Malcolm Gladwell & Steven Levitt: It started at a TED salon …

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A great TED tidbit we missed the first time around: In TIME Magazine last month, Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell (TED04) wrote a tribute to Freakonomics author Steven Levitt (TED04, TEDGlobal), who was honored as one of the TIME 100. It starts like this:

Not long after Freakonomics came out, Steven Levitt and I had a public debate at a salon in downtown Manhattan. The subject was crime. In my book The Tipping Point, I had argued that the cluster of innovative policing strategies known as “broken windows” played a big role in the dramatic drop in New York City’s crime rate. Levitt and his co-author Stephen Dubner argued, to the contrary, that “broken windows” was an illusion and that other factors, like the demographic changes brought about by the legalization of abortion, played a much bigger role. It was a straightforward back-and-forth. Levitt got up and made his case. I got up and made mine. But halfway through, I glanced over at Levitt and had a realization that I’m not sure I’ve ever had before with an intellectual opponent—that if I made my case persuasively and cogently enough, he would change his mind. He was, in other words, listening. More >>

The above-mentioned event was, course, a TED salon. Held at the TED loft in Tribeca, it featured the friendly, timely debate between Gladwell and Levitt, the week Freakonomics was published. Very pleased to see the salon had as much impact on them as it did on us!