Outliers: the Story of Success

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Knowledge and intelligence are specific characteristic traits that can lead us to experiencing professional success. Suppose a child scores within the 135-140 range on an IQ test. People would assume that child will become successful in life based on their high IQ score. The question is, how are certain people able to succeed in life while others tend to struggle? Is it solely based off their intelligence or IQ? Opportunities? Race and culture? In Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Trouble with Geniuses, Part 2” and “The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes”, two chapters taken from his book Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), claims that there is a misunderstanding on what success is and how it can be achieved. Gladwell feels that the idea of having an extremely high IQ and success is faulty because there are various other factors to consider that can contribute to levels of success. In chapter four Gladwell argues that it is not a high IQ that defines success, but concerted cultivation. He emphasizes that concerted cultivation and opportunities given are essential to success regardless of one’s intelligence level because it is difficult to achieve success alone. He provides an example with a character named Chris Langan who had been limited to opportunities and success. In chapter seven, Gladwell claims that communication is an important principle to succeed professionally. However, Gladwell’s claims are complicated and supported by two other sources, "Dave Chapelle talks with Charlie Rose" (2007) by Charlie Rose and “Rethinking Hofstede: Intercultural Management in Poland” (2003) by Greg Allen.

In chapter four “The Trouble with Geniuses, Part 2”, Gladwell discusses how success is measured not through intelligence, rather by how you get to that point in life through opportunities by “concerted cultivation.” Gladwell introduces the term “concerted cultivation”, meaning you teach your kid how to be assertive and ask questions to authority at a young age because it will then shape them into being a genius with motivation. He compares and contrasts two characters Chris Langan and Robert Oppenheimer. Chris Langan had a poor childhood and his family did not support him with his education nor did he have any sources that would shape him to be successful. His mother forgot to sign his financial aid form, which led him to have no scholarship. He says, “‘If Christopher had been born into a wealthy family, if he was a son of a doctor who was well connected . . . It’s the culture you find yourself in that determines that” (Gladwell, 110). However, on the other hand, Robert Oppenheimer was born into a rich family and went to Harvard and Cambridge University to get a doctorate in physics. He says, “This is the advantage that Oppenheimer had and that Chris Langan lacked. Oppenheimer was raised in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods” (Gladwell, 108). Gladwell’s idea of “concerted cultivation” pertains to his main claim that success is misinterpreted because some people are born into having opportunities, while others are not because of the cultural advantages they are given. Even though Langan had limited opportunities and a non-supportive family, he is an “outlier” because he was just as smart and intelligent as Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was born into a family with concerted cultivation which can accredit to his success in life. The author seems to establish an effective claim because he compares and contrasts the different lifestyles between Langan and Oppenheimer which can easily relate to the audience and appeal emotion because he compares a poor working class vs. middle upper class. Gladwell has an effective claim because he compares and contrasts a famous character who was well-off opposed to someone non-famous and did not have much support from his family. This allows the audience to show sympathy for Langan because his family was given different opportunities than Oppenheimer because of the culture he grew up in. This relates back to his...
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