What the Dog Saw and Other AdventureseBook - 2009
Essays previously published in the New Yorker
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It was a textbook dog-biting case: unneutered, ill-trained, charged-up dogs with a history of aggression and an irresponsible owner somehow get loose and set upon a small child. The dogs had already passed through the animal bureaucracy of Ottawa, and the city could easily have prevented the second attack with the right kind of generalization - a generalization based not on breed but on the known and meaningful connection between dangerous dogs and negligent owners.
The kinds of dogs that kill people change over time, because the popularity of certain breeds changes over time. The one thing that doesn't change is the total number of the people killed by dogs. When we have more problems with pit bulls, it's not necessarily a sign that pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs. It could just be a sign that pit bulls have become more numerous.
They were looking for people who had the talent to think ouside the box. It never occurred to them that, if everyone had to think outside the box, maybe it was the box that needed fixing.
One possibility is simply to hire and reward the smartest people. But the link between, say, IQ and job performance is distinctly underwhelming. . . . 'What IQ doesn't pick up is effectiveness at commonsense sorts of things, especially working with people,' Richard Wagner, a psychologist a Florida State University, says. 'In terms of how we evaluate schooling, everything is about working by yourself. If you work with someone else, it's called cheating. Once you get out in the real world, everything you do involves working with other people.'
in our zeal to correct what we believe to be the problems of the past, we end up creating new problems for the future.
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