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Outliers Essay

853 words - 4 pages

Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers, gives the definition of an outlier to be “something that is situated away from or classified differently from a main or related body” (3). While he does supply this definition he never specifies what he defines as success. Using his numerous examples of what Gladwell considers to a successful person, it is safe to conclude that his definition would be – success is a mixture of opportunity, intelligence, and hard work. When these three characteristics are combined it equals great success, and cannot be reached with only one or two of these things, all three must be present. Gladwell presents multiple instances where these three qualities contribute to ...view middle of the document...

Those children deprived of these opportunities have little to no chance of making it professional without the same practice time. In this instance, intelligence does not play a huge part in the success of these men, but it is still a factor. The amount of concentration and willpower it takes to practice over and over again for something is equal to what intelligence contributes to success.
In order to support Gladwell’s implied definition of success, he gives an important example of an extremely intelligent man and his lack of success. This man, Christopher Langan, had an IQ of 195, under different circumstances he would have been on the same level in life as Einstein. But because he was deprived of opportunities to succeed he floundered in life. Gladwell makes an important comment that “extraordinary achievement is less about talent than it is about opportunity” (76). Unlike the hockey players born at the right month, and Bill Joy born in the best year for him to flourish in computers, Langan was born into a broken and poor family. Despite his incredible intelligence, his lack of opportunities caused him to struggle to become successful. Others were given the opportunities to not have to work everyday for money, therefore could concentrate more in school, he also was deprived of having practical intelligence. This intelligence is less of an opportunity and more of a type of intelligence that Langan did not posses. If Langan had been more into a different family or perhaps a different area, he would have surely thrived.

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