Catch The Message

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One of my favorite authors is New York Times bestseller Malcolm Gladwell. I received his second book BLINK as a birthday gift several years ago and since then I have been addicted. I have all his books and I study them meticulously whenever I get a chance. Ironically, the last Gladwell book I read was THE TIPPING POINT…ironic because that was actually the first ever book he wrote. But like all his others it gave me a powerful understanding on what makes ideas and businesses tip towards success. While reading page 163 of the book, I stumbled upon something peculiar…it was the part where Gladwell was describing how people can create the illusion of consistent character by controlling their environment. See if you can find what I stumbled upon below:

The reason that most of us seem to have a consistent character is that most of us are really good at controlling our environment. I have a lot of fun at dinner parties. As I result, I throw a lot of dinner parties and my friends see me there and think that I’m fun. But if I couldn’t have lots of dinner parties, if my friends instead tended to see me in lots of different situations over which I had little or no control – like, say, faced with four hostile youths in a filthy, broken-down subway – they probably wouldn’t think of me as fun anymore. -excerpt page 163 The Tipping Point

Did you see it? Read it one more time.

You probably would have spotted that the phrase “As I result” should have read “As a result.” This is an actual grammatical error by Gladwell. Somehow he missed it, the editors missed it, the publishers missed and several others. But this is the interesting part…the Tipping Point is an international bestseller not because of accurate editing but because it has a strong message. That is why you would not see any news headlines screaming “WARNING: 5 Reasons Why You Should Avoid The Gladwell Error on Page 163!” Because they would rather talk about the Gladwell message than the error…that is their focus. But unfortunately some people (actually just a few) are so focused on irrelevant errors that they lose out on the message! They are the ones that are quick to correct a teacher’s pronunciation error in class, they are the ones that are eager to point out the adjective misuse on a technical paper, whatever the case their focus is on catching errors that would make them look smart at the expense of the person delivering.

Just last week I wrote an article WHY ENTREPRENEURS SHOULD HATE WEDDINGS and I got a lot of feedback on the article. Some agreed with the article and others disagreed, which is typically what happens. But one of the comments was different, re-typing it word for word it read “ps. Your punctuation really sucks.” Ironic cause “ps.” should be “PS:” but that is not the point I understood his message and I respected it. When you write as much as I do, you are bound to make mistakes…not saying that to excuse grammatical mistakes but simply to say that the reason I write, which is the same reason people like Malcolm Gladwell write is to drive home a message. At the end of the day we would rather you say “I liked the message in that reading it was deep” than say “I have no idea what I learnt in the reading, but it was well edited!” The message is important, because in today’s global world, you will come across a bunch people that would communicate to you in a language that is foreign to them. The key thing is to remember to strive to catch the message they convey and not the error…focusing on the message will allow your mind catch a lot more than the person skimming around searching for mistakes.

is an award winning motivational speaker, author, success coach and entrepreneur who blogs about life, success and entrepreneurial excellence. Follow him on BB pin:32A137F8, twitter ,facebook or subscribe to his blog for more success TIPS!” His latest book is titled HOW STUPIDITY SAVED MY LIFE, to find out how it saved his life click

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5 comments on “Catch The Message

  1. Omei B. on said:

    My father always says the only correct English is communication….proofreading is still important though 🙂

  2. Jessica on said:

    Hi, I enjoyed reading this and I actually came across it while Googling a typo on page 140. I wasn’t exactly sure it was a typo–it just didn’t sound right to me. Maybe you can tell me. It says, “The economy’s dramatic recovery meant that many people who might have been lured into crime got legitimate jobs instead, and the general aging of the population meant that there were fewer people in the age range–males between eighteen and twenty-four–that is responsible for the majority of all violence.” Thanks so much.

  3. Hi, i really enjoy every of your write-ups. Just learnt a lesson of life that it is good to focus on the message and not the message. We have many Indians, Chinese and Koreans who are heading our companies in Nigeria but their subordinates not dare tell them that they are not speaking good English even when they are not communicating, they find a way of decoding them and act. They sit in meetings with directors of companies and discuss business. Focus on the message and not the errors. Nice one man. Keep up the good work. Cheers

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