Gladwell, when he is wrong, creates a tsunami of wrong
If you’re interested in how Gladwell creates these tsunamis, check out this article in Psychology Today. Personally, I think the backlash against Gladwell is a little much. Yeah, he could be more careful when constructing his overviews of scientific research, but if he were too careful he would be boring to read and the general public would stop reading. If he became a boring writer, the public would know no more about social science than they did before Gladwell. The problem isn’t Gladwell; the problem originates in a reading public who doesn’t have the time or interest in reading nuanced scientific studies with findings based on probabilistic outcomes. Gladwell has just figured out the best way to write about scientific research for this audience.