Books Life & Philosophy

Success is the result of what sociologists like to call “accumulative advantage”

It is those who are successful, in other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success. It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention. And it’s the biggest nine- and ten-year-olds who get the most coaching and practice. Success is the result of what sociologists like to call “accumulative advantage.” The professional hockey player starts out a little bit better than his peers. And that little difference leads to an opportunity that makes that difference a bit bigger, and that edge in turn leads to another opportunity, which makes the initially small difference bigger still—and on and on until the hockey player is a genuine outlier. But he didn’t start out an outlier. He started out just a little bit better. 

Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers
Creativity Writing

Malcolm Gladwell teaches writing in this new Masterclass

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclosure for more info.

Malcolm Gladwell’s first-ever online writing course is now available courtesy of MasterClass.

In the class, Gladwell analyzes his own best-selling books like Blink and The Tipping Point to unveil his thinking and creative process. In 24 lessons, the influential author will teach how you to discover, examine, and pen stories to illustrate your big ideas.

Write stories that captivate by learning how Malcolm researches topics, crafts characters, and distills big ideas into simple, powerful narratives.

Students will also receive a class workbook with lesson summaries, some homework, and additional helpful materials. Inspiring and informative, this is one class guaranteed to improve your writing.


Start your free Masterclass trial today and get access to over 30+ instructors, including access to courses taught by instructors such as Margaret Atwood and James Patterson, and more.

You can also sign up to Malcolm Gladwell’s single course right here.

Books Sports Video

Why great athletes enjoy suffering pain

Author Malcolm Gladwell sits down with Alex Hutchison, author of the new book [easyazon_link identifier=”0062499866″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance[/easyazon_link] to discuss how great athletes come to enjoy suffering pain.

Says Hutchison, “Great athletes don’t necessarily feel pain differently. They reframe pain differently.” Hutchison calls the suffering a type of benign masochism.

[clickToTweet tweet=”“Some day we’ll be able to identify that some people are wired to enjoy pain.”” quote=”“Some day we’ll be able to identify that some people are wired to enjoy pain.””]

Being uncomfortable is a ‘psychological coping mechanism’

The best performers also suffer more in training, says Hutchison. This reminded me of Michael Jordan who once said that he practiced so hard that the games were often easier. As the Marines like to say: ‘pain is weakness leaving the body.’

How much are you willing to suffer to be the greatest?

#sports #boxing #ali #muhammadali
via giphy


Criticism is a privilege 

“Criticism is a privilege that you earn — it shouldn’t be your opening move in an interaction…”

Malcolm Gladwell

Daily Prompt: Criticize

Life & Philosophy Quotes

Gladwell: ‘Contradict yourself on a regular basis’

If you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you’re not thinking.

Malcolm Gladwell
Life & Philosophy

Highlights: Dissecting the Success of Malcolm Gladwell

In his interview with Tim Ferriss, Malcolm Gladwell talks about his admiration for Brian Eno’s music and then reminds people about the power of music with this adage:

“The music you discover when you’re 18 is the music that stays with you the rest of your life.”

For me, that music came from Mos Def and Talib Kweli. The Blackstar album had everything: the beats, the lyrical poetry, and descriptions of otherness – on “Thieves in the Night” in particular – which resonated perfectly with my feelings about high school.

Gladwell also discusses the importance of playing the long game in the podcast. As a writer and runner, he finds that what you’re looking for often doesn’t come until later, until page 1,000 in a long novel or the 6th mile of a marathon.

You’ll find your stride if you can delay gratification.

Listen to the podcast. 


Viewpoint: Could one man have shortened the Vietnam War?

Malcolm Gladwell digs up a Vietnam War story to highlight the importance of listening in removing detrimental bias:

Listening is hard because the more you listen, the more unsettling the world becomes. It’s a lot easier just to place your hands over your ears and not listen at all.

Listen up. Face the music. Ignore bias for reality. Go with your gut and speak up when others are myopic.


Malcolm Gladwell: Albert O. Hirschman and the Power of Failure

The entrepreneur takes risks but does not see himself as a risk-taker, because he operates under the useful delusion that what he’s attempting is not risky. Then, trapped in mid-mountain, people discover the truth—and, because it is too late to turn back, they’re forced to finish the job.

You don’t need to know in order to do.  In, fact you just need to have some doubt and then just go.  

Doubt, in fact, could motivate


In short, 

There’s a disease of idiots (incompetent) and a disease of experts (over-confident) in this world.  Those with no skill are annoying and those with too much knowledge tend to miscalibrate.  

Humility lies in the balance. 


Bill Gates was the most ruthless capitalist, and then he wakes up one morning and says, ‘enough’. And he takes his money off the table. And I firmly believe that 50 years from now, Bill Gates will be remembered for his charitable work. No one will even remember what Microsoft is. And, of the great entrepreneurs of this era, people will have forgotten Steve Jobs.

Malcolm Gladwell (Interview)

Wiped from ours minds in terms of comparison and creativity?  The same has already happened to Michael Jordan.  

Gladwell forgets that in the digital world all it takes are YouTube videos and Wikipedia to remind us of someone’s greatness. 

Steve lives on.  Not forgotten.