Malcolm Gladwell’s Rejection Letter

Writing Hacks

A  rejection letter to Malcolm Gladwell for a draft of “David and Goliath.” We are publishing the letter because the author suggested some “writing hacks” that would have made the book better. We invite comment from our readers.

Dear Mr. Gladwell,

We were pleased to get the manuscript of David and Goliath for consideration at [name of publisher redacted]. We know of your success with previous pop-scholarship books. The title suggests a powerful “high concept” book. And we love—lovelovelove—high-concept books like Salt and Cod and A History of the World in Five Glasses and, yes, The Tipping Point and Blink and Outliers. When you see the title, you instantly get the premise. So we loved your title and what it promised.

We’re going to have to pass on the manuscript, though. I’d like you to rethink the concept and do more research. Right now, the book is…

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