4 Replies to “Assorted Links”

  1. I had a conversation about Jane Jacobs with professor emeritus Michael B. Teitz, at Berkeley. It must have been a twenty minute conversation and I am interested in reading more about Jane Jacobs. Seth, how come you like Jane Jacobs so much? I remember the day when Seth gave a book talk in San Francisco, at Stacey’s bookstore. On his blog, he mentioned that he had wanted a book by Jane Jacobs. But after the talk when he wanted to buy it, the book was gone! I learn a lot of stuff on this blog that help me talk with other professors at UC Berkeley. I like how your mind works, Seth.

  2. i read only part of the Gladwell critique, but it sounds like blinding envy to me; Gladwell is brilliant (IMO) and i always listen/read what he has to say.

  3. When I lived in London, I concluded that British envy is different from American envy. An American might say, “I’m every bit as good as him — I deserve a promotion!” The Brit will say, “He’s no smarter than I am — he should be demoted!”

  4. I’m sure there’s much that can be disputed in Gladwell’s books. But to claim, as the Gladwell Critique does, that the message of the newly published Outliers is simply that genius takes hard work is a ridiculous distortion. The thesis of the book is rather that success has much less to do with individual merit–understood as natural talent or ability plus hard work–than we generally like to believe, and much more with to do with factors external to the individual: parental upbringing, culture, random opportunity, and arbitrary advantages. This is not a trivial claim, and it is well worth discussing, especially in America. I can’t say now whether Gladwell accurately reports all the social science he relies on, but I found Outliers a very thought-provoking book. (See also his related piece in the current New Yorker.)

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