutionally disposed toward optimism.

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