Analysis Of Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story Of Success

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Have you ever met a person who is very capable of being successful, whether they be talented, smart , or charismatic, but never seems to be able to meet their goals on their own? While success is about 50% of personal merit, another very important factor comes into play: opportunity. Malcolm Gladwell explores the impact of opportunities on people’s success in his novel Outliers: The Story of Success. By analyzing numerous people’s background, he concludes that opportunity plays a major role in one’s success. Moreover, three sources-the biography of Elon Musk, an interview with my mother, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”- were analysed to reveal more data to support or deny Gladwell’s thesis. These sources …show more content…
Today, Elon Musk is an inventor and CEO of SpaceX, “an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company” (wiki) in California. Growing up, he taught himself to code and was enrolled in prestigious schools in Africa and Canada. He earned two bachelor degrees at University of Pennsylvania and just as he enrolled into Stanford University, he was met with the internet boom. His biography states, “After leaving Penn, Elon Musk headed to Stanford University in California to pursue a Ph.D in energy physics. However, his move was timed perfectly with the Internet boom, and he dropped out of Stanford after just two days to become a part of it, launching his first company, Zip2 Corporation.” This is a perfect example of how an incredible opportunity could ensure personal merit will lead to success. This theme parallels with Outliers on page 65 when Gladwell explores the perfect age to be when the boom of personal computers was starting in 1975. He states, “The perfect age to be in 1975, in other words, is old enough to be a part of the coming revolution but not so old that you missed it” (pg 65). The success of Elon Musk can be contributed more to his opportunity than personal merit, supporting Gladwell’s …show more content…
My mother, Patricia Gordon, grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Her family was not the richest. Her father died when she was in High School and with five other siblings and her mother working as a lunch aid in a school, money was tight. However, she still was able to gain opportunities to be successful in her future career. “Being a candy striper at the hospital near my house opened opportunities to see other successful people in the helping profession. I knew that I couldn’t go to school for a long time because of the college debt, but my parents encouraged me that I could be anything I wanted when I grew up.” When she started to think about future careers and college, she was drawn to Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy, at the time, was only a five year program, allowing my mother to save money, and was exposed to her as a candy striper when she was young. My mother worked extremely hard during Physical Therapy school, but without the opportunity presented to her, she wouldn’t have been able to show how hard she can work for success, supporting Gladwell’s

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