Outliers – The Luck of the Draw

When an individual thinks of an outlier, they think of someone that stands apart from everyone else. According to Malcolm Gladwell, an outlier is a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample; furthermore, these qualities can lead to success. Seeing that it is not what one does that determines their success, but their environment predetermines their future success. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Outliers, he disputes the true meaning of what makes one successful. While researching how success came to be for some individuals, Gladwell failed to include certain populations in his studies.Though several populations are excluded in Gladwell’s book, the Homewood-Flossmoor High School student body can apply to his theories of success as related to upbringing and opportunity.

Upbringing leads to opportunity. The quality of upbringing a child has shown to be a key determinant of future success. When a child is raised in a wealthy family, they have enormous advantages compared to a child raised in a poor family. “The heavily scheduled middle-class child is exposed to a constantly shifting set of experiences. She learns teamwork and how to cope in highly structured settings” (Gladwell 1050. “’Even in fourth grade, middle class children appeared to be acting on their own behalf to gain advantages. They made special requests of teachers and doctors to adjust procedures to accommodate their desires’” (Gladwell 105).

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During student government meetings, one would notice quickly that the wealthier students had a sense of entitlement. Feeling that only their words counted, the wealthy students interrupted every conversation to get in “their say”. When it came time to bring in new ideas for the school dance theme, the wealthier students made sure their voices were heard; nevertheless, their voices shifted the interaction to suit their preferences and became the only voices that counted. Whil…