Another great New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell where he takes us through the truth about the rags to riches stories of success and how the disadvantage of being an “outsider”, like being poor and even dyslexic, can actually be an advantage.
The rags-to-riches story—that staple of American biography—has over the years been given two very different interpretations. The nineteenth-century version stressed the value of compensating for disadvantage. If you wanted to end up on top, the thinking went, it was better to start at the bottom, because it was there that you learned the discipline and motivation essential for success.
Today [though], that interpretation has been reversed. Success is seen as a matter of capitalizing on socioeconomic advantage, not compensating for disadvantage. The mechanisms of social mobility—scholarships, affirmative action, housing vouchers, Head Start—all involve attempts to convert the poor from chronic outsiders to insiders, to rescue them from what is assumed to be a hopeless state. Nowadays, we don’t learn from poverty, we escape from poverty[…]
43Folders‘ Merlin Mann has gone somewhat dark and I honestly have been missing his stuff. So I’m glad I found this series of podcast interviews he’s been doing for the Spark blog. I found them through one of my favorite blogs right now, Broadcasting Brain, so a big thank you for digging them up. The link takes you directly to the 4 short podcasts where Merlin answers questions, gives homework assignments, and helps you pimp your blog.
Simply superb journalism about the epical saga that was the Presidential campaign. The pitch from Newsweek:
A seven-part in-depth look behind the scenes of the campaign, consisting of exclusive behind-the-scenes reporting from the McCain and Obama camps assembled by a special team of reporters who were granted year-long access on the condition that none of their findings appear until after Election Day.
The series is long. Bookmarking is highly recommended.