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malcolm gladwell Credit: jen liao

Journalist Malcolm Gladwell — bestselling author of “The Tipping Point” and “Outliers”, among others — will take the stage at Irvine Auditorium tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. for the newest installment of the Authors@Wharton Speaker Series.

Gladwell — a long-time staff writer for The New Yorker — will discuss his recently published book, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants”, a multidisciplinary look at popular conceptions (and misconceptions) of the “weak” and “powerful.”

And while his subject for Wednesday’s talk has few direct connections to Penn, Gladwell has been known on prior occasions to draw from the University’s past and present — not without occasional controversy — to illustrate his points.

Last semester, when he delivered a “Year of Proof” lecture sponsored by the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Integrated Studies Program, Gladwell raised some eyebrows after suggesting that Penn students boycott the University’s football games.

His comment — which drew on studies of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a mental disorder that has afflicted many football players — came at the end of a longer, more detailed discussion of the role of “proof” in everyday life.

Some students in attendance took umbrage with Gladwell’s comment, especially his mention of the late Wharton student and varsity football player Owen Thomas, who committed suicide in 2010 and was later found to have suffered from CTE.

Related: Gladwell’s condemnation of football raises eyebrows

Three years earlier, Gladwell touched on college drinking culture in a lecture on effective legislation. In a question-and-answer session, the author agreed that the legal drinking age should be lowered, but not before making “clear attempts at building a positive drinking culture.”

Anyone who would like to attend Gladwell’s talk this Wednesday must RSVP before the event.

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