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May 17 2015

September 23 2011

What I've learnt from Outliers so far

PART 1
there's always the perfect year to be born in for certain professions due to what society was into that time. Somewhat the other contributing factors besides age & date of birth are surroundings, chances, and ethnic background.
  • Hockey players are preferably born in January, February & March cuz they're pretty much older than the other kids will be in the middle of the year
  • Successful business tycoons are born in the 1830's
  • SuccessfulSoftware engineers are born in 1950's & wouldve been in college in the 1970's (and succeed in the 1980's thanks to lots of practice under the 10 000 hour rule).
  • Jewish lawyers usually have parents/grandparents in garment industry who started their business in the 1890's. Because of their culture they've learnt how to face hardships in business and eventually become successful lawyers (or doctors).

And then there's the 10000-hour rule thing, for mastery reasons. 

Also, wealth status difference can impact in how families raise children. Rich kids have inclusive parents who are constantly involved in their pastime, making schedules & practices and stuff, while poorer kids dont get this cuz their parents seem distant from their life. Rich kids also gets entitlement to be assertive in situations for some reason, while poor kids are raised to be less assertive for some reason.
Rich kids also got the privilege to read a lot of books during their summer vacation and go to museums & places as such to learn more. This lessens the rustiness of the skills they've learnt after summer's over & they did better than the other kids in September.

PART 2: 
  • Your surroundings shaped who you are, in terms of personality, just like how they pass down accents. For example, Southern Americans' violent aggressive attitudes compared to their Northern counterparts.
  • The Southerners descend from Scotch-Irish people in Britain, who are mostly animal herders. Animal herders tend to show an aggressive/protective attitude compared to farmers.
  • The 6 stages of communication/persuasion, explained here
  • Turns out there's such a thing called Power Distance Index. Some countries have low PDI, some have medium PDI & some have high PDI. People raised in countries with high PDI respects the idea of hierarchy more than those raised in countries with low PDI, so they're likely to "fear" and respect people in power, or in a higher status, and tend to mitigate to their superiors when they want to say something (cuz they dont dare to command their superiors). The ones from low PDI countries tend to fight back when they're fought by superiors, treating them like an equal.
    More about PDI and their factors here: Hofstede's cultural dimension theory - Wikipedia | Power Distance Index - ClearlyCultural
  • That stereotype with Asians being better at math? That's due to language and how it helps little kids learn & memorize numbers easier. Take English vs Chinese for example. Chinese words are usually single-syllabled & this includes numbers, n in their language, the settings for saying 2-digit numbers is simpler & more straightforward than in the English language.
    Also, the persistency that has been passed down their culture.
  • Due to most Asian countries cultivating rice in rice fields & had to endure persistency in their work, this persistent behavior gets passed down as a culture and that's why we probably succeed more when it comes to learning. Gladwell also compared the 30000-hour work rice paddy fieldworkers go through in China like the garment work of Jewish immigrants from the earlier story. "It was meaningful" he wrote. Guess thats why Chinese people and Jews have the same mentality when it comes to business.
  • The comparison between wheat fields and rice paddies, and wheat farmers vs rice farmes and how it's eventually related to the comparison of Western vs Asian education (American & Japanese schools as an example). Like fields, studying also needs brief amounts of fallowing (rest) before they start ploughing the fields (getting back to studying) again. The stereotypical American summer holiday gave out too long breaks and the school hours are too long as well.
    My note: It's just better to give about 4 term breaks every year (the final one is the longest, like in Indonesian & Bruneian schools: 1 week for the 1st and 3rd term breaks, 2 weeks for the 2nd term break and a full month for the final term break.
  • It's ok to reject some elements of cultural legacy (usually the constraining ones) to fit in where you wanna be successful, depending on what the situation/environment is.
    Malcolm Gladwell also talks about his Jamaican ancestry from his mom's side, and how their culture & life experience gave her & her family members opportunities to be the educated people they became. He talks about Jamaica back in the slavery age and the white immigrants' attitude towards slaves, some which they use to breed kids of different shades of color, and how these people valued lighter skin shades more (kinda sad hearing the truth tbh).
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