I was at the Strand Bookstore the other day to see Malcolm Gladwell and Steven Johnson hold a discussion. Based on recommendations, I spent a part of my summer reading both of their books. I must say that each piece is an interesting investigation into the thinking process.
I found that Johnson’s book, Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter could have been a little more quantitatively supported, but I agree that video games do have positive effects on today’s youth, and that these qualities have been, for the most part, neglected by mainstream media.
Gladwell’s book Blink made quite an impact on me with the concept that knowing everything may may not be as good as just knowing the essentials. In Blink, Gladwell writes about Paul Van Riper’s victory over the U.S. Military during a trained simulation known as the Millenium Challenge. According to the book, Van Riper defeated his overwhelming opponent by not focusing on the details, not analyzing every piece of data, but rather acting only on the information at hand. I feel that this concept could easily carry over into my realm, as Web designers are continually trying to know it all when it comes to the technology. The question is, does that really make the design better?