Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell On Success at the 92nd Street Y

How is success measured? Malcolm Gladwell thinks we abuse the word "genius" and bestowing it on people is giving them too much credit. He believes (and goes on to credit his theory in his latest book: Outliers) there are many factors that are involved in a person's success and given the right cultural environment, work ethic, a sprinkle of fairy dust talent and date of birth, you have the advantages to succeed. He used numerous examples throughout the interview: Bill Gates, The Beatles, two Canadian hockey teams, KIPP Academy and J Robert Oppenheimer.

Robert Krulwich, host of Radiolab, interviewed him and was a perfect choice to challenge Gladwell on his theories. Their dialogue on the use and vocal emphasis of the word "love" was highly entertaining. Gladwell is the master of looking at a situation (he spoke passionately about the merit of Affirmative Action) and turning it upside down. He gets you thinking. It's been said there are two sides to every story and then there's the truth. We have Gladwell to show us the third side.

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