What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures is the fourth book released by author Malcolm Gladwell, on October 20, 2009. The book is a compilation of the journalist's articles published in The New Yorker.
Open Secrets: Enron, Intelligence, and the Perils of Too Much Information
Does the name Jeffrey Skilling sound familiar? Remember the Enron scandal? Skilling had been convicted by a jury of fraud and was ordered to turn everything he owned over to a fund to compensate former shareholders of Enron, the company he had built up into an energy-trading monster. He then appeared in the courtroom for sentencing for his criminal case. He offered remorse, but as witness after witness testified to how he had wiped out their retirement accounts due to Enron’s bankruptcy, it became clear to the judge that he didn’t deserve any mercy. Skilling was sentenced to 24 years in prison. The judge denied a request by his lawyer for him to serve his time in a lower facility.
If you sat through Skilling’s trial, you’d think that the Enron scandal was a puzzle. Gregory Treverton, a national security expert once famously made a distinction between puzzles and mysteries. If things go wrong with a puzzle, identifying the culprit is easy, it’s the person who withheld information. Mysteries though are murkier: sometimes the information we’re given is inadequate, sometimes we don’t make good sense of the given information, and sometimes the question itself can’t be answered. “Puzzles come to satisfying conclusions, mysteries often don’t."
As it turns out, the Enron story wasn’t a puzzle... it was a mystery. The overvaluation of Enron, combined with their sketchy practices with special-purpose entities (legal entities setup to protect a company from financial risk), made it very difficult for anyone to understand the full complexity and depth of the Enron mystery. Gladwell refers to it as the most paradigmatic scandal of the information age. (Quicklet)
This is teaching materials for a New Yorker article.
The vocabulary, questions, and research for this article are mostly related to the Enron scandal, the nature of information.
Before the reading or the assessment, there is a pre-reading sheet that asks students for prior knowledge, opinions, and prediction on the subject, along with vocabulary acquisition (words that need to be introduced to better understand the information) and priming the reader in order to get them to think about the subject.
The post-reading assessments included vocabulary acquisition, critical thinking questions, and recall or comprehension questions on one sheet. These questions come in the form of a mixture of matching, short answer, and multiple-choice. By completing this sheet the student will demonstrate an understanding of the material on multiple levels. The student will also need to use the internet to complete some simple research to answer
The other assessment is a creative art sheet. The creative art sheet asks the student to use the details from the article and their own knowledge, experiences, and imagination to synthesize a totally new work, this is a picture that is a visual representation that recreates of details, person or maybe the student's use or view of an aspect of the article. Along with this picture the student will explain their work with a short explanation.
While these articles are part of Gladwell’s book “What the Dog Saw” they were all previously publish and are available free for download on the author's website and from the New Yorker, as this is the case I am including the article.
The materials provided
1 Informational article
1 Post-reading informational article worksheet
1 Pre-reading informational article worksheet
1 Creative Art Sheet
1 Answer Key