Here's a contrarian take on Gladwell from John Gray at the New Republic: "Malcolm Gladwell Is America's Best-Paid Fairy-Tale Writer:The heavily-footnoted uplift of 'David and Goliath'"--
What is striking about Gladwell’s work is not its distance from academic theorizing but the uncritical reverence that he displays toward the academic mind. He describes himself as a storyteller, but for him the story is never enough; it must be supported, and thereby legitimated, by prestigious academic studies and copious references. He is a high priest in the cult of “studies.” He feels on safe ground only when he is able to render his story into the supposed exactitude of quantitative social science. “How often do you think the bigger side wins?” he asks rhetorically. The reader does not have to wait long for an answer: “When the political scientist Ivan Arreguín-Toft did the calculation a few years ago, what he came up with was 71.5 percent. Just under a third of the time, the weaker country wins.“
I've only read Gladwell's first book, The Tipping Point, though not due to any objection to his "uncritical reverence" for the "academic mind." I've always enjoyed his magazine pieces in the New Yorker. Gladwell is rarely boring. I'll probably read his other books in time.