Analysis Of Outliers By Malcolm Gladwell

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Gladwell’s Formula for Success

Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success delves into the different aspects and situations that allow for individuals to become immensely successful. In doing so, he has come up with an enticing formula that suggests that success is the result of fortunate circumstances more so than just hard work and innate talent. He attempts to make the reader view success differently than is traditionally accepted. His formulaic approach has resulted in much support as well as severe criticisms such as Michiko Kakutani’s remark that he “tries to extrapolate [his] observations into broader hypotheses about success…[pivoting] deceptively around various anecdotes and studies that are selective in the extreme”. …show more content…

In this chapter, he presents a strong argument supporting this notion of accumulative advantage that can help predict success for individuals. This sociological phenomenon makes logical sense, that those who experience advantages in certain aspects of life at a young age would continue to separate themselves from those deprived of such opportunity. He applies this phenomenon to a wide variety of situations further supporting his argument. One example Gladwell presents is that statistically hockey players born directly after the eligibility age-class cutoff are more likely to succeed. Why? Because they are more physically mature than younger players, thus being selected for special competitive programs, which is the beginning of their accumulated advantage. Although this is a logical conclusion, upon further investigation of the 2007 Medicine Hat Tigers hockey team Gladwell cites it is clear that the players are far from average when it comes to height and weight. The players average a weight of 185.12 pounds and a height of 5’ 11.6” while the average American male from the ages 16-20 is 5’8” and 135-160 pounds (Donway). This clearly shows that despite their birthdays, there are other important factors such as genetics that allow them to fit the specific profile of an elite hockey player, being heavier and taller than the average …show more content…

Analyzing the successes of individuals such as Bill Gates to The Beatle’s, he estimates that an upbringing of accumulative advantages and ten thousands hours of practice can explain their success. While his examples seem well documented, he fails to bring into consideration many other variables that would have large statistical significance in his model of success. First off, 10,000 is a relatively arbitrary number that cannot be scientifically proven, only hypothesized with modern science. In each example, the individual studied seemingly had practiced more than ten thousand hours, but there is no indication that at exactly then thousand hours, something magical happens nor do they reach the pinnacle of their success. The examples Gladwell chooses to fits his theoretical model about success are too limited. He deduces that it was simply a result of accumulated advantages and a certain measure of practice that depicts success without providing empirical evidence. In the model Gladwell presents, he uses individualized case studies and generalizes them to fit as an explanatory model of success for all people. Additionally, he describes The Beatles’ success as having been a result of repeatedly being invited to play in Hamburg, thus performing many hours a day. While this could be true, and helped propel them to a successful career, The Beatles were only one

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