Let`s talk!

There is an author whose books I enjoy reading. He writes non-fiction books in such a way that even I like them. His topics are interesting and touch on everyday life; his writing is sometimes amusing, always balanced and clear, his style smart and his perspective often rather unusual. Last but not least: I just like his way of creating and dealing with issues he finds interesting enough to think and write about.

A little while ago I heard him talking about the research for his latest book and what he himself took from it: he said if he needed an assistant he wouldn`t do a job interview anymore – there was nothing you would learn from an interview if you wanted to hire someone. A conversation of this kind was all about appearances; everything you really needed to know you could check on the phone or get from other people you trust.

He is right: in a conversation I can`t figure out whether someone is punctual, reliable and diligent, is discreet and will be committed to their job. Nevertheless, for me the first, ‘optical’ impression still has some relevance – if I needed a personal assistant I also would like to see them first. Don`t we have to work together and get along on a daily basis? Doesn`t it help if the other person’s appearance is not off-putting to me in some way? What`s wrong with wanting to work with someone who is also pleasant company – as a bonus? (Not that I know what I am talking about: I am a long way from needing a personal assistant and even farther from being able to afford one…)

Secondly „my author“ mentioned that the only situation where you really have to meet someone is dating. My initial reaction would be: I agree – it`s obvious. But a mere second later I find myself thinking about centuries of arranged marriages in other parts of the world. People checked a lot of things about potential spouses – parents, upbringing, education, class – apart from letting them MEET each other as well.

I am not a person who likes to argue, I am a person who likes to discuss, though. (Isn`t there always a BUT to anything you might say?) In this case I`d like to exchange ideas. I know I am no match for this author – neither intellectually nor concerning the flexibility of one`s mind, but still: Let`s talk Malcolm Gladwell!

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