MasterClass – Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing

In his first-ever online class, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell teaches you how to transform big ideas into simple, powerful narratives.

Known for his nonfiction writing that captivates readers, Malcolm has been a staff writer at the New Yorker for over two decades and has authored five New York Times Best Sellers: The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath. Malcolm’s unique style of making unexpected connections across ordinary ideas has compelled millions of readers to devour complex topics like behavioral economics and performance prediction.

In his MasterClass, Malcolm shares the research and writing techniques that have made him a prolific nonfiction writer and master storyteller. You’ll learn his approach to finding ideas in unusual places, structuring compelling narratives, and keeping readers engaged through every detail-including the art of the title and the role of semicolons. He also shares career tips for writers amassed over years in the industry-dealing with bad reviews, differentiating yourself as a writer, and identifying your own strengths and weaknesses as a writer.

“Writing has a higher purpose. It’s part of the way in which we fulfill ourselves as human beings, both in the words that we write and the words that we read,” says Malcolm. “This class is a chance for me to reflect on my career and share the insights I’ve gleaned in a form that my students can use.”

Lesson Plan

  1. Introduction
  2. Structuring Narrative: The Imperfect Puzzle
  3. Holding Readers: Tools for Engagement
  4. Holding Readers: Controlling Information
  5. Research
  6. Selecting the Story
  7. Developing the Story
  8. Developing the Story: Analogous Worlds
  9. Interviewing
  10. Characters: Descriptions
  11. Characters: World Building
  12. Character Case Study: “The Pitchman”
  13. Structuring Language
  14. Jargon
  15. Tone and Voice
  16. Humor and Melancholy
  17. Case Study: Language and Emotion in “Something Borrowed”
  18. Titles
  19. Drafts and Revisions
  20. When Your Story Enters the World
  21. Working as a Writer
  22. How to Read
  23. Who to Read
  24. Conclusion: A Theory of Other Minds

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