If you think he looks cool when his hair is long, he's not.
If you think going to an Ivy League school is an advantage, he says it's
actually a disadvantage. Door bells? He has no use for them. Meet Malcolm
Gladwell as he talks about his writing, his life as a self-described outsider
and his new book. Anderson Cooper speaks to the best-selling author for
a 60 Minutes profile Sunday,
Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
The curly-haired writer sometimes lets his hair get out of control and he says
it gives people the wrong impression about him. "People assume when
my hair is long that I am a lot cooler than I actually am," he says with a
laugh. "I am not opposed to this misconception, by the way, but it
is a misconception," says Gladwell, a self-described hermit.
As for the Ivy Leagues, he says they are
not always the best place to go for a good student. How does a student
good enough to get into an Ivy League school keep his confidence up around
students as good or better than he is? "If you're last in your class at
Harvard, it doesn't feel like you are a good student," says Gladwell, who
attended the University of Toronto, a state college. "I come to New York
and all kinds of people who went to Harvard and Yale are mentioning that in
every second sentence. It drives me crazy," he tells Cooper, who informs
him that he went to Yale.
Door bells drive him crazy, too. So he doesn't have one.
"I don't want a door bell. I don't want anyone ringing my door
bell...seems to be intrusive," says the author. "They can call
me on their cell phones."
Gladwell has been a staff writer for The New Yorker for 17 years, where the
famous literary magazine's editor, David Remnick, has come to know him well.
"I think what he is interested in is testing and pressing against received
wisdom...what we think of our ideas of the world," he tells Cooper.
His unique perspective comes in part from being bi-racial and always feeling like an outsider, he says. "We lived in England, then we moved to Canada, where we were sort of outsiders. And then I moved to America, where I am kind of an outsider," Gladwell says. "So I feel like I've constantly been in this situation of shaking my head and thinking, 'This is a strange place.'"