I was watching a segment from The Stephen Colbert Show, where Malcolm Gladwell visits to promote the launch of his podcast Revisionist History. Colbert asks him why he wanted to create a podcast and Gladwell replies:
This is what my friend Charles always says, ‘You think with your eyes and you feel with your ears.’
After a quick Colbert joke he continues:
If you write a book, you can communicate very complicated ideas and people will grasp them, but you can’t move people emotionally…it is very hard.
The whole segment is great, but it kicked off me thinking a bunch of things.
- How true is that? Memoir is a pretty effective at generating emotion and connection in readers.
- This American Life, The Moth, RadioLab, WTF and Revisionist History all generate emotion with their amazing auditory storytelling.
- Aren’t photographs good at conveying emotion visually?
- Does this push even further towards the power of having the author narrate their audiobooks?
- Should books and audiobooks have the same content?
I am convinced that good books draw us in using both thinking and feeling, but now I am thinking about what makes one form working better than another for certain kind of material.