Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Outliers & Practical Intelligence

Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups

Extending his “Trouble with Geniuses” concerns, Malcolm Gladwell explains how particular skills give talented people the extra edge to become outliers. Gladwell notes that we too often assume that success is based purely on intellect or physical talents. Genetics tend to play vital roles, but they are hardly the sole determining factors.

To describe the differences between a highly intelligent yet underachieving person and a highly intelligent and successful one, Gladwell highlights psychologist Robert Sternberg’s concept “practical intelligence,” which includes “'knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect.’” Practical intelligence is “knowledge that helps you read situations correctly and get what you want. And, critically, it is a kind of intelligence separate from the sort of analytical ability measured by IQ.”

The practical intelligence that Gladwell presents can also be thought of as a kind of “social savvy,” an ability to skillfully negotiate multiple social and professional environments. People with high IQs who seemed to squander their talents were actually people who lacked “a community around them that prepared them properly for the world.”

How did you respond to Gladwell’s ideas about practical intelligence?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I responded positively to Gladwell's ideas about practical intelligence. I could understand because I, at one point in my life, was all intellect and didn't know when to say things in certain situations. I used to correct my family on simple stuff which made them mad. I couldn't really tell how others felt and how to effectively handle the situations until I attended high school. -Stephen K.

Anitra B. said...

I agree with Gladwell's ideas about practical intelligence. If you have practical intelligence and know what to say to to people you can persuade them and have things go your way.
I also believe that someone doesn't have to a high IQ to have practical intelligence. For example, I know someone who did poorly in high school and didn't go on to college. Today she is a manager at a high class country club. She doesn't have the schooling background needed to do the job but she has "social savviness",a way with talking to people. When a problem arises with the members she knows what to say to them to say to fix to problem and make them forget that there even was a problem. She may not have much analytical intelligence, but having practical intelligence is what keeps her her job.
Anitra B.

Jeremiah B. said...

I agreed with Malcolm Gladwell's explanation of practical intelligence but it is still possible to be successful without it, to an extent. If there was a student with Chris Langan's background, it is still possible for him to gain enough practical intelligence to benefit him if he had stayed in college.

Celeste C. said...

I personally associated success based on one's intellect and or physical talents without including other factors. Communication clearly plays a huge role in distinguishing the achievers and underachievers. Practical intelligence is one'a ability to analyze everyday life and use prior knowledge and skills to properly adapt to the environment.
Being able to read a situation and responding to it appropriately can further open up several opportunities.
I agree with Gladwell because being strictly book smart will not have as much effect on success without including other factors. For an example, Langan won $250,000 on 1 vs. 100 because he analyzed the benefits and risks associated with continuing to play. With that being said, true success is based on several different type of intelligence that is both learned and passed down.

Andrea R. said...

It seemed a lot like an old concept but with a new name. Just another technical term to describe a common thing. However, new name or not, he has a good point.

Sometimes just knowing how to work with people and how to read them will help more than just having good ideas and hoping they don't go unnoticed. Which as mentioned, seems to be somewhat of a common thing amongst geniuses. They're only smart on paper but they have a very hard time interacting with people.

With that being said, I agree with Gladwell's idea on practical intelligence. Or just being able to effectively read social cues, as I would have called it.

Joey N. said...

I agree with Gladwell's thoughts on practical intelligence. I feel that knowing how to interact with people on the social level is a vital attribute to have when it comes to achieving your goals.
I believe that a certain level of education does not guarantee you success. I believe it takes knowledge and experience in social interaction to achieve success.
-Joey N.

Jermeia Avery said...

I agree with Gladwell. The popular say "it is not always what you know but who you know" adds to Gladwell's ideas. Sometimes success starts with the connections you make, to make these connections one must be sort of an extrovert. Knowing what to say when to say is just as important as being "book" smart. First impressions mean a lot and most of the time it is these social situations that is the first step to big meetings.

Marissa Williams said...

Personally seems as if his idea of "practical intelligence" is just another way of saying common sense, with a bit more persuasion involved.

When working with people, new ways to communicate and persuade people happen everyday. So, "practical" is not the best term to use.

I do, however, agree that "practical intelligence" has a lot to do with succeeding in life.

Marissa W.

Belainesh Nigeda said...

I agree with Gladwell's idea. I have friends that come from different social backgrounds. Back home, some of my friends live in half of a million dollar houses with doctors as parents. Whereas, my other friends live in very underprivileged neighborhoods because of their parents financial situation. Because of their opposite upbringing, many of my friends think differently and have different views on certain issues. As a result, they handle situations differently.
People who grow up in wealthier families are less likely to feel inferior to their peers or to authority figures. People who grow up in poorer families may feel inferior to those who,in a sense, have had more than them. They have a different attitude towards their authority figures which cause them to be submissive (rather than being assertive). These two social groups apply themselves differently in the real world.
This is an unfair advantage because social status has no affect on the IQ of the person. However, it does affect them as they get older. Wealthier students have better school districts. Better schools teach students how use practical knowledge in the real world. This unfair advantage is something that can be prevented because practical knowledge is learned.

Brianna Banks said...

I reacted positively to Glad we'll because agree with Gladwell's practical intelligence. I think as long as you are able to comprehend others and make connections you can achieve and do well in life because using basic intelligence to go about establishing connections to get ahead plays into Gladwells practical intelligence ideas.

Ashley Asberry said...

Right away, it made a lot of sense. It's kind of like a combination of street smarts and common sense. I think it's something we all have an awareness of and know would work in our favor, but some of us just don't have the
skills.