Malcolm Gladwell Teaching His First Online Course: A Master Class on How to Turn Big Ideas into Powerful Stories

FYI: If you sign up for a Mas­ter­Class course by click­ing on the affil­i­ate links in this post, Open Cul­ture will receive a small fee that helps sup­port our oper­a­tion.

The one about the dog whis­per­er, the one about how job inter­views and sports drafts work (or don’t), the one about the ideas Apple took from Xerox PARC to cre­ate the per­son­al com­put­er as we know it: most of us have a favorite Mal­colm Glad­well arti­cle. (I hap­pen to like the one on how an Aus­tri­an archi­tect invent­ed the Amer­i­can shop­ping mall, so much that I’ve pre­vi­ous­ly cit­ed it here on Open Cul­ture.) Those all ran in the New York­er, where Glad­well has con­tributed since 1996. Since then, his enter­pris­es have expand­ed to include best­selling books, much-cir­cu­lat­ed TED Talks, and even a hit pod­cast. How does he do it?

We now have the chance to learn just that in a new online course taught by Glad­well him­self, going live this spring on Mas­ter­class. Though many know him only from his speak­ing or audio­vi­su­al media, the core of his work still gets done when he puts words on a page. Hence the title and sub­ject mat­ter of his Mas­ter­class: “Mal­colm Glad­well Teach­es Writ­ing.”

If you sign up for Mas­ter­Class through an All-Access Pass, we’re promised insight into how Glad­well uses ordi­nary sub­jects to help “mil­lions of read­ers devour com­plex ideas like behav­ioral eco­nom­ics and per­for­mance pre­dic­tion” and an under­stand­ing of how he “research­es top­ics, crafts char­ac­ters, and dis­tills big ideas into sim­ple, pow­er­ful nar­ra­tives.”

“We’re going to talk about sus­pense, struc­ture, research, humil­i­ty, char­ac­ters, puz­zles, and semi­colons,” says Glad­well in the course’s trail­er above. He also men­tions one of the com­mon mis­takes he’ll cor­rect: that “writ­ers spend a lot of time think­ing about how to start their sto­ries and not a lot of time think­ing about how to end them.” If you’ve always want­ed to write Glad­wellian prose — “at an eighth grade lev­el,” as he him­self describes it, “but with ideas that are super sophis­ti­cat­ed” — this Mas­ter­class’ twen­ty lessons will get you putting in a few of the ten thou­sand (or so) hours you need to attain mas­tery. That might sound like a lot of time, but keep Glad­well’s words of guid­ance in mind: “The job of the writer is not to sup­ply the ideas; it is to be patient enough to find the ideas.”

You can take this class by sign­ing up for a Mas­ter­Class’ All Access Pass. The All Access Pass will give you instant access to this course and 85 oth­ers for a 12-month peri­od.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mal­colm Glad­well on Why Genius Takes Time: A Look at the Mak­ing of Elvis Costello’s “Depor­tee” & Leonard Cohen’s “Hal­lelu­jah”

Mal­colm Glad­well Asks Hard Ques­tions about Mon­ey & Mer­i­toc­ra­cy in Amer­i­can High­er Edu­ca­tion: Stream 3 Episodes of His New Pod­cast

Mal­colm Glad­well: Tax­es Were High and Life Was Just Fine

Mal­colm Glad­well: What We Can Learn from Spaghet­ti Sauce

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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