863: Major in the Universe
|Major in the Universe|
Title text: I hear Steven Levitt is writing a book analyzing A.J. Jacobs' quest to spend a year reading everything Malcolm Gladwell ever wrote. The audiobook will be narrated by Robert Krulwich of Radiolab.
Several authors are referenced here. Malcolm Gladwell is a Canadian author who wrote such books as "The Tipping Point", "Outliers" and "Blink." Steven Levitt is one of the co-authors of the book Freakonomics and the Freakonomics blog on NYTimes.com.
In this comic, Cueball as a college student, meeting with his adviser or professor trying to decide what to major in. He decides to major in "The Universe", but when his adviser details the real work required of that major, Cueball scratches his head and tells what he really means. If you have not read Malcolm Gladwell's books, their disparate parts are usually tied together by a common thread . For example, in Blink, a motif of intuitive judgments ties together the examples of the Getty kouros, John Gottman's marriage studies, the Millennium Challenge war game, speed dating, and Paul Ekman's FACS, to name a few. These books have been criticized for supposedly presenting an incomplete picture of such phenomena, but they are hugely entertaining and eloquent.
Randall is making fun of people who claim to have a broad range of interests, but apparently just to deflect attention from the fact that they are too lazy to master even one field.
- [Cueball before a professor.]
- Cueball: How can I pick a major? I'm interested in everything! Can't I major in "the universe"?
- Professor: Okay. First, I'll need papers on every European trade summit that did not result in an agreement. Then, spend a year memorizing every microprocessor instruction set ever used in a production chip.
- [Cueball scratches head.]
- Cueball: What I meant was I just want to read Malcolm Gladwell books and drink.
- Professor: We all do, sweetie.
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