Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups
In his chapter “The Lessons of Joe Flom,” Malcolm Gladwell traces the
backgrounds and experiences of a select group of people whose “world --
culture and generation and family history – gave them the greatest
opportunities.” In particular, he pays close attention to the importance
of ethnic background, demographic luck, and meaningful work. Given my
remark that “hard work is often overrated” in the comments section of
our last post, I was especially intrigued with Gladwell's alternative or
refined consideration of work.
According to Gladwell, meaningful work is characterized by
1) autonomy – processes that yield senses of independence;
2) complexity – work that engages the mind and imagination;
3) a connection between effort and reward – a noticeable return on the uses of time and energy.
So rather than champion “hard work,” Gladwell makes distinctions and
highlights “meaningful work,” indicating that such work heightens
people's possibilities for success when they find their efforts freeing,
thought-provoking, and fulfilling. What aspect of the chapter did you find most compelling or interesting, and why?