Researching a novel calls for "a magpie instinct for facts that do a lot of work. There's a great bit in Ulysses where Bloom goes into a pub and orders a glass of claret and a gorgonzola sandwich. Suddenly pubs in Dublin at the beginning of the 20th century come alive for you in a way that the price of a pint of Guinness wouldn't deliver."
Just so. There are writers out there who feel compelled to throw in every damned scrap of research they've done, just so you can feel how authentic it is. The result is that is reads as totally inauthentic.
And, in novels with a contemporary setting, he avoids wherever possible specific references to real events/people and so on. They cause 'built-in obsolescence', he suggests. I don't know I quite agree with that. It is going to an extreme, surely. But I suppose the difficulty is knowing which people/brands/events will still be remembered in ten years time and which are the Sarah Palins, about whom future generations will scratch their heads and ask 'who?'