The Outliers Study Guide Essay

1217 words - 5 pages

Themes
Success and Failure
Malcolm Gladwell’s primary objective in Outliers is to examine achievement and failure as cultural phenomena in order to determine the factors that typically foster success. His main argument—that success results from a complicated mix of factors, requires taking a closer look at why certain people, and even entire groups of people, thrive while others fail. Gladwell builds his argument on close examinations of typical “success stories,” in which a “self-made” man or woman overcomes great odds and succeeds based purely on talent and “merit.” Athletics, business, and academics are fields where people often achieve success seemingly as a result of individual merit. Athletic professionals are prodigies or all-stars, wealthy businessmen are preternaturally savvy and motivated, successful academics are “geniuses.” Gladwell’s book demonstrates how these perceptions of success are misguided or inaccurate—there is more to any person’s success story than his or her individual talent (see “Talent, Opportunity, Work, and Luck” below). The other side of this coin is the cultural discourse surrounding failure—just as we have internalized certain narratives of success, we tell ourselves similar stories about failure. Malcolm’s argument examines the many ways in which we rationalize or understand failure, and often employs anecdotal evidence and statistical analysis to debunk commonly held beliefs about failure. For instance, many athletes fail not because they aren’t innately skilled enough but because of other seemingly random factors, including even their date of birth. Similar often overlooked factors determine success or failure in every profession. Gladwell’s overarching message in Outliers is one of empowerment. By debunking commonly held misconceptions about why people actually succeed and fail, Gladwell reveals to his readers the real “secret” to success: an impossible-to-bottle mixture of timing, luck, cultural heritage, and thousands of hours of practice.

Talent, Opportunity, Work, and Luck
Gladwell is keenly interested in investigating the complex and often misunderstood relationships among individual talent, hard work, opportunity, and luck in creating “outliers,” like star athletes, highly successful entrepreneurs, and famous academics. Gladwell endeavors to show that individual talent is necessary but not sufficient to achieve success. The surrounding context of available opportunity is also crucial. For example, Bill Gates would never have been so successful without his unusually frequent exposure to computing technology in an era where computers were still rare. Mozart had tremendous innate talent, but just as important a contributor to his success was the opportunity and time he had to practice composing music for thousands of hours, making him more successful than others who, for a variety of reasons, did not have such time. These outliers were not only talented and willing to work hard—they were able to.
...

Find Another Essay On The Outliers - Study Guide

American government study guide-Some have the answers, some don't

1245 words - 5 pages Direct Democracy-Procedures such as the initiative, the referendum, and the recall, by which voters can have a direct impact on policy making and the political process by means of the voting booth.Representative democracy-A basic principle of traditional democratic theory that describes the relationship between the few leaders and the many followers.Majority rule-A fundamental principle of traditional democratic theory. In a democracy, choosing

Study Guide for Theater: The Lively Art, Chapters 10 – 19

6283 words - 26 pages -theatrical theorist -proposed the theory of cruelty in the 1930s. ~theory of cruelty: characterized by its emphasis on sensory. ~visionary concept of theatre based on magical and ritual, which would liberate deep, violent, and erotic impulses. -argued that western theatre needed to be totally transformed because its literary tradition, which emphasized language, was antithetical to its ritualistic origins -western artists should study the

Study Guide for Wilson & Goldfarb, Chapters 1 9 of Theater: The Lively Art

5343 words - 22 pages (The terms below are not necessarily in the order of the chapters. In addition to using this review guide, be sure you have read all the assigned chapters.) text/script: story, incident, or event put into theatrical form. -provides the plan for a production, like a blueprint. -understood to be the domain of the dramatist or playwright. -a story was chosen to be told; selected dramatic episodes, including the order in which they were to

This is a guide for the students on how they should study To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

4245 words - 17 pages , unnecessarily strong-armed beliefs, used to protect worthless fascist mores. About the fence are "...six chipped-enamel slop jars holding brilliant red geraniums..." used to symbolically relate Mayella's possible inner and outer beauty, despite the deplorable conditions which she grew in, were she not trapped within her family.Lee occasionally uses weather as well to provide some insight and to act as a prophetic guide to the turbulent

Pre-Civil War Study Notes 1776-1861. A comprehensive guide to major events, laws, and important people before the Civil War

1166 words - 5 pages The Declaration of Independence- document in American history used by the 13 British North American colonies to proclaim their independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was adopted in final form on July 4, 1776.The Northwest Ordinance- 1787 The ordinance provided for the formation of not less than three, nor more than five, states. It defined the boundaries of these states, forbade slavery in the territoryThe

This Is An A-1 Study Guide. It Earned Me An A On My Test On World War II. It Has The Events Leading Up To World War II Up Until The End Of World War II

1413 words - 6 pages 1)Rise of Nazis GermanyHitler claimed Germany needed more living space. They took steps towards Austria, but pulled back when Italy mobilized. When they were Allies, Germany again went into Austria claiming that they were providing political stability.2)Use of the cause of German unity for Hitler's expansion of territoryHitler claimed that he was uniting Germans and providing political stability by uniting German-speaking individuals into one

Outliers: Out of the Ordinary

1179 words - 5 pages Malcolm Gladwell insists throughout his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, that the recipe for achievement is not simply based on personal talents or innate abilities alone. Gladwell offers the uncommon idea that outliers largely depend upon “extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies” (Gladwell19). According to Gladwell, successful men and women are beneficiaries of relationships, occasions, places, and cultures. The author draws on a

Statistics 261 Exam 1 Study Guide - Miami University STA 261 - Study Guide

653 words - 3 pages Deviation & Mean (use only if symmetric with no outliers)** - Explanatory (X--one that explains, predicts, effects) vs Response (Y-the outcome of the study) variable. Role Type Classifications (when performing these EDAs, always use visual displays & numerical sumar. -Case CQ: use side-by-side boxplots and numerical summaries of descriptive statistics. -Case CC: use a two-way table or double bar charts and numerical summaries of conditional

The Recipe for Success

598 words - 3 pages Success can be determined in various ways. There are many formulas that people can try to calculate a person’s chance of achieving success. As stated in the book Outliers, by bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell, there are many factors that determine success. Gladwell after all is successful. He has published five books, was named one of Times magazine 100 most influential people, and won the American Sociological Association's first award for

What Factors Most Determine Success?

1143 words - 5 pages are culture, luck, and practice. Another point of view is in his book “Outliers,” Gladwell writes “When outliers become outliers it is not because of their own efforts. It’s because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances, and that means we, as a society, have more control about who succeeds - and how many of us succeed – than we think.” (pg. 7-8; Reading Group Guide) is what composes long-term

Outliers Analysis

912 words - 4 pages The definition of success varies around the world, but according to Malcolm Gladwell its achievement can be broken down into a few components. Although Gladwell never truly establishes credibility in his book Outliers, he still backs up his proposed theories with reputable studies and sources which intrigue the audience to keep reading.The purpose of Outliers was to enlighten people about the different elements of success while also informing

Similar Essays

The Hobbit Study Guide Chapters 1 6 English 4 Homework Assignment

1965 words - 8 pages ANSWER KEY: SHORT ANSWER STUDY GUIDE QUESTIONS/ANSWERS - The Hobbit Chapter 1 1. List 10 characteristics of hobbits. half our height, no beards, no magic, fat stomachs, dress in bright colors, feet have leathery soles and hairy tops, good natured faces, long brown fingers, plain & quiet folk, no use for adventure, love to eat smoke & blow smoke rings, used to tunneling, do not lose sense of direction underground, move quietly, hide easily

The Questions Were Given As A Study Guide For My Hinduism Test. The Answers Cover The Basics Of The Religion

1592 words - 6 pages STUDY GUIDE FOR FIRST TEST - HINDUISM.What is the name of the scriptures of Hinduism? When were they written? Which part of them describes the philosophical beliefs of Hinduism?Vedas was written in 1500 BC. Philosophical sections (upanishads) are included. The hymn sections are the oldest. The others were added at a later date and each explains some aspect of the hymns or follows one line of interpreting them.What are the four goals in life in

The Stone Angel Study Guide Essay

9751 words - 39 pages English 3201 Novel Study The Stone Angel Student Handbook Overview of the Novel The story is told from the viewpoint of Hagar Shipley, the protagonist in the novel. Hagar is seen at the age of 90 years attempting to come to grips and understand her life, as she reminisces about her childhood, her marriage, and her struggle with life through flashbacks in the novel. The story reveals Hagar's attempts to release her inner emotions and feelings

A Study Of The African American Mosaic: A Library Of Congress Resource Guide For The Study Of Black History And Culture

600 words - 2 pages One of the many exhibits displayed at the Library of Congress is The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture. The exhibit covers nearly 500 years of African-American history in the Western Hemisphere. It includes books, periodicals, prints, photographs, music, film, and recorded sound covering four substantive areas: (1) Colonization, (2) Abolition, (3) Migrations, and (4) the