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Amazing speech

timesurefliestimesureflies 6 replies1 threads New Member
A friend turned me onto this speech by Malcolm Gladwell at Google Zeitgeist titled "Why did I say yes to speak here?" Whether you agree or not, I found it fascinating and topical for this forum. I hope you find the time to track it down on youtube.
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Replies to: Amazing speech

  • wis75wis75 14233 replies64 threads Senior Member
    Can you give a link?
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  • timesurefliestimesureflies 6 replies1 threads New Member
    I can, but was unsure if posting links was allowed on the forum. If it’s permitted , I will be happy to post the link. Perhaps a moderator can weigh in?
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  • thumper1thumper1 76166 replies3359 threads Senior Member
    @timesureflies

    I never open links posted on this site. If this article is about colleges, college admissions, and is a recent article, how about if you post a summary.

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  • timesurefliestimesureflies 6 replies1 threads New Member
    edited December 2019
    Frankly, I don’t think a summary by me would do it justice. But it’s about the psychological concept of relative deprivation theory in the context of college selection with data to support his argument.
    edited December 2019
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  • timesurefliestimesureflies 6 replies1 threads New Member
    I also found it fascinating because I see early evidence of his assertions in my own small cohort.
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  • EconPopEconPop 428 replies7 threads Member
    edited December 2019
    Typical of Gladwell, that was a great speech, full of informative tidbits.

    The gist was related to EICD and Relative Deprivation Theory. He said that our opinions of ourselves relative to those around us affects our persistence and thus our rates of success. He started with STEM students.

    Especially interesting for me, because my son is likely to enroll as an Economics student, was that Gladwell also examined statistics for Econ PhD students at the top and not-top universities.

    Regardless of major, Gladwell was saying that statistics prove it's better to graduate in the top X% of students at an average non-prestigious university than to graduate in the lower Y% of students at a high-ranking prestigious university.

    Basically, being regarded as being in the 35th percentile (to choose a "low" number at random) of your cohort at your university is so soul crushing that it kills the spirit of students. It makes STEM students change majors. It makes students who don't change majors become low-quality performers. Speaking in generalities of course, because there are always exceptions.

    Anyone who is interested in hearing more should probably not rely on my translation and just go watch the video. You can find it on youtube by searching for "Gladwell Zeitgeist" It is only 20 minutes long.

    EDIT: My takeaway is that Gladwell is saying it is better to go to directional-state-u and star, than to go to Harvard and be considered the least smart of your class.
    edited December 2019
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  • silverpurplesilverpurple 191 replies43 threads Junior Member
    I love everything he writes and explains. But i wonder if he has a chip on his shoulder that he didn’t go to a super duper university? I know he emphasizes the merit of going to your second or third tier college but i worder if it is a bit of introspective justification.
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  • EconPopEconPop 428 replies7 threads Member
    edited December 2019
    @silverpurple , during his short speech, Gladwell repeatedly mentioned he based his revelations on studies conducted by others. Others, Gladwell says, who were themselves somewhat flabbergasted at what their research revealed. Apparently, they didn't expect such results.

    Also, during his speech, Gladwell jokes self-deprecatingly about the lack of prestige of his alma mater. I didn't get the impression he wished he had attended a more recognized university.
    edited December 2019
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6173 replies10 threads Senior Member
    It can be soul-crushing to be working super hard just to feel like you are barely keeping up, especially if the people around you not only seem to have mastered the material but are exploring and playing with it. And that definitely can happen, especially in STEM classes.

    In my imperfect data set of friends and acquaintances, this has seemed true. Being one of the weaker students can also make exploring and sampling hard (at a LAC, for example) because of the feeling that you need to stick to things that play to your strengths.

    I know there is a tendency in high school to avoid risks in favor of creating excellent credentials, but it's too bad that a lot of students don't have the opportunity to experience what it is to struggle to keep up with very advanced classmates-- many might deliberately avoid that situation in college and find places where they fit right into, or even at the front of, the pack.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1712 replies13 threads Senior Member
    @gardenstategal Yes, sadly kids NEVER have the chance to experiment. High school and colleges should be those places but they aren't anymore.
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  • garlandgarland 16127 replies202 threads Senior Member
    I started at one college where I was starring too easily--getting A's and looking for extra classes to take, and feeling like a weirdo for being the only one saying anything in classes. I transferred to the Honors program of a much more challenging school and had to work furiously to keep up. It was heaven (managed to be one of the few in the major who graduated at Highest Honors, maybe precisely because i had to work so hard. I'll take that over an easy time any day.)
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  • silverpurplesilverpurple 191 replies43 threads Junior Member
    Hopefully it wasn’t Muhlenberg, @garland . It is my daughter’s safety school, and indeed likes it very much. Just wonder if the caliber is less than challenging, and she would be different to the peers?
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  • garlandgarland 16127 replies202 threads Senior Member
    Nope, it wasn't Muhlenberg. And it was a long time ago, so I make no comment on what it might be like now. It was a financial safety, plus I really didn't know much about how to apply, and my widowed mom, having gone to a city college practically around the corner from her home, couldn't really help me. The transfer played out serendipitously (I transferred to my then BF, now husband's, school ,and it was one of the very top right decisions I made in my life).
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