The introduction of the book explains us the objectives of the author and provides with the picturesque description of some neighborhood in Pennsylvania. This was the city of immigrants from the Roseto Valfortore. This neighborhood was leading its own life. The most interesting fact about this community was an extremely low level of various heart diseases. It is obvious that doctors and researches wanted to find out the reason of such fact, but they had to be convinced to look on the health from the absolutely new perspective. In the case of that community, the reason was egalitarian ethos which was transshipped from Roseto in Italy. Even the introduction to the book shows that the approach to various problems is different from usual. In that case, people had to pay a closer look to the culture they were living in and to take into consideration various values. The same approach is applied to the topic of success. Sometimes success does not depend on the pure talent or hard work only, very often the world itself and people’s surrounding leads them to success. The development of such point of view actually helps to become much more creative and resourceful in engineering, as these are not only common believes and ideas that are considered. The creative thinking helps to find something what stands beyond the usual picture of the world.
Part One: Opportunity
The chapter begins with the description of two best hockey teams and the depiction of the victory of one of them. The author tries to analyze why some people became a success. In the process of taking a closer look of the team players, he understood that most of them were born in January. Gladwell explains that this happens not because of the horoscope; the reason is that the cutoff to the team is on the first of January. That means that one player, who was born earlier than the date above mentioned will have to play against someone who might be 364 days younger. That is definitely an advantage. The same story is in the European soccer. And it concerns not only sports, but mathematics as well. The general conclusion is that children who are much closer to the cutoff have more chances to go to the college. The chapter is named the ‘Matthew Effect’. This is the term created by the sociologist Robert Merton after the New Testament verse in the Gospel of Matthew. It goes about the fact that those people are successful, who are most likely to be provided with certain opportunities that lead to further success. The examples might be the facts that the rich are most likely to get the biggest tax breaks and the best students will receive the most attention. Generally speaking the success is the result of a so-called ‘accumulative advantage’. From this we might conclude that it would be wise to subdivide the classes and teams according to the month, to make the chances more or less similar. Generally speaking I agree with the idea about the age differences that matter in the process of studies, however, a lot depends on the individual peculiarities. There are enough players who were born in December and might show better results than those born in January. I believe that sometimes coincidences are just conjecture and they have much less influence on personal achievements than the inborn talent. However, people should pay more attention to the selection process. Generally speaking it might help to gain higher results and have more chances to achieve the goal, as everyone would feel abreast. I have never felt any particular difference in the education process, the reason might be that I was born in January, though.
The second chapter
The 10,000 Hour Rule
The general idea of the chapter is that those who are professionals do not require practice as much as those who are the beginners only. Gladwell gives the idea that 10 000 hours of practice make the people famous and successful. He provides a lot of examples to support his idea. He starts from the explanation that all of the professional musicians practice for about 10, 000 hours before they reached the age of being 20. the main example is Mozart, who produced his masterpieces when he have already been composing for 10 years. The other example deals with Bill Joy who had a perfect opportunity to attend the university that had the time-sharing system for computers. That means that he was able to dedicate almost all of his time to the computer revolution while programming. The other example is the band Beatles, who also gained their successes thanks to the fact they had to give concerts at night for at least eight hours up to seven days a week. Most probably this experience made them a great band. And the last example is the story about Bill Gates. There was also a lucky coincidence that helped him to access the time-sharing system for computers. And this actually helped him to become a well-known person. All these examples show us that practice makes a success. 10, 000 is the magic number for those who want to become masters in some particular sphere. Generally speaking I can absolutely agree with this statement because the more person works in the filed, the more experience is gained. However, the point is that these people took advantage of the opportunity and we do not know how many did not. Or how many did, however they never became famous. And it is obvious that sometimes one needs the smile of the fortune to be a success. These episodes show that one should always pay attention to the economic and cultural changes, it is very important to feel the demands and requirements of constantly changing world.
The third chapter
The trouble with geniuses, part 1
Author starts the chapter from the description of a man whose name is Christopher Langan. We understand that he is a genius because his IQ test score goes beyond the limits and is 30% higher than the IQ of Einstein. He is bound to be a great man and to do something outstanding. However, the rest of the truth is saved for the future chapters. Then the author tells us about the connection of the IQ and the life level, the educational level, the income number and even with the life expectancy. However, when the person’s IQ reaches 120, some additional point does not change the general picture. Then the author mentions about the project ‘Termites’. He explains that once Lewis Terman was searching for children with exceptionally high IQs, as he was sure that they would become the obvious leaders. However the results showed that even if he had picked up random children, the achievements would have been pretty much the same. In this chapter, Gladwell concludes that if someone wants to be successful, he/she needs to be smart enough. The author here is showing that success of people depends on the fact if somebody has won the Nobel price. This is not the measure for most of the people. If the IQ had been analyzed according to some other achievements, if would have shown much more importance of having high IQ. The level of IQ shows the possibilities of the person. I am sure that a lot of conclusions about the achievements of the person might be done thanks to the IQ level.
The fourth chapter
The trouble with genius, part 2
This chapter provides us with more detailed information about Christopher Langan. He did not have a perfect family and he was unlucky. He won the scholarship, but then he lost it because his mother failed to fill out the paperwork. So he did not finish the Reed College. He was transferred to the Montana state University, but because of awful coincidence, he could not study again. His car was broken which meant that could not came to the university on time. He asked the professor to allow the shift to later, however, the professor showed absolutely no interest to the student. The story of C. Langan is compared to the story of Robert Oppenheimer who suffered from similar problems; however, he was a success. The main difference between those two is the absence of practical intelligence in the first case. According to Sternberg, the practical intelligence includes things like the knowledge of what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it to gain maximum effect. The sociologist Annette Lareau explained that usually children from wealthy families have much more practical intelligence because their parents try to cherish child’s talents, skills and opinions. And parents in poor families try to do everything on their own, not allowing the child to make any decisions. This proves to us that concerted cultivation has huge advantages. And it is obvious that heavily scheduled child from the middle class is exposed to a constantly shifting set of experiences. The economics is suffering a lot is people who are empower does not have this practical intelligence because it might be very helpful in problem solving. It is easier to find the common language and to satisfy all the requirements fro the person whose analytical and practical intelligence are balanced.
The fifth chapter
The three lessons of Joe Flom
From the very beginning we understand the main concept is that successful people cannot achieve their success on their own. A lot of things depend on the place and the environment that people live in. The chapter tells us about the Joe Flom, who is the son of Jewish immigrants from the Eastern Europe. He set up the firm that had become one of the most powerful in the world. And Gladwell does not believe in the rags-to-riches stories and that is why he tries to reveal the secret of success. The author provides three lessons. Lesson number one explains us that a lot of people decided to take less desirable work which at that time was legal maneuvers. And it happened so that this work appeared to become a huge possibility and highly demanded. The next lesson teaches us the story about the father and son, the first was the attorney, whose business had never taken off. However his son became a successful lawyer. The main difference between these two is in the timing. The father was unlucky because it was the time of The Great Depression brink. However, if the person was born in 1930, it was a perfect time for becoming a successful lawyer. The same as it was told previously about being born in 1955 and becoming a genius software programmer. The last lesson shows us that if people want to set up their business, they have to feel the demands. It was done by one family. They made a fortune producing cloth, starting from the demand on aprons. These lessons are not persuasive enough. The author does not show the actual success field to field. He has just picked up those who became successful by chance. However, it is wise to understand that sometimes one has to do what is required and not what one wishes to do. And it is of outmost importance to feel the demand on the market.
Part two: Legacy
The sixth chapter
Author starts the second part of the book presenting us with various series of events which happened in Harlan in the 19th century. All of them represent the huge effect on people of cultural legacies. The town Harlan was founded by eight families of immigrant from the northern regions of the British Isles. The story tells us that those two families were once engaged in a feud and became so cruel that after that case numbers of people were murdered. Such behavior is explained by a term ‘culture of honor’. It is normal to shoot someone as a response to a personal insult in such a culture. And here the murder which was committed under these circumstances is not considered to be a crime. Then the author provides the study conducted by the Michigan University. It showed the survey of 18 o 20-years-old guys. They were called to enter the classroom one by one as they had to fill out the questionnaire, these guys were asked to drop off the questionnaire at the end of the hallway. On their way in a narrow corridor they were bumped by an experimenter and they were called ‘asshole’ in a low, however, audible voice before they return to their classroom. The reactions were absolutely different, however, the researchers were paying particular attention to their facial expressions, handshakes and even to their hormone level. The results proved that there was an obvious difference in the reaction according to the place where those guys lived. The author suggests that the culture is transferred through the generation; however, I believe that a lot depends on the temperament. All people are different with various characters, there might be some kind of tendency but it might be just the coincidence. However, if there is a unique type of behavior for every particular group of people, it means that it will be much easier to communicate with them, knowing their strong and weak spots.
The seventh chapter
The ethnic theory of plane crashes
In this chapter the author tries to show how the concept concerning cultural legacy what can influence the rate of the plane crashes which occurred mostly between 1988 and 1998. Author tells us about the flights operated by Korean Air. It is hard to believe, however during that period Korea Air lost a plane because of a crash approximately 4,79 times per million departures. This rate is as much as 17 times higher than the rates of Unites Airlines. Generally speaking the author shows that a plane crash happens because of seven human errors. And these errors usually have nothing to do with various technical flying skills. These are the errors of teamwork. A very important factor in crashes is the fact that pilots cannot cooperate properly or they are stressed because of being late. Another possible reason might be the fact that they are tired. In this chapter the author reveals the truth of numerous black box speeches. Generally speaking it was reveled that most of the crashes happened because of the mitigated speech and the failed communications emerge. After that the Korean air was able to turn itself around. The pilots were retrained in English and that is why now the experts believe that these airlines can rate with the safest airlines in the world. It is very important to understand each other, especially of one is responsible for such a number of lives. the problems of communication or the fact that people cannot cooperate well might be a severe problem in absolutely any sphere, especially engineering.
The eighth chapter
Rice paddies and math tests.
The author tells us that the rice has always been cultivated in China. The rice paddies were built, no one was opening them up. It requires a lot of work. Generally speaking people could not survive without rice there. The people had to have rice. It made the world go around for them. Right after these facts Gladwell proceeds to a different topic and tells us that because of the special pattern according to which the numbers in the Asian language are constructed, Asian children learn to count much earlier than children in the America. Author considers that as growing rice requires skills and harvest can be improved thanks to the diligent work, those people who grow rice were always working harder. These people are used to hard work are more likely to gain higher results at math. This fact is proved by the research of Erling Boe. The countries that do best on the math test used to contrast the educational achievements between countries are China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. People from those countries did not have resources to buy equipment, that is why they had to become smarter, they had to learn how to make better choices and how to become better managers of their own time. This concept overlaps a bit with the concept of practical intelligence. Generally speaking it might be conclude that economics always naturally matches the productivity. However, it is wise to make use of the progress available to make the work even more productive and not to hold on to the old traditions. I believe, it is normal to progress and to use the advanced technologies to gain the same results with much faster pace.
The ninth chapter
This chapter starts from the description of the experimental public school which is called KIPP Academy. This is a middle school and the classes are quite large there. This school is most famous for the mathematics. It is widely know that in an average school about 16% are performing at the right level or a bit above it, however in KIPP most of the students consider mathematics to be their favorite subject. The author provides us with the fact that there is the difference in math and reading skills between the children from wealthy and poor families. The achievements during the studding years were better with poor children, however, during the summer vacation, children from wealthy families made more progress while children from poor families regressed. That is why there is a need to increase the number of the schooldays to 243 as it is in Japan. The chapter is named after a student is KIPP. She actually changed the cultural legacy of her nation by the fact that she was attending the KIPP. She was working really hard. She was among 80% of KIPP graduates who were able to go to college, being the first in her family to do such a thing. This chapter actually shows that anyone can achieve success if this person works hard and dedicates all of the time available to achieve the objective. Sometimes, the only thing required, is the help. This is the example that shows that economic and social phenomena do not depend on the month of birth or particular opportunities.
A Jamaican story
In the epilogue, Gladwell provides information about his family and tries to reveal the rags-to-riches story. His great-great-great-grandmother was a slave. He describes the whole list of events that happened inn his family which helped to gain success. For example even the education of his mother was the result of the 1937 riots. His family received a number of gifts provided by destiny. So here the author come to the conclusion that very often n the in the end the outliers are no outliers at all. I do not believe in coincidences. Most people become a success thanks to their possibilities, pure talent, hard work and the smile of the fortune.