Joel Splosky is a bit sick of anecdotes as science:

Whether it’s Thomas Friedman, who, it seems, cannot go a whole week without inventing a new fruit-based metaphor explaining everything about the entire modern world, all based on some random jibberish he misunderstood from a taxi driver in Kuala Lumpur, or Malcolm Gladwell with his weak theories on tipping points, crazy incorrect theories on first impressions, or utterly lunatic theories on experts, it all becomes insanely popular simply because the stories are fun and interesting and everybody wants to hear a good story. Spare me.

In my never-ending quest to be the king of all things pop-culture, and despite my better angels, I pre-ordered Gladwell’s Outliers. While I have little if any respect for his ability to construct a plausible hypothesis, the velocity of his anecdotes, the way Gladwell can pull from the arbitrary to create the grand, is something I can respect. Even envy.

But staring at the pile of books I’ve sworn I’d finish this year, and remembering how frustrating reading Blink was for me, shouting and pacing and fuming, it dawned on me how unnecessary reading the actual book was.

The best anecdotes will find their way into the conversations of my over-educated friends quickly enough. Within the next week, I’ll see no less than 25 posts dedicated the celebration or criticism of the book, and from the snippets I’ll be able to easily construct a mental abstract of whatever it is Gladwell is on about this time, without so much as cracking the spine.

If I only have so many hours in the day to devote to genuinely insightful things, Gladwell’s track record screams at me to ignore Outliers. At least for now. At least until I’m stuck on a cross-country flight, liquored up, and ready for a good fight.

I handed off the book to a friend, and will instead sit down with Rob Walker’s Buying In, which decried anecdotes over evidence in the first five pages.