‘Revisionist History’ both engrossing, chilling


I’ll start this off by saying I’m pretty new to the podcast scene. As it turns out, so is Malcolm Gladwell, the mastermind behind the new podcast “Revisionist History.”

In an interview with Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show,” Gladwell, who is also the author of “Outliers” and “The Tipping Point,” said the driving force behind the switch from books to podcasts was to “move people emotionally.”

And so he does. Astonishingly well.

“Revisionist History” currently has 10 episodes, with each one examining a new topic, event or idea. Forty minutes will never pass by so quickly. Essentially, Gladwell takes something we assume to be correct and asks, “But what if we’re wrong?”

It plays with your emotions. You’ll laugh, cry, think and feel afraid. He leaves no stone unturned, even dissecting Colbert’s character on “The Colbert Report” in an effort to explain why satire often hurts, instead of helps.

He also includes three episodes on higher education, and it’s fascinating. You learn why it’s so hard for lower income, talented youth to obtain a college education. It’s almost impossible for some, and it isn’t for the reasons you would think.

He’ll tell you all about one private college’s mammoth effort to take on these lower income students, only to find that it’s costing them the students who pay full price and keep the university afloat. Meanwhile, another private college hardly tries recruiting poorer individuals, and they’ve been reaping the rewards from their richer counterparts.

Finally, he’ll examine why people give such large endowments to top-tier schools like Stanford and MIT, when the greatest good can be done by giving to a small state school. K-State may be losing out to the Ivy Leagues in that regard.

The podcast is incredibly tough to listen to at times. It’s not a podcast you can turn on for some background noise while you work on homework. It’s too engrossing for that.

One of the later episodes dissects how basic human error led to one of the biggest automobile recalls in recent memory. We all thought it was the car.

Truthfully, it could happen to any of us. It’s terrifying. It rocks you to the core.

I hung on for every second.

This is only season one, so it’s hard telling where Gladwell will continue to go with the next episodes. One thing is for sure, if you’re looking for a whole new perspective, different way of thinking or want your whole worldview turned upside down, “Revisionist History” is free on iTunes.