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What’s the big idea?

Crowdsourcing, nudging and mass collaborating jostled eagerly. But was 2008 a vintage year for ideas books? It was a mixed bag—and perhaps not serious enough

By James Harkin   January 2009

For one night in November, fans of The Lion King were kept out of London’s west end. Instead, the hip and attractive gathered to pay homage to a skinny man with eccentric hair: Malcolm Gladwell, the Lion King of idea-entrepreneurs.

Gladwell, the bestselling author of The Tipping Point and Blink, had flown in from New York to talk about his latest book, Outliers. The book debunks the idea of genius, by arguing that circumstances and culture are at least as important as talent in determining who succeeds.

Gladwell’s thesis is unlikely to trouble the Nobel committee, but his asides…

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