How to write like Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell is a phenomenon. His books sell like hotcakes. He’s a compelling storyteller and he uses this ability to stitch together anecdotes and essays in a cohesive way. His books are famous for pushing one big idea using several supporting examples presented in an amusing and engaging way.

Here are eight tips for writing like Gladwell. In sum:

1. “Your book is actually going to be a collection of essays drawn together by a loose thread” – You should start writing a bunch of essays about loosely connectected topics.
2. “Each of your essays is going to revolve around a single idea” – Conveniently, these idea then become a chapter.
3. “Illustrate the idea with stories about real people” – Everybody likes a story about real people (this works with media releases too).
4. “Get a professor” – find an expert who is willing to put their names to conjecture and unproven theories, present them as fact.
5. “Best to have some sad stories to illustrate your points well
” – You need to balance out all the success stories with stories of people who have failed because they haven’t embraced Gladwell’s concept.
6. “Give things names and remember Douglas Adams’ rule of capital letters” – basically give the concepts you’ve come up with names, catchy names, expressed best by the power of proper nouns.
7. “Don’t fret too much about accuracy, concentrate on telling a good story” – some of Gladwell’s work has been shown to be either based on conjecture or old wives’ tales.
8. “Don’t worry about the new, new thing” – some of Gladwell’s ideas are from papers or events more than ten years ago.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.