NR Digital

Failing Upward

by Robert VerBruggen
The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success, by Megan McArdle (Viking, 320 pp., $27.95)

This may not have been the best time for Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle to write a book squarely in the tradition of Malcolm Gladwell.

For whatever reason, Gladwell’s mesmerizing essays, in which he weaves together stories and social-science research to arrive at (allegedly) mind-blowing conclusions, hit a “tipping point” of their own in late 2013. What had started as the occasional drip of acid from a critic became a flood of derision. Slate and The New Republic ran lengthy pieces bashing Gladwell. Salon’s Alex Pareene included the writer in his annual year-end list of journalistic “hacks.”

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