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“Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell Essay

Introduction: Assessing Gladwell’s Psychological Strategy

In this paper, the fundamental principles of personal success and ingenuity are recounted. The suggested theory is based on the book that was written by the famous psychologist, Malcolm Gladwell, and is named Outliers. The title of the book stems from a particular type of an individual, who makes significant accomplishments in life and, therefore, does not entirely comply with the picture of a typical man or woman. The author calls such person an outlier, for he strives to emphasize that possessing high virtues is not a regular pattern but rather an exception from a rule. Such people are always criticized, discussed, and questioned, for the power of their talents is a wonder for the surrounding community.

The book contains two parts, one of which targets the issue of timing as a prerequisite for achievements. Gladwell is persuaded that no genius can be born with wisdom and ingenuity, which come with a persistent work as well as an ability to control one’s resources. The psychologist mentions many successful individuals such as The Beatles or Bill Gates and recounts their lifestyles. From the description, one can clearly understand that these people did not operated their skills from the very childhood but rather developed them daily through regular drills and genuine aspirations. In the second part of the work, Gladwell suggests that cultural specifications impose some considerable impact on the formation of an individual, which results in his failures and successes (Gladwell 132).

An Examination of Personal Character Based on Gladwell’s Doctrine

The book by Malcolm Gladwell provides some consistent guidelines for personality analysis. Specifically, according to the author, an individual success may be weighed on the basis of the Matthew’s Effect, demographic trough, 10,000 rule, and the concept of cultural inheritance. The author suggests that these four psychological principles respond to the virtues of an individual and can explain them in a constructive way. Thus, in this work, the personal success of Oprah Winfrey is assessed, due to the doctrine of Malcolm Gladwell (Bilanich par. 8).

First, the correspondence of the television star to the Matthew’s Effect is analyzed. The notion implies the adoption of personal advantages, which evolve from the inborn status of a person. In other words, the principle of Matthew clarifies that the individuals, who are born in the wealthy surrounding are bound to gain more than those, who belong to impoverished settings. The problem targets the influence of economic resources on the development of personal will and success (Briggs par. 12).

Applying the principle to Winfrey’s life, one can disclaim the Matthew Effect’s validity, for the broadcast star was born in a poor family of Afro-Americans and never knew her biological father. For many years, Oprah was challenged by the hardness of her mother’s life, who could not find a decent job in the American world of race discrimination and abuse. Nevertheless, from her early seventeenth, the girl was motivated to show the world that black-skinned population can reach success, due to the individual virtues and multiple talents (“Oprah Winfrey Biography – Academy of Success” par. 5). Therefore, the example does not entirely correspond to Matthew’s Effect.

The 10,000 hour rule was developed by Malcolm Gladwell from the comparative description of the timeframes and historical periods, which were peculiar to certain lucky individuals. Specifically, the author deduced that those prominent people, who were born in the middle of the 19th century, reached exceptional accomplishments, for the age of active industrialization and innovation opened up multiple opportunities for personal development (“The 10,000 Hour Rule” par. 5). The rule can not be referred to Oprah Winfrey, for the journalist was born in the second part of the 20th century, which signified World Wars decadence, post-military destruction, and social discrimination.

The concept of demographic trough implies the influence of the birth rate estimations on the prerequisites for individual success. Due to Gladwell, those people, who were born in the periods of demographic downfalls, could gain more chances for building a successful career. The birth of Oprah Winfrey falls into one of such time lapses. For the television star faced the world in the late 50s and strived for career success in the 60s, one may figure out that she possessed some good chances for reaching her aim, for the ravished post-war community was looking for new talents, which bring science and media from the ruins.

Though Oprah Winfrey was born in the time of demographic trough, she failed many times on the way to her personal success since her cultural heritage provided a negative background for the journalist’s experience. Specifically, she was repeatedly fired from television shows, for it was acknowledged that Afro-Americans were not fitting for the U.S. media (Bud par. 17). Consequently, it is apparent that culture and ethnicity provide some strong influence on personal careers.

Conclusion: Weighing Personal Successes

The example of Oprah Winfrey offers a support for Gladwell’s theory of success. Moreover, it disapproved some traditional ideas about wealth-driven accomplishments. On the practical example, one views a character, who reached a status of the first Afro-American on the U.S. television, who built a career through regular self-improvement and hard work (Ward par. 6).

Works Cited

Bilanich, Bud. 50 Famous People Who Failed at Their First Attempt at Career Success. 2013. Web.

Briggs, Saga. The Matthew Effect: What Is It and How Can You Avoid It in Your Classroom? 2013. Web.

Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success, New York: Back Bay Books, 2011. Print.

Oprah Winfrey Biography – Academy of Success 2010. Web.

The 10,000 Hour Rule 2011. Web.

Ward, Rachel. . 2011. Web.

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