CLASS AND SUCCESS–AMERICA AND BRITAIN. My friend Rob Gallo watched all of the UP SERIES after reading about it on this blog and then recommended Malcolm Gladwell’s OUTLIERS to me. I can see the connection. The UP SERIES set out to examine the effects of the British class system on the success in life of a dozen seven year olds. Gladwell’s book is subtitled “The Story of Success.” In one section he examines the effects of social class and describes an American study of brilliant youngsters and what happened to them in later life. Gladwell says about the successes and failures: “In the end, only one thing mattered: family background.” Gladwell goes on to argue that a myriad of acquired skills explain the difference that social class makes. He takes as an example one brilliant man from a humble background. who has not achieved what he could. Gladwell says: “He never had a parent teach him…how to reason and negotiate with those in positions of authority. He didn’t learn entitlement. He learned constraint.” The man’s brother points out that in applying for financial aid, “We just had zero knowledge….How to apply. The forms. Checkbooks.”

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  1. Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    Those boys had an abusive stepfather. Their idea of authority was abuse. I think that was a good part of it. I think Gladwell says this somewhere.

  2. Pingback: SUSAN BOYLE AND OUTLIERS. | Pater Familias

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