Malcolm Gladwell is a best selling author. His books include The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. His February 14 column for The New Yorker is titled “The Order of Things: What College Rankings Really Tell Us“. The link is to a summary but it is available in Lexis.
Much of Gladwell’s writing deals with the unexpected implications of research in the social sciences:
- How small-scale social events can have massive implications (The Tipping Point)
- How our subconscious interprets events or cues and how people are able to make informed decisions very rapidly (Blink)
- How environment and personal drive and motivation affects opportunities for success (Outliers)
This is someone who knows how to interpret statistics. He looked at various rankings in U.S. News, the Wall Street Journal, and Car and Driver. The article is an understandable explanation of how the ratings schemes are conducted and what they actually measure.