The Matthew effect
Argues success is earned as a result of the Matthew effect.
Traditionally, most of us would believe that success is often a product of talent and practise
Gladwell challenges this view by saying age and the perception of others plays an important role in dictating a person’s success.
The Bible verse many are familiar with “for unto anyone that hath shall be given and he shall have abundance. but from him that hath not shall be taken away from him even that which he hath.” Matthew 25:29 acts to put the idea in perspective. those who are successful are given special opportunities that further enhance their talent leading to success
the opportunities you are given leads to undeserved, unearned advantages that you gain over majority of others that are in the same situation as you leads to your own success. -; presents success as an accumulative advantage. “We are much too in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those who fail.” given opportunities (head start) leads to other opportunities.
Gladwell identifies the importance of your birth date (when and where) in relation to success, and blatantly points out that it is not only the case for athletes, but for musicians, dancers, and education
supported by example he provides about the sports team; how most players born earlier in the year are often the best players, especially compare to the younger players that have a physical disadvantage (usually being smaller) and a noticeable difference in maturity that makes younger players more unnoticed from an earlier age.
Without the right opportunity and attention given, Gladwell believes that a person is more unlikely to succeed.
He uses the figurative language technique of analogy to convey his idea. “the tallest oak in the forest is the tallest not just because it grew from the hardiest acorn; it is tallest because no other tree blocked its sunlight…” This anecdote of the oak represents how people become successful not from pure hard work or innate talent but of enduring hard conditions)
anecdote to show that his claims are actually backed up by facts. The use of anecdote furthers validates his view and perception about success by showing its readers that his claims are not just base on his own opinions but also base on facts and statistics.
Ten Thousand Hour Rule
Gladwell takes a study done by the psychologist K. Anders Ericsson that observed the performance of violinist to find out the determining factor of being world-class violinists. The study concluded that it wasn’t innate talent or money rather the hours of practise.
Study discovered that violinists that practised about 4,000 hours were only good enough to become music teachers whereas the students that totalled 10 000 hours practise became elite performers.
talent is overrated no one who’s successful just became successful overnight it was the practise involved to master that skill that made them successful
It’s only by asking where they are from that we can unravel the logic behind those who succeed and those who don’t
Rice paddies and Math tests
Asians are better performing at mathematics and other academics due to the amount of dedication and work in which the Asians take and are engrained with from their birth.
Gladwell explains the elaborate process that goes into making rice paddies and compares it to the less complex process of growing wheat. “Rice paddies are “built,” not “opened up” a way a wheat field is.” The comparison of western and asian culture is linked to how asians are better at maths
reinforces the stereotype that all Asians are great at maths.
expert opinion of a Northwestern University psychologist, Karen Fuson, who explains how the asian system is transparent because of how the Chinese language translates numbers into the exact logical words. “For fractions we say three-fifths. The Chinese is literally ‘out of five parts take three'” – goes on to say how that makes the whole attitude towards maths different.
The hard work and dedication required to build a rice paddy translates to asians also being hardworking in maths
The Armstrong Lie by Alex Gibney
Presents Armstrong as someone who would go to extreme lengths to succeeded even if the price to pay is high
“I can’t stand the idea of loosing because to me that means death”
Armstrong used his position as a celebrity to cover up his lies the documentary shows him being questioned by press on multiple occasions to show the extent he was willing to go to to maintain his lie.
Shows how abuse of power is very prevalent in contemporary society.
Challenge the common conception of success as being directly linked to hard work and merit.
Gibney highlights the reality where winning at all costs is valued even if success is achieved through immoral means. Watching the documentary gives me the realisation that theres always people that will find a way to succeed without putting the same work in as everyone else.
He was defending his team, himself, his foundation there was a lot on the line.
Made peace with the US postal system, reached a settlement paying 6.5 million – still a winner.
“why show up with a knife if everyone else has guns” – analogy of gun fight
view success as more of a battle that has high prices to pay. whereas outliers presents it as a straightforward concept that is difficult to achieve without uncontrollable advantages.