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Critical Analysis Essay

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Critical Analysis Essay
I believe Gladwell’s purpose for writing “The Trouble with Geniuses” was to help people understand that those with an extremely high IQ do not necessarily end up being the most successful in life, intelligence does not equal achievement. In order to be successful in life, people need not only intelligence, but to have a good support system beginning at an early age, the ability to interact and communicate with others effectively and to have a higher socioeconomic status. A person’s family background has more to do with success than originally realized.
In my opinion, Gladwell’s audience is anyone in the general public who is interested in success, ways how to obtain it and how others went about obtaining it. Not only would this apply to people in the workforce, but also people in school or individuals trying to master a craft. A lot of people go through life wondering why or how certain people achieve things they were not able to. While this book is not a step-by-step approach, it does point out some of the important personality and character traits several highly successful people have, how they have used every opportunity afforded them to the fullest extent and how they continually practiced their craft to become the best they could.
The author uses several approaches to address his readers. One of these approaches is using pronouns such as you, we, I and me. By using statements like “Let me give you an example of . . ” (Gladwell 84) makes you feel as if he is talking to you on a personal level. This in turn can trigger an emotional response or make the reader feel the information is more relevant to them. Gladwell also presents statistics in story form to back up his theories and that in turn leads the reader to question what they have believed in regards to obtaining success. Gladwell presents his ideas in stories that are in everyday language so as not to exclude anyone. In addition to these approaches, he also keeps the material flowing by using varying sentence lengths, which also leads to greater readability.
The argument behind “Geniuses” is that a person’s IQ can relate to their degree of success, but only up to a certain point. Once an individual passes that point other factors come into play such as social status, economic status, and family background. A person needs to know how to maneuver through the intricacies of society by having the ability to interact, communicate and negotiate effectively. These skills are things a person learns in the home environment and individuals with a higher socioeconomic status tend to be more skillful in this area and therefore gain more success.
Gladwell contextualizes his argument by appealing to the masses, most everyone wants to obtain success and is interested in how to go about it. He intrigues the reader by using examples and analogies from many different areas such as the Beatles, Bill Gates and hockey that will grab the reader’s attention. By using examples that are known to most, the issue becomes more relevant and relatable. Even if people do not agree 100% with Gladwell and his ideas, it will certainly make them put more thought into his ideas.
Gladwell used the contextual perspective that several factors matter more to success than IQ alone. These factors include the way a person is raised, their socioeconomic status, and opportunity. Gladwell used examples to compare and contrast Chris Langan and Robert Oppenheimer, who were both thought to be highly intelligent. One grew up in a highly dysfunctional family that was extremely poor and the other grew up in a stable family that considered their son a genius. Gladwell explained how they both entered college and each one ran into a problem that could curtail their education. The difference was lost opportunity for Chris due to his poor social skills and inability to negotiate. On the other hand, Oppenheimer was very good at winning others over and he ended up being a well-known physicist who developed the nuclear bomb. (91-102)
I do believe Gladwell makes an excellent point in that there are many more factors to a person’s success besides high IQ. Coming from a stable background, having a good support system, and higher socioeconomic status will definitely open up more doors for a person than someone less fortunate. However, I do believe a person can learn better social skills, learn negotiation skills and make their own opportunities. It may take them longer to reach the level of success as someone that had these advantages from birth, but it could still be obtainable.…...

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