Are People Better Than Others

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A competitive environment, such as high school or the labor market, poses the question that naturally occurs from introspection: are some people better than others? People reach varying heights over the course of their life, but the question remains: are there people more attuned to success than others? Most philosophers agree that each person is comprised differently, and therefore each person has different abilities. Their human value is the same, but individuality implies that people are unique, along with their skills and prowess. However, others argue that people are born equally, and that factors such as cultivation, environment, and societal emphasis affects the way people develop their talents. Taking this issue through biological perspective, …show more content…
To illustrate one facet of the claim Gladwell makes, one can further analyze an idea presented in “Outliers”: the reason for Jewish success. Gladwell describes the emergence of Jewish lawyers in New York, citing the discrimination they faced from major law firms and how they turned to firms that mainly handled corporate takeovers, a part of the legal world that was deemed “undignified”. Then, when corporate takeovers became more commonplace, the rise of Jews as famous corporate lawyers led to the eventual synonymity of Jews and lawyers. However, the stereotype that Jews are inherently successful, can be analyzed using Gladwell’s idea of culture as determining factor of success. Maristella Botticini and Zvi Eckstein’s The Chosen Few details the reason for Jewish success in urban occupations as trade and commerce. Botticini and Eckstein argue that the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE prompted a shift within Judaism, changing it from “from a cult based on ritual sacrifices in the temple to a religion whose main norm required every Jewish man to read and to study the Torah”. Jewish success can be attributed to the spread of literacy as a result of this religious shift, the advantage in urban jobs as a result of their literacy, and their willing worldwide dispersion in search of commercial jobs. Along the lines of what Gladwell hypothesized, these two …show more content…
People will only take opportunities or make their own if they have a certain level of intelligence. Gladwell addresses intelligence in the example of Chris Langan and Robert J. Oppenheimer, who despite their high levels of intelligence, had divergent paths marked by contrasting family lives. Langan is deemed to have underwhelmed given his mental capability, while Oppenheimer is widely appreciated for his scientific work, especially his work on the Manhattan Project. The author seems to imply that the level of intelligence is irrelevant and that people become successful for different reasons. However, higher intelligence is certainly an advantage, and makes one more susceptible to success. For example, while compiling the IQ scores of Forbes 500 CEOs, Jonathan Wei estimated that 39% of these businessmen and women are intellectually gifted, which suggests that the average IQ of a Forbes 500 CEO is around 124. To accurately judge that statistic, the most prominent IQ test, the Wechsler test, classifies an IQ between 90 and 109 as “average” and an IQ between 120 and 129 as “highly superior”. This data suggests that there is a threshold that must be met for one to reach success. There are definitely outliers to this assumption, but the data shows that the norm is that one must be highly intelligent to be successful. On the

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