Nature Vs. Nurture: What Makes An Individual Successful  Book Report

Length: 3 pages Subject: Literature Type: Book Report Paper: #43157021 Related Topics: Nature, Perseverance, Hillary Clinton, Success
Excerpt from Book Report :

¶ … Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (2008)

In statistics, an outlier is a point that is far distant from other number sets, and Malcolm Gladwell applies the concept to exemplary individuals who set themselves apart from others through their actions and behaviors and who generally do things that are out of the ordinary. In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Gladwell describes some of the attributes he believes are responsible for some people becoming outliers compared to their peers, and cites a number of examples as being proof positive that some people take nature and nurture and run with it. To determine what Gladwell has to say about these and other issues, this paper provides a review of his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

Success does not just fall out of a tree into people's laps, but is rather the result of individual effort and fortuitous circumstances, a mix of nature and nurture. For instance, Gladwell emphasizes that, "Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities" (2008, p. 17). With respect to nurture's role in success, Gladwell makes the point that, "People don't rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage" (2008, p. 19). Therefore, in order to explain how and why some people rise to greatness, it is first important to understand their origins including the time,


As Gladwell points out, "It makes a difference where and when we grew up" (2008, p. 19). Using a series of examples of highly successful individuals in the sporting world, entertainment and information technology industries, Gladwell also makes the point that individual effort counts for as much, if not more, as nurture's role in achieving success in life. For hockey players, for example, the timing of an individual's birth has a significant impact on the quality of their play. According to Gladwell, individuals who are born in the first three months of the year enjoy a competitive advantage over all others because January 1 is the cut-off date for team organization and players born early in the year have more time on the ice to play and are able to gain experience from players who are larger than them. Consequently, the seemingly unimportant factor of the date of birth translates into more opportunities for success in some situations. Likewise, the timing of an individual's birth can have an effect on their future success with respect to the types of opportunities that are available during their lifetimes, with 75 of the most affluent people of all time having been born between 1831 and 1840, due in large part to the fundamental transformations that were taking place in Western economies as a result of the Industrial Revolution.

The anecdotal accounts provided by Gladwell support his assertions that greatness requires hard work and commitment,…

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