Malcolm Gladwell Outliers

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To look beyond the person as an individual; to understand the cultural, familial, and fraternal ingredients that make a “self” “the self”. This seems to be the task of Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers: the Story of Success. Divided into parts on “Opportunity” and “Legacy” the writings of Gladwell focus on shattering the myth that “success is exclusively a matter of merit” (67). As Gladwell exhibits, through the example of Hockey, the common belief is that “Success…is based on individual merit” (17). However, after a thoughtful analysis of precursory, and undeserved opportunities, such as, birth month, time spent practicing due to being selected because of age grouping, and “accumulative advantage[s],” all of the opportunities were critical to the success of the all-star hockey player; not just talent (30). Moreover, due to the arbitrary access to more practice, an individual (like the hockey player example) is allowed more of a chance to develop their skills.…show more content…
Insomuch as Gladwell has attempted a unified theory of communication the aforementioned ideas are better suited for the personalized perspective. Even though Gladwell’s theory is predicated on the inclusion of culture qua nationalistic or territorial, cultural understanding, he does embed the realization of the "personal" when he states that, “Each of us has his or her own distinct personality” (204). In summing up Gladwell’s argument, the lesson he forwards is very simple. If we continue to believe in the myth of the “self-made” individual, we will continually seek out some strange gifted individual that never existed. In order to be more effective as a society or better stated, a world community, “We need to replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success – the fortunate birth dates and the happy accidents of history – with a society that provides opportunities for all”

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