Malcolm Gladwell

Celeste Sloman

Malcolm Gladwell

Past Event: Monday, September 23, 2019

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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Literary Arts

Malcolm Gladwell’s event is sold out. We will be selling standby tickets at the Benaroya Box Office on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at 6:00 PM tonight at a flat rate of $40, cash preferred.

Literary Arts Series subscribers and Create-Your-Own Series subscribers (except Student/U25 and complimentary subscriptions) will receive a copy of Gladwell’s new book, Talking to Strangers.

Malcolm Gladwell is a writer, public speaker, and podcast host whose work deals with the unexpected implications of research in the social sciences. Gladwell’s latest, Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about People We Don’t Know (September 2019), is a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news.

Exploring questions like the difference between choking and panicking, why there are dozens of varieties of mustard, but only one variety of ketchup, and what hair dye tells us about the history of the 20th century, Gladwell is known for his eclectic pick of subjects and themes—to him, everything is potentially interesting, or will lead to something interesting, and this guides his choice of subjects to write about.

In the past two decades, Malcolm Gladwell has published five New York Times bestselling books that have radically changed how we understand our world and ourselves: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference (2000); Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005); Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), where he popularized the 10,000 hour rule; What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (2009), bringing together the best of his writing from The New Yorker, and, most recently: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (2013).

Gladwell is also the host of the podcast Revisionist History, “Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood,” which so far has aired four seasons. He is cofounder of the podcast company Pushkin Industries.

The success of his writing has given Gladwell an active second career as a public speaker at places like West Point and the National Institutes of Health, among many other institutions, and has landed him on the recommended reading list at many companies and business schools. Gladwell has been named one of the “100 most influential people” by TIME Magazine in 2005, and “a rock star, a spiritual leader, a stud” by Fast Company.

Gladwell was born in England and grew up in rural Canada. He studied history at the University of Toronto and wanted to go into advertising but couldn’t find a job and became a journalist instead, discovering that writing, which he had hitherto just thought was fun, could actually be made into a living. After a stint at The American Spectator he joined the Washington Post in 1987, where he covered business and science, before joining The New Yorker.

A former middle-distance runner in his high school years, he has retained his love of the sport and is an accomplished runner, having competed in races like the NYRR 5th Avenue Mile Race, where he placed 5th in his age category in 2014, running the mile under 5 minutes. He currently lives in New York City.


Edward Taylor, SAL’s Q&A moderator for Gladwell’s event, is vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the University of Washington where he oversees educational opportunities that advance and deepen the undergraduate experience. Also a professor in the UW’s College of Education, Dr. Taylor’s research, teaching and writing center on comparative education in the U.S. and South Africa, moral dimensions of education and integrative education, and leadership in education and social justice.

Active in the community, Taylor is a founding board member of Rainier Scholars; serves on the board of the Seattle Foundation; is a trustee of Gonzaga University; is on the Seattle mayor’s Education Summit Advisory Group; and also serves on the boards of College Spark Washington and the Rwanda Girls Initiative. Nationally, Taylor is a member of the faculty of the Academy for Contemplative and Ethical Leadership, which is part of the Mind and Life Institute. Internationally, he has worked with South African township schools and school leaders to help form a coalition of schools to serve children living in township communities.

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Know Before You Go

Don't have your tickets?

Most tickets have been emailed, so be sure to check your inbox for an email from Call us at 206-621-2230 x10 if you can’t find them.

Have a question for the speaker?

Want to ask Malcolm Gladwell something? Send your question to SAL’s Associate Director at—it might be asked onstage! This Q&A will be moderated by Dr. Edward Taylor, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the University of Washington.


Literary Arts Series and Create-Your-Own Series subscribers receive a copy of Talking to Strangers. You should receive a Gladwell Book Ticket with your admission ticket. Exchange this ticket at the book tables located at the main entrance to Benaroya Hall before or after the event.

Note: Student/U25 & complimentary subscriptions do not receive a book.

University Book Store will have copies of Gladwell’s work available for purchase at their table in the lobby.

Patrons & Grand Patrons, you're invited to Happy Hour!

Patrons & Grand Patrons, join us for light bites and wine on the Promenade at Benaroya Hall from 6:30 to 7:15.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the largest event space at Benaroya Hall. 

Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

By Car

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5 via Westbound I-90
    Take the 2C exit for I-5 North. Follow signs for Madison Street/Convention Place and merge right onto Seventh Avenue. Turn left onto Madison Street. Proceed three blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue four blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Public Transit (Bus & Light Rail)
Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.


Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. This option is present at every event at Benaroya Hall in our 2019/20 Season. For digital streams of online events, all pre-recorded and live online events will have either open or closed captioning.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Benaroya Hall has an infrared hearing system, which transmits sound by light beams. Headsets are available in The Boeing Company Gallery coat check and the Head Usher stations in both lobbies.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals. To make a request for interpretation, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Sign Language Interpretation” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process and we will contact you to confirm details. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at our venues, and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Among other features, Benaroya Hall has designated parking spaces adjacent to elevators in their parking garage. Elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. To reserve seating for a specific mobility concern, you may select “Wheelchair Accessible or Alternative Seating Options” during ticket checkout, and we will contact you to confirm details. For more details on their accessibility features, click here.

Guide and service dogs are welcome.

Gender neutral restrooms are available.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at, or Monday-Friday from 10:00am – 5:00pm at 206.621.2230×10.

For more accessibility information, please head to If you would like to make accessibility arrangements you do not see listed here, please contact our box office or select “Other Accommodations” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process, and we will contact you to confirm details.