Sunday, August 07, 2011

Highlights from Malcolm Gladwell's Book "Outliers"

No time to read Outliers yourself?  Or maybe you actually care what I think?  Either way I will be posting my highlights from Outliers as I read through.
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August 9, 2011
Highlight from Chapter 1:  The Matthew Effect

This chapter provides evidential support for how rich getting richer and the poor get poorer. The Matthew Effect, essentially, is the effect of accumulative advantage.  From sports to school your life is guided by arbitrary things like your birthdate, socioeconomics, proximity to opportunity, etc.

A young person who wants to play a sport will benefit or suffer depending on the team selection cut date.  If you are 8 to 12 months younger than the same boys or girls in your age group you are at a huge disadvantage when competing for prestigious sponsored teams.  The same goes for educational access.  If you are entering 1st grade with students who are 6 to 12 months older than you than you are highly likely not to be judged as intelligent, as gifted or as ready to be given special advantages that "smarter" students receive.

Gladwell suggests that sports and schools group incoming students by age blocks and not just by arbitrary cut off dates that can severely effect student outcomes.
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August 7, 2011
Highlight from Introduction: The Roseto Mystery

A town in Pennsylvania is mysteriously healthy with the single most cause of death being old age.  What was the answer to this mystery?

I love the answer even though I have no idea if it is true or not but it sounds perfectly wonderful.  Roseto's culture seems to be where its longevity and health are maintained.  They, being of mostly italian descent, had created a comfortable community with a "social structure".  Many homes had "three generations living under one roof".  Grandparents were respected which means the knowledge of experienced elders was heeded.  The church was a unifying and calming element within the community.There were at least "twenty-two separate civic organizations in a town of just under two thousand people."  They also worked hard to make sure their was a semblance of socio-economic equality.  The rich do not stand out and those that need help are given that help discreetly.

"The Rosetans had created a powerful, protective social structure capable of insulating them from the pressures of the modern world.  The Rosetans were healthy because of...of the world they had created for themselves..."

This is such a fabulous lesson because it make me believe we can create social structures that make us healthier and wealthier both in our minds and our physical being.
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Malcolm Gladwell caught my attention by turning tomato sauce into an interesting story worthy of a conference keynote.  He is an interesting looking person and definitely is not a Tony Robbins impersonator.

Check out the 2004 video of Malcolm Gladwell here: http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_on_spaghetti_sauce.html  ---
Great Quotes from Malcolm Gladwell:
"You are not looking for the perfect Pepsi.  You are looking for the perfect Pepsies.!"
"By embracing the diversity of human beings we will find a surer way to true happiness."

http://www.twitter.com/gladwell