The following is an actual email written by a new friend of mine to one of my favourite authors, Malcolm Gladwell (please read Blink and The Tipping Point if you ever want me to like you). When you read it, you will realize why we are now friends.
I’m quite sure this letter is screened by your assistant’s assistant, but your book Outliers has recently made the last 2 weeks of my life VERY stressful. For a book that has been coined “The Story of Success” I have quite literally had a fair bit of anxiety. Here’s a brief summary of recent events:
A prodigy and follower of your book also happened to be a first date of mine and lent me your book to read in order to become successful in life. Now your book points to the fact that successful people are lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I disagree with this statement, because I was clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time and later went on to break things off in a very polite text message – the non-confrontational classic way of breaking things off. (General rule of thumb being anything under two months a polite text is acceptable) However, now I have this book haunting me with numerous texts from your prodigy of how I can return it. In order to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, ruining of egos and an otherwise lovely weeknight I have had the following ideas for return:
1. Mail the book to his address.
a. Problem, your book is too big to fit into his mail slot.
2. Mail him a Chapters gift certificate.
a. Problem, this makes me look crazy.
3. Have him wait under my balcony as I lower the book in a bucket and yell “Only take what’s yours!”
I’m supposed to drop the book off later this evening, but instead will be attending a wine and cheese event that will possibly put me in the right place at the right time in order to become more successful in life. I have also responded to him telling him I am a slow reader, which may buy me some time until you respond to this e-mail. I’m sure your book has been very helpful to many readers, but in my opinion it has caused nothing but stress and unnecessary acts of confrontation in my life. Any advice in regards to this situation would be welcomed.
<K.’s new friend>