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MasterClass has grown really quickly in recent years and is becoming a market leader in online learning.
A reason they’ve become so popular is the use of famous experts as teachers. One celebrity tutor is Malcolm Gladwell who teaches a course on writing. I’m both a huge book nerd along with a Galdwell fan, so I had to try the course out for myself.
In this article, we will give a Malcolm Gladwell MasterClass review.
Don’t Want to Wait? Here’s Our Verdict
Malcolm Gladwell’s MasterClass has a lot of terrific insights that only Gladwell can do justice with. He talks a lot about his writing process and tips to get the most out of your nonfiction or magazine-style pieces.
If you’re an absolute beginner with writing, you may find parts of the course a little too in-depth initially, although there’s a lot you can revisit when the time arises. Likewise, if you’re a seasoned pro, you may find the course a little too general. I know as a seasoned writer, I’d love to hear a few Gladwell deep-dives that cover one small topic.
Don’t expect to buy this course and suddenly write like Gladwell. But there’s definitely a lot of great tips and tricks any writer can use.
What Is MasterClass and How Much Does It Cost?
MasterClass is an online education platform that’s open to the public to become students. The technical term is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). However, unlike other options like Udemy, MasterClass separates themselves by offering courses taught by the very best in their field.
You can have Steve Martin talk to you about cooking, R. L. Stine talking about Children’s books, Serena Williams teaching you how to play tennis and more!
A great strategy that MasterClass uses is to have their content in clusters. So, for example, if you’re a writer, there isn’t just one course you’ll want to take – there’s multiple. This helps MasterClass’s pricing structure (more on that later).
Each MasterClass ranges from about 2-5 hours in total and is broken down into smaller bite-sized lessons, around 15-20 minutes. There’s also a free PDF workbook that comes with additional information, lesson notes, and coursework.
Regarding pricing, MasterClass has three pricing options. You can either:
- Pay $90 for one course
- Pay $15 a month for unlimited access
- Pay $180 a year for unlimited streaming
This is not a bad pricing structure as I dare say it would cost more than $90 to get Steph Curry to help my work on my jump-shot one-on-one.
Read our full MasterClass review for more information.
Who Is Malcolm Gladwell?
Well, if you’re here, you probably already know who Malcolm Gladwell is. However, if you landed here by accident, I’ll give a quick rundown on him.
Malcolm Gladwell is a writer who has penned a bunch of New York Times bestsellers – The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, David and Goliath, and Talking To Strangers.
Gladwell has also been a staff writer for The New Yorker since the mid-90s and wrote for the Washington Post before that.
Gladwell also hosts the popular podcast, Revisionist History.
Who Will Benefit From the Course?
Gladwell’s MasterClass has an emphasis on nonfiction writing and writing in his journalistic manner. Gladwell kinda has created his own genre of nonfiction, so it’s hard to describe as anything else other than Gladwell-ian.
This course does a great job of talking about how Gladwell writes and skills you can use in your work as a writer. The people who’ll get the most out of this course are:
- Experienced nonfiction writers looking to pick up a few pro tips
- Fiction writers who want to add a bit more realism into their writing
- Fans of Gladwell who want to see how the sausage is made with his books
What I Loved About Malcolm Gladwell’s MasterClass
There is a lot to like about Gladwell’s MasterClass. Here are some of my favorite parts:
- Gladwell is a terrific presenter. You can certainly tell he has experience hosting podcasts and audiobooks.
- There’s an in-depth PDF workbook that’s easy to download. That means that if you cancel your membership, you still keep the PDF! There’s a bunch of enjoyable activities that reinforce the work.
- There’s a focus on being an excellent reader, rather than just an excellent writer. You’ll learn a lot about being a better writer when you analyze what you’re reading.
- A bunch of little inside tips. One of my favorite lessons is the ’embrace jargon’ lesson that focuses on giving your reader some knowledge of key terms. He shows it by referencing his work about a cancer pill and the “Kaplan-Meier curve” which all new medicine has to be charted against. It’s a great lesson!
- Another great tip is to read the sources of your sources. This goes into the ‘being a better reader’ section that we spoke about before
- There’s also a community of other learners that you can chat with – the forum isn’t too active, but it plays a role.
What I Didn’t Love
I liked Gladwell’s course and took a lot from it, but it certainly isn’t for everyone.
For starters, don’t get the course if you think it’ll be Malcolm Gladwell teaching you how to write nonfiction. Instead, he (and most other MasterClass experts) chat about particular topics related to their specialty and give a few pointers and advice along the way.
A great example of this is the class project. While it’s a cool project that emphasizes writing in Gladwell’s style, it’s never mentioned in the course videos. This kinda makes it seem like the activities are created by MasterClass staff and not the experts themselves. I could be wrong on that, but that’s the impression I got. This is compared to The Great Courses Plus where activities are usually included at the end of each lesson.
All in all though, these are relatively small nits I’m picking on what is a great course with a lot of helpful insights.
Malcolm Gladwell MasterClass Verdict
All in all, if you’re a Gladwell fan or a nonfiction writer you’ll get a lot of valuable information from this MasterClass. Price-wise, $90 for the individual course is pretty reasonable – especially if you’re as big a fan as I am of Gladwell’s work. However, with the all-access membership, you can get access to all the other writer-based classes.
Other MasterClass Courses
If you’re interested in other courses, read our other individual MasterClass recaps: