Idolspizing Malcom Gladwell

When I found this interview with Malcom Gladwell, I went through the same motions that I always go through when I read something of his. I first decide that I can’t link to it on my blog cause I don’t want to appear obsessed with the guy, some kind of loony fanatic hanging off of his every word. Then he says something like this:

It’s really risky to work hard, because then if you fail you can no longer say that you failed because you didn’t work hard […] If you get drunk the night before an exam instead of studying and you fail, then the problem is that you got drunk. If you do study and you fail, the problem is that you’re stupid — and stupid, for a student, is a death sentence. The point is that it is far more psychologically dangerous and difficult to prepare for a task than not to prepare.

Or this:

It’s almost impossible to know where the person ends and their environment begins, and the longer someone is in a particular environment the blurrier that line gets. More specifically, you can’t make definitive judgments about the personal characteristics of people who come from structured environments. What does it mean to say that a Marine is brave? It might mean that a Marine is an inherently brave person. It may also be that the culture of the Marine Corps is so powerful, and the training so intensive, and the supporting pressure of other Marines so empowering, that even a coward would behave bravely in that context.

Honestly, I think this site may as well become some kind of Gladwell shrine sooner or later. [thanks 37signals]


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