Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Outliers and Meaningful Work - Chapter 5

[Outliers Reading Group]

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?

19 comments:

sierra lucas said...

The part I found most exciting was when he compared the life of the parent to the life of the children. It was revealed that all the parents that had been entrepreneurs and created their own success by owning their own business and things of that sort kids grew up to be very successful people like doctors and lawyers and people of that stature. This really shows the meaning of the phrase "you are a product of your environment. S. Lucas

Deborrah Blackburn said...

One aspect that I found interesting was being born at a certain time can determine if you will be successful. He compared Mort Janklow's success to his father, Maurice Janklow's, failure. Maurice failed because the big NYC law firms were not open to Jewish lawyers, but when Mort became a lawyer his experiences changed the outcome of his life.
D. Blackburn

Lindsey McCall said...

The portion I found most interesting was the part when he explained how a child's success is defined by their parent's success. This interested me because I somewhat disagree, I think that if a child has parents that come from hardship they'd push more towards being successful because they don't want their children to grow up the way they did.

Sydney J said...

The part I found most interesting, is how the author constantly brings up the perfect years to be born in. In other chapters this point is constantly repeated. The author gives a lot of evidence to support the idea that there are specific time periods to be born in.
Sydney J

Kellsey H said...

I feel as though the section in the chapter that tied the notion of being born in a certain time period with success was the most compelling aspect of the chapter. It stated that "Friedman was willing to work hard, take responsibility for himself, and put himself through school." Hence, if an individual has the ambition required to succeed, and if he or she is born in an era that will allow them to succeed, they will essentially be successful beings.

Peyton Dunne said...

The part that I found most interesting was demographic luck. Personally, I have experienced this because I live in a very small town that does not have a lot of resources. Because jobs are not readily available, a lot of the population is poor. This effects quality of life, education, and happiness.

Aliyah Butler said...

I thought the whole concept of this chapter was interesting. It was cool to see someone go against the typical "rags-to-riches" story and try to see it from another perspective. People typically think that anyone can make it big just because someone else did, but this chapter shows that there are certain aspects that can affect your success and that we need to understand this.

Aliyah B.

Anonymous said...

I found that the idea of being born at the right time was very interesting. Gladwell states that many of the people previously talked about (Bill Gates, Bill Joy, and many other successful Americans) have "perfect birth dates" and so does Joe Flom. Not only that but all had many opportunities presented to them at the right times as well.
-Aja Jackson

Jaiara Johnson said...

The part that interesting was the part of the background of the oeple and its signifcance. It was like the were geared toward success by one another, each person trying to be as successful as the next and so on.

DuAuna Carraway said...

I believe that the section about Demographic Luck was most interesting. The time in which someone was born has been mentioned throughout this whole book. I love how what you do could depend on when you were born. Since Maurice Janklow was born in 1902 he had already had a family during the Depression and he was Jewish so he made very little money. But Mort Janklow was born in the "demographic trough" and didn't have as many problems.

Alexandra Donaldson said...

I found the part about a child's success depending on the parent's success to be most interesting. I found it interesting because I completely disagree with that notion. I think often times the child is more successful than the parent, especially if the parent did not come from the best circumstances.

Jacquesia H. said...

The part about the child's success being dependent on the success of the parent. In some cases I believe that in some cases its true but for the most part it is not. Parents want their children to have more than they did so they push them to achieve more than they have and to be more successful than they were themselves.

Anita Jackson said...

I found many parts interesting. My favorite one though is the one about the kids. When your born determines if you will be successful i believe to be interesting. But also very unfair at the same time.
Anita Jackson

Anonymous said...

The part I found most interesting is how the success of a child is dependent on the success of an adult. I found this to be very true. If you have a successful parent, you usually have pressure to live up to certain standards and achieve a certain level of success. On the other hand, if your parents were less successful, you have less pressure to be successful. I thought it was an interesting, yet very true, concept.
Fiona H.

Tameah Foley said...

The part when he states that the time you're born can effect your success and how he explains that a child's success is determined by their parent's success, which i agree with.

Anonymous said...

I found it interest how he shows that children born into successful family's are more likely to also become successful. This statement is true because children are impressionable and tend to want to follow after their parents.
Monet. E

Courtney said...

I feel that how you project yourself and what names you have behind you can be a big set back or a great set up for people looking for employment, especially in higher ranked establishments. So someone who wears rags to work and has a nasal voice is less likely to be accepted if he doesn't have money and generations of strong social standing versus someone who possesses these traits but without these resources backing them up. Same goes for people regarding the expectancy of positions available and employers being willing to hire, in aspects of ethnic background or gender; black people, being that societies general perception of them is that they're unsuccessful, non-reserved and unqualified, are less likely to get the position and women, being considered inferior to men in most aspects, are less likely to receive the position over a man.

Kahli Cox said...

The aspect of the chapter that I found the most interesting is the part where it talks about how a child's success depends on their parent's success. I find it interesting because I disagree. Someone's success is up to them, not their family in my opinion.

Savannah Dread said...

I find that the part on demographic luck is most interesting because I come from a town where it is half and half (good and bad parts of the community) and it makes me question some of my friends success because of what part they live on.