Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Malcom Gladwell

“The tipping point” by Malcom Gladwell

Written in October 9, 2007

How things, little altered, can make a big difference such as in increasing the growth of a business, dropping the crime rate, or spreading infectious diseases exponentially is propounded in this book.

The contents are:

1. the three rules of epidemics;

2. the law of the few such as connectors, mavens, and salesmen;

3. the stickiness factor such as Sesame Street, Blue’s Clues, and the educational virus;

4. the power of context such as Bernie Goetz and the rise and fall of New York City crime;

5. the magic number 150;

6. Case Study on rumors, sneakers, and the power of translation;

7. Case Study on suicide, smoking, and conclusion on focus, test, and believe.

Usually, people have a satisfactory comprehension of proportional rate in changes, but when the behavior starts to vary in geometric rates (crazy increases) their estimates and expectations fall far short of what is happening actually. In most life cases, things change in a fashion that can be predicted and managed or controlled, but there are cases where the behavior gets out of whack and spread or increase in such dramatic fashion that nothing can control or comprehend the events.

For example, suppose that one thousand Canadians tourists come to Manhattan and are carrying an untreatable strain of 24-hour virus.  If only one in 50 who comes in contact with the tourists is infected (a 2% infection rate) then the number of infected will equal the number who recover.

Now if for some reason, like in Christmas season, 55 people get in contact with each single tourist then we have an epidemic on our hands. If only 45 people come in contact then the flu would vanish within a few weeks.  In this case, the number 55 of contact is the tipping point. Over 55 contacts and you are handling an epidemic

Another example is the epidemic of HIV infected individuals; after WWII, even children could combat HIV virus and lead a healthy life but now this virus got strength and sticks to people for life. In the city of Baltimore and in the space of a year, from 1995 to 1996, the number of children born with Syphilis increased by 500%.

This book is trying to explain certain rules in epidemic phenomenon and apply them to business cases, educational environment or crime rates that behaved as epidemics.  The author also explains the 80/20 rule where 20% of the individuals account for 80% of the activities, production, and epidemics cases.

Hush Puppies Company makes classic American brushed-suede shoes with the lightweight crepe sole.  By 1993, it was about to fold with only 30,000 pairs a year sold. Suddenly, Hush Puppies became the fashion in Manhattan in bars and clubs. By early 1995 the company sold 430,000 pairs and major designers were calling headquarter without having the faintest idea what was happening.

In 1992, there were 2,154 murder cases in New York City and 626,182 serious crimes. Five years later, the crime rate fell 65% and the police have no clues of the cause for this exponential drop in crime.

Sharp introduced the first low-priced fax machine in 1984.  By 1987, Sharp had sold one million machines per year and it jumped to two millions by 1989.  Cellular phone has followed the same trajectory by geometric rate increase.

The sociologist Jonathan Crane has discovered that when the rate of role models, such as professionals, managers, and teachers, in any town drops to less than 3.4% of the total population then the drop-out rates in school and the child bearing for teenage girls more than doubled.

Sesame Street” was a resounding sticky educational program for preschoolers for eight straight years and the children who watched that program performed better than others later on in their schooling grades. The successor program “Blue’s Clues” was even better in educating children and in performance.

The Sesame Street show for children insisted on being clever because it wanted to appeal to the parents so that lower-income families would be encouraged to participate in the education of their children; thus, the show was loaded with constant punning and pop culture references. However, children hate puns because they cannot understand at this level of intelligence.

Sesame Street was constructed as a magazine show consisting of 40 distinct autonomous segments of three minutes each.  The rationale was that preschoolers did not have the attention span to handle longer segments.  Thus, each of the 40 segments meant to sell one idea or addressing a single educational goal.  It turned out that children don’t like commercials because they don’t tell a story.

The main insight was that if you can hold the attention of children then you can educate them.  However, the formal features of TV such as violence, bright lights, loud and funny noises, quick editing cuts, zooming in and out, and exaggerated actions that hold adult’s attention didn’t stimulated the children educationally.

The idea was that kids would sit, stare at the screen, and zone out.  Research then showed that children didn’t just sit and stare.  They could divide their attention between a couple of different activities that were not random at all and not trivial.  When the sketches of an episode were specifically edited out of order then the kids stopped watching because they could not make sense of what they were looking at.

When two groups of children between 4 and 5 years old were shown the same Sesame Street show with one group assembled in a room crammed with toys and the other bare, the children in the toy room attended 50% of the time and the bare one 87% of the time.  The amazing results demonstrated that the two groups had the same comprehension level of the show.  Consequently, children attend strategically and distribute their viewing to the most informative parts of the program.

Thus, children do not necessarily watch when they are stimulated; they watch when they understand and look away when they are confused, like when more than two adults are talking at once or shouting at each other or carrying angry conversations. Children pick up on the signal that something is confusing and lose interest.  What is exciting is not much of a signal to keep their attention level.

Ed Palmer was hired as a psychologist whose specialty was the use of television as a teaching tool.  Palmer’s innovative technique was the Distracter; he would play a show on the monitor and then run a slide show on a screen next to it; the slide would remain for 7.5 seconds and he would record the events when a child is watching Sesame and when he is attracted to the slides.

The sections of the show that revealed low attention were reedited or re-shot until satisfied with children feedback.  However, the Distracter method was not adapted to investigating the understanding of what children were attending to.  Barbara Flagg was called in around the mid 70’s to applying her eye movement photography technique.

When we read, we are capable of taking in only one key word and then 4 characters to the left and 15 to the right at any one time because most of the sensors in our eyes are clustered in the fovea in the retina.  Thus, we pause long enough on a chunk of characters to make sense of the letters.  By tracking where the fovea is moving you can tell which information is being captured.

The technique of eye movement was used to evaluating which method for word learning was most efficient.  For example, Sesame Street used two visual-blending exercises for words with distinct sounds for each letter.  In the first segment a female Muppet approaches the word HUG in the center of the screen; she stands behind each character and carefully sound it out going from left to right and in reverse and then pronounces the whole word.

Muppet Henry enters, repeats the word several times, and then hug the little-girl Muppet.  The second segment is called “Oscar’s Blending”; the game is called “Breakable Words” and Oscar the Grouch call out letters which pop up on the lower left corner of the screen and then tells Muppet Crummy how they sound. The role is reversed when the letters pop up on the lower right corner. Then the word is formed and sounded and then drops from sight with a crashing sound.

On the Distracter technique both segments scored brilliantly but there was no way to know if the children were learning the process of forming a word. The eye movement technique showed that children were focusing on Oscar who was interesting and very active and making a fuss in the background; the word to learn was not close to Oscar and the kids were not reading from left to right.  The first HUG segment was a resounding success and kids were fixating on the word and also following the letters from left to right.

The producers of Sesame Street went along the paradigm of the time that mixing fantasy and reality would be misleading to children.  Palmer, four months before the show went on the air, discovered that children hated to see fantasy elements separated from the real elements which were in an actual street and with actual actors.  That is when Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Snuffleupagus were born to live along side real actors on the street.

Many shows were disappointing and research discovered the causes.  For example, preschoolers make a number of assumptions about words and their meaning as they acquire language; one of these assumptions is the principle of mutual exclusiveness so that any one object can have only one name.  Thus, when Big Bird decided to change his name to Roy because he wanted a name of his own and not a descriptive name then the children were befuddled and their attention dropped in that show.  Thus, an oak is an oak and cannot be a tree simultaneously.

The successor program “Blue’s Clues” ran for half and hour instead of a full hour and it didn’t have an ensemble cast but Steve, a live actor in his twenties wearing khakis and a rugby shirt. Each episode followed a single story line of the exploits of an animated blue dog named Blue.  The episodes are shot with a two-dimensional feel as a video version of a picture book.

The pace is deliberate and the script is punctuated with long pauses; there were no humor or word play or cleverness that plagued Sesame Street.  The character mailbox is called Mailbox, and a pail named Pail, and shovel Shovel.  Within months of its debut in 1996, Blue’s Clues was trouncing Sesame Street in the ratings and was capturing the attention of children during the whole session.  The children watching Blue’s Clues were performing much better than Sesame Street on all measures of flexible thinking and problem solving.

Todd Kessler, one of the producers of Blue’s Clues and who worked on Sesame Street, was dissatisfied with the magazine fast-paced format of Sesame Street and believed that children do have a much larger attention span and television is better used as a visual medium than verbal for educating children.

Sesame Street was still adopting the Piaget child psychology of the learning paradigm that preschoolers cannot follow an extended narrative.  The Blue’s Clues producers were more up-to-date in child psychology and applied the paradigm that stories were the main medium for children to make sense of their world.  Actually, experiment have shown that children reconstruct their daily events by narrating them as stories in temporal sequences too; the sentences are far grammatically correct and coherent when they recount the stories to themselves rather then telling them to people.

Blue’s Clues episode was telling a story about a single idea for half an hour and encouraging children to participate by guessing from the clues and the lengthy pauses for them to think at their leisure.  By accident, since the producers could not afford an episode each day, they let an episode run for a whole week.  The producers discovered that children were getting more attached to the episode every day and were acquiring a sense of affirmation and self worth by predicting the next answers and generating a different view with each day of the re-run and also helping Steve find the correct answers after his long pauses!

The repetition for 5 days of an episode that tells an animated story without too much verbal conversation and that encourages children to participate and guess and then predict was far more sticky than Sesame Street.

Children need repetition to learn.  In Sesame Street they repeated the one-minute bit of Wanda the Witch who wore a wig in the windy winter in Washington, etc on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then skipped it on Thursday and then the bit was back on Friday.  By Wednesday, the kids were saying “not Wanda again” but on Friday they jumped and clapped when nostalgia sets in.

The success of Blue’s Clues to stick with children was mostly researching and conducting experiments for every single episode with children as to the order of the clues so that they offered the highest suspense and would not give away the answer.  In general, the content and script were not changed but just small changes as a result of experimentation made the big difference.

There is always a simple way to package information under specific circumstances to make it irresistible.

The sticky Sesame Street program that experimented with children learning.

(Written in November 27, 2007)

Malcom Gladwell in his “The tipping point” explains how little things can make a big difference such as increasing the growth of a business, dropping the crime rate, or spreading infectious diseases exponentially.

I will provide a brief description of the factors for reaching the tipping point and focus on the chapter related to what stick for attracting the attention of preschool children in educational programs such as Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues.

There are three rules for spreading epidemics:

1. The first is the law of the few, such as connectors, mavens, and salesmen;

2. The second is the stickiness factor such as Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues children programs on TV;

3. The third is the power of context such as Bernie Goetz and the rise and fall of New York City crime.

Usually, people have a satisfactory comprehension of changes when the increment is in proportional rate, but when the behavior starts to vary in geometric rates people’s estimates and expectations fall far short of what is happening actually.

In most life cases, things change in a fashion that can be predicted and managed or controlled, but there are cases where the behavior gets out of whack and spread or increase in such dramatic fashion that nothing can control or comprehend the events.

For example, suppose that one thousand Canadians tourists come to Manhattan and are carrying an untreatable strain of 24-hour virus.  If only one in 50 individuals who comes in contact with the tourists is infected (a 2% infection rate) then the number of infected persons will equal the number who recover within 24 hours.

Now, if for some reason, like Christmas season, 55 people get in contact with each single tourist then we have an epidemic on our hands. If only 45 people come in contact then the flu would vanish within a few weeks.  In this case, the number 55 of contact is the tipping point.

This book is trying to explain certain rules in epidemic phenomenon and applying them to business cases, educational environment, or crime rates that behaved as epidemics.

The author also explains the 80/20 rule where 20% of the individuals account for 80% of the activities, production, or epidemics cases.

“Sesame Street” was a resounding sticky educational program for preschoolers for eight straight years and the children who watched that program performed better than others later on in their schooling grades. The successor program “Blue’s Clues” was even better in educating children and in performance.

The Sesame Street show for children insisted on being clever because it wanted to appeal to the parents so that lower-income families would be encouraged to participate in the education of their children; thus, the show was loaded with constant punning and pop culture references.

Actually, Lou Berger decided to apply for a job in that show after watching funny crazy fairy tales.  However, children hate puns because they cannot understand at this level of intelligence.

Sesame Street was constructed as a magazine show consisting of 40 distinct autonomous segments of three minutes each.  The rationale was that preschoolers did not have the attention span to handle longer segments.  Actually, the creators of the show were impressed by the power of TV commercials and Jim Henson was running a successful advertising shop in the 60’s when he joined the cast. Thus, each of the 40 segments meant to sell one idea or addressing a single educational goal.  It turned out that children don’t like commercials because they don’t tell a story.

The main insight was that if you can hold the attention of children then you can educate them.  However, the formal features of TV such as violence, bright lights, loud and funny noises, quick editing cuts, zooming in and out, and exaggerated actions that hold adult’s attention because we don’t have to understand but children are not necessarily stimulated by all the whizzes and bangs of the medium.

The idea was that kids would sit, stare at the screen, and zone out.

Research then showed that children didn’t just sit and stare.  They could divide their attention between a couple of different activities that were not random at all and not trivial.  When the sketches of an episode were specifically edited out of order then the kids stopped watching because they could not make sense of what they were looking at.

When two groups of children between 4 and 5 years old were shown the same Sesame Street show with one group assembled in a room crammed with toys and the other bare, the children in the toy room attended 50% of the time and children in the bare room 87% of the time.

The amazing results demonstrated that the two groups had the same comprehension level of the show.  Consequently, children attend strategically and distribute their viewing to the most informative parts of the program. Thus, children do not necessarily watch when they are stimulated; they watch when they understand and look away when they are confused, like when more than two adults are talking at once or shouting at each other or carrying angry conversations.

Children pick up on the signal that something is confusing and lose interest.  What is exciting is not much of a signal to keep their attention level.

Ed Palmer was hired as a psychologist whose specialty was the use of television as a teaching tool.  Palmer’s innovative technique was the Distracter; he would play a show on the monitor and then run a slide show on a screen next to it; the slide would remain for 7.5 seconds and he would record the events when a child is watching Sesame and when he is attracted to the slides.  The sections of the show that revealed low attention were reedited or re-shot until satisfied with children feedback.

However, the Distracter method was not adapted to investigating the understanding of what children were attending to.  Barbara Flagg was called in around the mid 70’s to applying her eye movement photography technique.

When we read, we are capable of taking in only one key word and then 4 characters to the left and 15 to the right at any one time because most of the sensors in our eyes are clustered in the fovea in the retina.  Thus, we pause long enough on a chunk of characters to make sense of the letters.  By tracking where the fovea is moving you can tell which information is being captured.  This technique was used to evaluating which method for word learning was most efficient.

For example, Sesame Street used two visual-blending exercises for words with distinct sounds for each letter.  In the first segment a female Muppet approaches the word HUG in the center of the screen; she stands behind each character and carefully sound it out going from left to right and in reverse and then pronounces the whole word.

Then Muppet Henry enters, repeat the word several times and then hug the little-girl Muppet.  The second segment is called “Oscar’s Blending“; the game is called “Breakable Words” and Oscar the Grouch call out letters which pop up on the lower left corner of the screen and then tells Muppet Crummy how they sound. The role is reversed when the letters pop up on the lower right corner. Then the word is formed and sounded and then drops from sight with a crashing sound.

On the Distracter technique both segments scored brilliantly but there was no way to know if the children were learning the process of forming a word. The eye movement technique showed that children were focusing on Oscar who was interesting and very active and making a fuss in the background; the word to learn was not close to Oscar and the kids were not reading from left to right.  The first HUG segment was a resounding success and kids were fixating on the word and also following the letters from left to right.

The producers of Sesame Street went along the paradigm of the time that mixing fantasy and reality would be misleading to children.  Palmer, four months before the show went on the air, discovered that children hated to see fantasy elements separated from the real elements which were in an actual street and with actual actors.  That is when Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Snuffleupagus were born to live along side real actors on the street.

Many shows were disappointing and research discovered the causes.  For example, preschoolers make a number of assumptions about words and their meaning as they acquire language; one of these assumptions is the principle of mutual exclusiveness so that any one object can have only one name.

Thus, when Big Bird decided to change his name to Roy because he wanted a name of his own and not a descriptive name then the children were befuddled and their attention dropped in that show.  Thus, an oak is an oak and cannot be a tree simultaneously.

The successor program “Blue’s Clues” ran for half and hour instead of a full hour and it didn’t have an ensemble cast but Steve, a live actor in his twenties wearing khakis and a rugby shirt. Each episode followed a single story line of the exploits of an animated blue dog named Blue.  The episodes are shot with a two-dimensional feel as a video version of a picture book.  The pace is deliberate and the script is punctuated with long pauses; there were no humor or word play or cleverness that plagued Sesame Street.

The character mailbox is called Mailbox, and a pail named Pail, and shovel Shovel.  Within months of its debut in 1996, Blue’s Clues was trouncing Sesame Street in the ratings and was capturing the attention of children during the whole session.  The children watching Blue’s Clues were performing much better than Sesame Street on all measures of flexible thinking and problem solving.

Todd Kessler, one of the producers of Blue’s Clues and who worked on Sesame Street, was dissatisfied with the magazine fast-paced format of Sesame Street and believed that children do have a much larger attention span and television is better used as a visual medium than verbal for educating children.

Sesame Street was still adopting the Piaget child psychology of the learning paradigm that preschoolers cannot follow an extended narrative.  The Blue’s Clues producers were more up-to-date in child psychology and applied the paradigm that stories were the main medium for children to make sense of their world.

Actually, experiment have shown that children reconstruct their daily events by narrating them as stories in temporal sequences too; the sentences are far grammatically correct and coherent when they recount the stories to themselves rather then telling them to people.

Blue’s Clues episode was telling a story about a single idea for half an hour and encouraging children to participate by guessing from the clues and the lengthy pauses for them to think at their leisure.  By accident, since the producers could not afford an episode each day, they let an episode run for a whole week.

The producers discovered that children were getting more attached to the episode every day and were acquiring a sense of affirmation and self worth by predicting the next answers and generating a different view with each day of the re-run and also helping Steve find the correct answers after his long pauses!  The repetition for 5 days of an episode that tells an animated story without too much verbal conversation and that encourages children to participate and guess and then predict was far more sticky than Sesame Street.

Children need repetition to learn.  In Sesame Street they repeated the one-minute bit of Wanda the Witch who wore a wig in the windy winter in Washington, etc on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then skipped it on Thursday and then the bit was back on Friday.  By Wednesday, the kids were saying “not Wanda again” but on Friday they jumped and clapped when nostalgia sets in.

The success of Blue’s Clues to stick with children was mostly researching and conducting experiments for every single episode with children as to the order of the clues so that they offered the highest suspense and would not give away the answer.  In general, the content and script were not changed but just small changes as a result of experimentation made the big difference.  There is always a simple way to package information under specific circumstances to make it irresistible.

In summary, it is good to know what children hates and what really stick in educational visual programs:

First, children hate puns or plays on words because they cannot understand at this level of intelligence.

Second, children don’t like commercials that don’t tell a story.

Third, children attend strategically to information and distribute their viewing to the most informative parts of the program.

Fourth, children do not necessarily watch when they are stimulated; they watch when they understand and look away when they are confused.

Fifth, children hate to watch adults talking at once or shouting at each other or carrying angry conversations. Children pick up on the signal that something is confusing and lose interest.

Sixth, what is exciting is not much of a signal to keep children attention level but stories that they can understand.

Seventh, children hated to see fantasy elements separated from the real elements.

Eight, Children learn by using the principle of mutual exclusiveness so that any one object can have only one name; an oak is an oak and not also a tree.

Ninth, children do have a much larger attention span and are wiling to watch a half an hour program if suited for their understanding.

Tenth, television is better used as a visual medium.

Eleventh, stories are the main medium for children to make sense of their world.

Twelfth, repetition is welcomed by children and likes to be nostalgic.

Thirteenth, children prefer animated story without too much verbal conversation.

Fourteenth, children learn better when they are encouraged to participate and guess and then predict the next segment.

The main idea of this article is, when time and resources are available, always experiment with what is believed to be “common sense”.

The Broken Window theory for crime epidemics

December 3, 2007

In the chapter “The power of context” of his book “The tipping point”,  Malcom Gladwell developed on the theory of the Broken Window that encourages crimes and lead to an epidemic of all kinds of quality-of-life deterioration. The criminologists James Wilson and George Kelling argued that crime is the inevitable results of disorder; if you pass through a street and notice broken windows unrepaired then your attitude is that nobody cares and thus, nobody is in charge to stop any further behavior for disorderly conducts.  If a neighborhood cannot keep a panhandler from annoying passerby, the thief might reason that it is unlikely that the residents would call the police to identify a potential mugger or robber.

David Gunn was hired by the New York City Transit Authority to rebuild and rehabilitate the subway system.  Instead of buying new trains Gunn focused on removing the graffiti off the trains; only completely clean trains were returned on the lines.  At night, the graffiti kids would enter the parking lot where the dirty trains were located and spend three days to paint a train.  Only when their work of art is done, would the Transit employees walk in with their roller and paint it over.

The kids were in tears that after three nights of work their work of art would not be shown and they gave up.  Gunn’s figured that if the graffiti war is not won all the management reforms and physical changes would never take off.

William Bratton was hired by the Authority to head the transit police.  Instead of going after the serious crimes in the subway Bratton concentrated his forces on the fare-beating practices; 170,000 people a day were entering the system without paying a token.  Heavy police forces were placed on entrances and nabbed fare-beaters, handcuffed, left standing on the platform until a full catch is rounded up.

Bratton retrofitted a city bus with fax machines, fingerprinting facilities and phones and transformed it into a rolling station house; bureaucratic work that took a whole day to process one small case was done within an hour.  The fight against fare-beaters collected serious criminals; one out of seven fare-beaters had an outstanding warrant for a previous crime and one out of twenty was carrying a weapon.

The thugs wised up and began to leave their weapons home and pay fares. Then crimes on quality-of –life like “squeegee men” on intersections, panhandlers, public urination, public drunkenness, and empty bottle throwers were rounded up.  The epidemic of crimes was reduced by two third within a couple of years in New York City.  Minor, seemingly insignificant quality-of-life crimes were tipping points for violent crime.

The Broken Window theory is based on the premise that an epidemic can be reversed and can be tipped by tinkering with the smallest details of the immediate environment.  The Power of Context is suggesting that, without denying the important factors as genetic disposition or family upbringing or social conditions or economic status or unemployment or laws that discriminate among people status, specific situations are the main causes for criminal actions.

A person is acutely sensitive to his environment, alert to all kinds of cues in the external context he is surrounded with and is prompted to commit crime based on his perception of the world around him. The context of the surrounding environment is pernicious and in an unconscious way alters the behavior of people who are generally normal on any set of psychological measures.  Countless experiments have demonstrated that the situational context is the prime variable for exhibiting drastic behavioral actions that are normally under control.

Seemingly normal people, and knowing full well that they are performing in experiments, the group assigned the role of jailers exhibited creative talents for cruelty and sadistic behavior and the prisoners behaved as prisoners and rioted and became hysterics within just a couple of days.

We tend to describe and judge people in the absolute, a person is a certain way or is not a certain way, honest, just, and generous and so forth, but we fail to be specific that any of these characteristics fails in different situations.  By thinking in terms of inherent traits and forgetting the role of situations we are basically deceiving ourselves about the real cause of human behavior.

I cannot but draw a note about our situation in Lebanon.  After all the calamities and lengthy civil wars and relentless unstable political and economic problems and our lacking of strong and coherent central governments, any one of us is a potential criminal. A minor alteration in a situation is tantamount to a criminal behavior; I guess that somehow we are more aware subconsciously than other developed nations of this important factor and we self-sensor our movements and living locations so that we don’t squeeze ourselves into unwarranted environment.

We are standing on a powder keg and any tiny variation in the actual situation is tantamount to a major conflagration.  We have actually avoided several starts of civil wars thanks to the wisdom of the forces that pulled out on time to their respective environments.

Book reviews:  Of controversial manuscripts? Posted in 2008

Many of the books that I have reviewed were written prior to 2008, before I discovered wordpress.com, and they might be categorized as controversial.  

It is not my job to fall into that trap of judging what is fine to read.  I simply reviews,  summarizes, and add my comments of what I have read that express deep feeling and personal reflections.  

I always give my “expert” opinions anyway:  It is your right to express your opinion.

There are books that I had to publish several posts on particular chapters, simply because topics are interesting and need further development.

1) “Life after Life” by Dr. Raymond Moody, (written in June 7, 2004)

2) “A Priest among “Les Loubards”” by Guy Gilbert, (written in July 22, 2004)

3) “We the Living” by Ayn Rand, (written in July, 24, 2004)

4) “Prophesies of End of Timeby Paco Rabanne, (November 15, 2004)

5) “Alexander the Great”, (November 20, 2004)

6) “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” by Thomas Friedman (July 28, 2006)

7) “Season of Migration to the North” by Tayeb Saleh, (August 10, 2006)

8) “The Princes of the Crazy Years” by Gilbert Gilleminault and Philippe Bernert.

9) “Carlos Ghosn: Citoyen du Monde” by Philippe Ries, (Septembre 27, 2006)

10) “Abbo”by Nabil Al Milhem, (November 23, 2006)

11) “Human Types; Essence and the Enneagram” by Suzan Zannos, (December 6, 2006)

12) “One hundred fallacies on the Middle East (ME)” by Fred Haliday, (March 2, 2007)

13) “Origins” by Amin Maaluf, February 15, 2007

14) “Imagined Masculinity” edited by Mai Ghoussoub and Emma Sinclair-Webb

15) “Post-modernism: the Arabs in a video snapshot” by Mai Ghoussoub,( March 4, 2007)

16) “The Joke” by Milan Kundera, (March 22, 2007)

17) “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, March 28, 2007

18)  “Biography” of In3am Ra3d, April 7, 2007

19)  “Al-Walid Bin Talal”, April 4, 2007

20) “The Gardens of Light” by Amin Maaluf, April 19, 2007

21) “Two old women” by Velma Wallis, May 1, 2007

22) “I heard the owl call my name” by Margaret Craven, May 3, 2007

23) “A woman of independent means” by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, May 6, 2007

24) “The Gospel according to Pilate” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, May 9, 2007

25) “Les innovations du XXI siecle qui vont changer notre vie” by Eric de Riedmatten.

26) “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, July 3, 2007

27) “Liban: le salut par la culture” by Phares Zoghbi, August 19, 2007

28) “Finding Joy” by Charlote Davis Kasl, August 22, 2007

29) “Tadjoura” by Jean Francois Deniau, Septembre 6, 2007

30) “How to dance forever” by Daniel Nagrin, September 8, 2007

31.  “The Second sex” by Simone de Beauvoir, (September 21, 2007)

32.  “A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson, (September 25, 2007)

33.  “The God of mirrors” by Robert Reilly, (October 1st, 2007)

34.  “The tipping point” by Malcom Gladwell, (October 9, 2007)

35.  “The social structure of Lebanon: democracy or servitude?” by Safia Saadeh

October 15, 2007

36. “Fallaci interviews Fallaci and Apocalypse”, by Oriana Falaci (November 8, 2007)

37. “Aicha la bien-aime du Prophet” by Genevieve Chauvel (November 19, 2007)

38.  “Tess of the D’Uberville” Thomas Hardy, (December 19, 2007)

39. “Le livre des saviors” edited by Constantin von Barloewen (December 22, 2007)

40.  Gandhi’s non-violent resistance guidelines (February 21, 2008)

41. “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown (March 12, 2008)

42. “La reine de Palmyre” by Denise Brahimi (March 26, 2007)

43. “Culture et resistance” by Edward W. Said (April 18, 2008)

44. “L’Avorton de Dieu; une vie de Saint Paul” by Alain Decaux (April 23, 2008)

45.  “Down and out in Paris and London” by George Orwell (July 14, 2008)

46. “Why the Arab World is not free?” by Moustapha Safouan (July 21, 2008)

47.  “Igino Giordani” by Jean-Marie Wallet and Tommaso Sorgi (August 5, 2008)

48.  “Building a durable World” in “Science et Vie” magazine special issue of June 2008 (August 10, 2008)


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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