Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Outliers & Practical Intelligence - Chapter 4

[Outliers Reading Group]

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? Why?

21 comments:

Adryan Brooks said...

It is true that there are different types of intelligence. But no one type is the best. They all need to work together. It is true that if you have the intellect that it could isolate you from society.Having the persuasion intellect could deter you in the fact that some people are not easily persuaded. Basically all intellects are good combined, not 1 is the best.

Kellsey H said...

I found Gladwell's ideas about practical intelligence quite interesting. Prior to reading this, I had never really taken into consideration the impact that one's community can have on whether or not he or she will succeed. It makes sense, though. If I was surrounded by negativity I'm sure that I would be discouraged quite often. This being said, I am thankful to be surrounded by a supportive community and positivity because, ultimately, this will play a key role in my succeeding.

Tameah F. said...

I agree with the concept that practical intelligence includes "knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect." I believe that just because someone uses intellectual words doesn't mean that they are intelligent. To have intelligence means having a sufficient amount of knowledge in something your interested in and being able to apply that knowledge in appropriate situations.

sierra lucas said...

I think this is very true and I agreed 100 percent with him because I have and use both. My mother taught me practical intelligence and I learned analytic intelligence from school. They both are necessary to live a productive and normal life in society. You need to have the knowledge of the conversation you are having but you also need the know how to have it effectively with others.
Sierra L.

Deborrah Blackburn said...

I think that Gladwell's ideas about practical intelligence is very interesting. It provides a compelling argument as to why some people can be more successful than others, no matter what their IQ is. I also agree with the statement, "Practical intelligence is 'knowledge that helps you read situations correctly and get what you want.'" In this world a person usually needs both intelligence and practical intelligence to be successful.
Deborrah B.

Aja Jackson said...

Gladwell’s ideas about practical intelligence were very engaging. This chapter showed me that having knowledge and applying knowledge are two different things. Just because someone is intelligent doesn't mean they are guaranteed success.

DuAuna Carraway said...

I thought the idea about practical intelligence was fascinating. I didn't quite grasp the idea that there are different types of intelligence until learning about it. Before, I thought a lot was just common sense but what we learn also depends on the environment we're in.

Aja' J. said...

Gladwell’s ideas about practical intelligence were very engaging. This chapter showed me that having knowledge and applying knowledge are two different things. Just because someone is intelligent doesn't mean they are guaranteed success.

Sydney J said...

I agree with the idea of practical intelligence. If you are surrounded by people pushing you to succeed and teaching you new ways to succeed you are more likely to grow. Since the middle and upper class children were being taught how to interact and be assertive with adult figures, they were receiving a lot more benefits.

Lindsey McCall said...

I agree with Gladwell, your intelligence doesn't define your success. A person with the ability and willingness to learn, adjust in difficult situations, problem solve, and present yourself in a professional manner is most likely to succeed. Everyone doesn't have the same form of intelligence, thus everyone should work together to get different perspectives.

Jaiara Johnson said...

I use the practical knowledge in my everyday life. It helps my in many situations. It uses both common knowledge and sense at the same time. As far as the effect of the community on success, it can work in two ways. Either it has no effect whatsoever or its can have a lasting effect the is grown into the person since birth.

Aliyah B. said...

I agree with Gladwell's statements discussing the idea of "practical intelligence". It is important to remember that not all knowledge has to come from books or having a high IQ. Lots of intelligence comes from social skills and knowing how to interact with people. You can be incredibly smart and have a high IQ, but if you create a product or business it will not be successful if you are not able to build the right social connections

Aliyah B.

Alexandra Donaldson said...

I found Gladwell's ideas about practical intelligence very interesting and true. I have known people who were extremely intelligent but they were underachievers at the same time, and I have always wondered why. Gladwell's ideas gave light to the situation and helped me understand why that could be. Also, it made me look at my community in a different perspective because I see how it important it is for me to drive myself to achieve.

Jacquesia H. said...

I agree with the idea of practical intelligence playing a role in success. If a person is very skilled in math and wants a job as an accountant that person would also need to know what to say in an interview and how to present themselves and this is where the practical intelligence comes into play.

Fiona Hill said...

I agree with his views on practical intelligence. A person can be extremely book smart and have an extremely high IQ but if they lack the ability to communicate and socialize with others, they cannot advance in life. A person needs both practical intelligence and "regular intelligence" to succeed in life.
Fiona H.

Anita Jackson said...

There are many different types of intelligence. Not one of the is the same. But we need all different types of intelligence to get the world working. We need both Practical and regular intelligence to succeed in life.
Anita J.

Anonymous said...

I think Gladwell's concept of practical intelligence truly fits. The way of the world now. Yes it's true that being smart gets you places and in life but knowing how to maneuver through different types of situation can get you further.
Monet. E

Courtney said...

I enjoyed the ideas of the difference between successful geniuses and unsuccessful ones. The difference is the charisma one has over the other and they way they use their charisma to project themselves as articulate. My Uncle is an intelligent man, he is a genius without doubt and his teachers and family knows this. But my uncle faces the same adversities as Langan, such as status, facing poverty, and lack of charisma. Though he enriches his mind with books that enhance his knowledge and news that stimulates his mind, he hasn't went to college. His lack of social-networking, social-economical status, stressful upbringing would be reasons why i can see he isn't noted for his geniuses. I feel as though poverty stricken individuals have a harder time not revering back to living a day to day lifestyle because money is a ongoing problem.

Kahli Cox said...

I believe practical intelligence is an underrated skill that everyone needs to possess to make it out into the world. Being intelligent is great, but being able to convey one's intelligence to the right people, at the right time, in the right way is the most sure way to make it in the adult world.
Kahli C

Savannah Dread said...

Gladwell's ideas about practical intelligence is kind of creative. It makes you think about whether someones environment really effects their success. I think that it does to an extent because there are people that have come from bad environments but turned out to be very successful and vice versa.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, but what do you think about moving to a different state and learning through adapting to that state?