Monday, 5 December 2011

Book Review: Outliers - The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is the name I heard the most from friends whenever mentioning about books and intellectual talks. I don’t know why, maybe by coincidence, I received recommendations on his books from at least 3 people (those who I know in person) from different areas of sciences. The first time I heard about him should be in 2008. At that time, frankly, I wasn’t very excited to read English books at all (English isn’t my native language). Whenever thinking about reading, understanding and catching the metaphor behind the books, I procrastinated myself. Therefore, I kept lying myself that because I was so busy and I couldn’t spend time seriously on reading books. That excuse made me feel better during years. It’s somehow called as “Willful Blindness”[1] symptom.

Luckily, I’ve been beginning “biting” English books since around 2009. No need to say how wonderful it is that I’m in love with books now; no matter they’re in English or my native language. I’m excited to read and write down my feelings as well as lessons I got from them. This is another way to help me remember books longer. Sometimes when I go back to my reviews, I can recall the entire of book contents and find ways to apply their skill sets here and there. Reading books and writing reviews turn to be my useful hobby now.

By chances, I watched some intellectual talks from TED ( a month ago. One of the talks was from Malcolm Gladwell. The talk showed me his style better than any book recommendations from other people. After watching his talk, I successfully convinced myself to start reading his book series. [To say it fairly, I guess friends’ recommendation contributed more or less in this final decision though].

I didn’t know why I started with “Outliers” first, not others. “Outliers” wasn’t the first book in his series at all. Maybe the book title was eye-catchy more than others to me.

First of all, I have to admit that I like the book but incompletely. The reason I write this book review is for the main philosophies and the secrets of success the author pointed out. They’re astonishing and amazing. The part I don’t like was, on the other hand, at each chapter, I felt like the author was abusing too much space for narratives. To me, the narratives are too verbal and not very suitable with the book motto defined by Gladwell: respect the beauty in saying something clearly and simply. Anyway, that unpleasant part is just trivial too me. It’s not big enough to prevent me from enjoying the wonderful work behind the book.

Basically, the book explains human successes not simply around intelligence and ambition. The author tells the different stories, or in another way to say - more detail stories to make successors (outliers). It does matter what year you were born if you want to be a Silicon Valley billionaire; or even which month you were born if you want to be a hockey player. Similarly, it does matter where you were born if you want to be a successful pilot. The author pointed out full analysis for successes of Beatles, Bill Joy, Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and a lot of billionaires in over the world.

Here is definition of “outlier” excerpted from the book:
out·li·er/ˈoutˌlīər/ noun
1. Something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body.
2. A statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.

I can understand pretty well Eastern culture in general, or at least I think so. Human beings make cult of things they can’t understand well such as: weather, destiny, death, etc. Even though in the modern society, science has explained for most of them, Asians (partly) still keep the cult here and there since it’s in their culture and their blood. Vietnam is one of the countries in the list. Vietnamese people have a famous saying to explain for outliers: Thiên thời, địa lợi, nhân hòa. The saying can be translated loosely into English as:
  • right place, right time and right person
  •  vantage of circumstances, vantage of the location, human vantage

When I read the book, I found the intersection between the saying the author’s argument. The author seems to re-confirm the trust that Asian people found for thousands of years ago. That trust may be new in the Western, where successes are usually analyzed and considered at individual effort, but not in Eastern. However, unlike the blind faith (unexplainable trust), the book is far better when it one more step puts down all successes into explainable stories.

Here are the factors to build up outliers the book suggests to study:

To better understand the diagram, I want to excerpt a paragraph from the book: “the tallest oak in the forest is the tallest not just because it grew from the hardiest acorn; it is the tallest also because no other trees blocked its sunlight, the soil around it was deep and rich, no rabbit chewed through its bark as a sapling, and no lumberjack cut it down before it matured. We all know that successful people come from hardy seeds. But do we know enough about the sunlight that warmed them, the soil in which they put down the roots, and the rabbits and lumberjacks they were lucky enough to avoid?” During each chapter, the book will one by one mention the role of each element in the diagram above in different stories of life.

The introduction chapter, the book mentioned the importance of Community to make outliers. It’s the story about Roseto people living in a town of Pennsylvania in the United States.  

The reason to call Roseto people as outliers is very simple: “Rosetans were dying of old age. That’s it.” That’s really a mystery, isn’t it? When more and more people are dying because of heart diseases and cancers, dying of old age is really a wish.  

A local doctor of Roseto said that “I’ve been practicing for seventeen years. I get patients from all over, and I rarely find anyone from Roseto under the age of 65 with heart disease.” A physician (Stewart Wolf) and his team had tried to do a lot of investigations to find the reasons.

They did everything that a researcher can think of:
  • tried to analyze histories and constructed family genes, test blood, dietary practices, exercises, etc. Researchers found that Rosetans didn’t have anything special. Rosetans didn’t even practice any dietary or exercise; they eat a lot of sweet and fat food. They cook with lard, not oil either.
  • also checked other groups of Rosetans living in other areas. Just Rosetans living in Roseto town in Pennsylvania were dying of old age. Others are different.
  • lived inside Roseto town and observed the nature conditions and people habits. Nothing special at all. Roseto is a self sufficient world and isolated from around. Rosetans didn’t have any vantage of location.
  • visited other close-by and similar towns as Roseto to see if they’re sharing the same feature since they are in the same territory. None of those towns shares the same secret.
Since all of those works didn’t find out any clear reason, the researchers changed the strategy. They started observing the way Rosetans visited each other, stopped to talk to each other on street, shared about experiences, cooked for one another in backyard, ran 3 generations under one roof, calm and respectful, helped each other overcome failures, etc. They found out the key was community. To understand correctly what made Rosetans as outliers, they have to study the factors beyond of individual scope.

“The Matthew Effect” chapter highlighted the common birth month between best hockey players in the best hockey teams in Canada. No one even recognized this common phenomenon until Roger Barnsley and his wife found it around mid-1980s. After that, people began to pay attention to birthdays of all outliers in hockey teams. Incredibly, the majority of them were born in January, February and March. They could make the amazing statistics for best Canadian hockey players such as: 40% of players were born in January to March, 30% of them were born around April and June, 20% between July and September, and 10% between October and December.

The explanation has nothing to do with neither astrology nor magical things. In Canada, coaches start to select good players at the age of nine or ten to train them in star teams. It turns out that the boys who were born in early months of the year will have the benefit of critical extra months of maturity and practices, that why it’s a little easier for them than other late-born boys to take a role in star teams. Since early-born boys begin playing in star teams earlier, they get better coaching with better teammate, and they can play more than 50 games a season instead of 20 games a season like those left behind in the “house” league. So at the beginning, the birth month advantage wasn’t so much. But by time when they get the age of 13 or 14, with better coaching and practicing, their advantage turned to be huge.  This law will be applied for all fields if selection, streaming and differentiated experience happen. Any kind of separation the “talented” from the “untalented” at early age, the people who were born closest to the cutoff date will get the huge advantages.

And yeah, the law of cutoff dates matters with schooling too when kids born for the whole year round were sent to school at only one month. The kids were born in early months of the year seemly get better scores and leave the worse for the kids of late months. The distance is even larger if early-month-born-kids are selected into talented teams. The consequence is that late-month-born-kids are getting more and more frustrated since they’re always the followers. At the end, people are awarded for the success with the thinking that they made the success on their own, no one was helping them. They’re right but not enough. They’ve already worked very hard to succeed; but they were also given the huge advantage implicitly, that was their birthdays. To break the law and make it fair for all kids, the book suggested splitting kids into different classes grouping by their birth months: Jan through Apr born students in one class, the May through Aug in another class, and those born in Sep to Dec in the 3rd class. By that chance, students will complete against others of the same maturity level. They won’t have to deal with the implicit disadvantage which isn’t their fault at all.

According to the author, the reason why we don’t change anything even though we saw the law. It’s because we cling to the idea that success is a simple function of individual merit, and the world in which we all grow up and the rules we choose to write as a society, don’t matter at all.

The next chapter is my favorite one: the 10,000 hour rule. This chapter mentions the importance of time-of-work. The author borrowed life stories of famous computer science engineers to convey the rule.

First life story was about Bill Joy, who was right at 16 year old and came into University of Michigan (UoM) at the year the computer centre opened first time in 1971. UoM had one of the most advanced computer science programs in the world at that time too. Even more excited, Joy got a job at computer centre with a professor. He got hooked daily there and programmed during the summer. Four years later, he enrolled into the University of California and buried himself even deeper in the world of computer software. He also made an excellent particularly complicated algorithm on the fly for his PhD oral exams. He had the chance to take task of rewriting UNIX which has been running on million of computers around the world so far. He was also the person writing much of the software that allows accessing the Internet. Bill Joy, the name after a lot of famous legends in computer science: cofounded Silicon Valley firm Sun Microsystems, wrote a new computer language Java, etc. Yes, he’s an outlier. So what made him an outlier?

An age-old question: is there such a thing as innate talent? Obviously the answer is yes. However, Edison already said: “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Here, to find the answer for Bill Joy’s outlier story, Gladwell affirms the same rule as Edison with a crucial modification, the measure of success is from particularly how many hours people have practiced. It’s important to practice, but how many hours are enough? To become a true expertise, the answer is the magic number: ten thousand hours.

The following contents, the author analyzed all famous people under the same time frame to show the truth behind that magic number.
  • Mozart, famously started writing music at six but his real masterpieces were not done until he was 21 year old; after ten years had been composing concertos.
  • Now, with Bill Joy again, he was fallen into first achievements of computer science at right time and right place at his right age. He got all the best. He was closed to the UoM campus; he found a bug that allowed him to use computers for free the whole day and finally he spent all his time (8 to 10 hours a day) to program software in his teen years. Until his first year in Berkeley, his total time to program already reached 10,000 hours. He got his fortune on all next years of life after that single milestone.
  • The Beatles also followed the same time frame to be known as they are. When they were new and unknown, they had been playing nonstop anything and anywhere. They even used to play 8 hours a day and 7 days a week in Hamburg during 2 years. From the year 1957 to 1962, they had performed approximately over 10,000 hours. Their first burst of success came in 1964.
  • Bill Gates, brilliant at math, came from a wealthy family which helped him opportunities to work with computer at the most precious time of the year 1968 when time-sharing system had been just invented. He was 18 at that time. He had begun with the new computer system 2 years earlier than Bill Joy; and his age was even more perfect than Bill Joy. Gates was hooked at programming not less than Joy. He had plenty of time to program on free computers (from a club under relations of his mom, from a company, and from a university). Finally, Gates was way past 10,000 hours during 7 consecutive programming years before he kicked off his own software company.

Once again, we vaguely see the role of birthdays in this chapter too. It’s important which year you were born to catch up with computer emerges as well as other industries. Jan 1975 was the dawn of personal computer age. If you were born too late to catch up that year, you were behind in computer experience. If you were born too early, you had been settled down with your marriage life, house mortgage and a baby on the way; you never wanted to give up your job to run after a new emerge industry. Thus, just people who were born between 1954 and 1958 were ready to take the wings to coming revolution of computer. Among that group, the perfect year-born was 1955. Here comes the birthdays of famous people at Silicon Valley: Bill Gate (Oct 28, 1955), Paul Allen – Gates’ best friend at MS (Jan 21, 1953), Steve Ballmer – another rich man at MS (Mar 24, 1956), Steve Jobs – cofounder of Apple Inc. (Feb 24, 1955), Eric Schmidt – Novell firm and CEO of Google (Apr 27, 1955) and Bill Joy (Nov 8, 1954). What we can conclude? It’s obviously that the success of these outliers didn’t come from them alone even though they worked extremely hard. It was also a product of the world in which they grew up.

At chapter 3 and 4, Gladwell dug deeper into why that’s the case by looking at the outlier in its purest and most distilled form – the genius (innate talent). He tried to explain why geniuses are not always getting huge successes in their lives. He showed statistics to affirm that extraordinary achievement is less about talent than it is about your family background - how you were cultivated by family and community during your childhood.

The author classified intelligence into two classes: analytic and practical. With analytic or general intelligence, people can get it from their family genes and it can be measured by IQ tests[2]. With practical intelligence, people have to learn and practice to have it. Practical intelligence somehow relates to social savvy. Both classes of intelligence are separated from each other. A person is good at analytic intelligence; it doesn’t mean he is good at practical intelligence and vice versa.

An innate genius without practical intelligence won’t guarantee for his extraordinary achievements at the end. So, how to cultivate the practical intelligence?

A research from a sociologist Annette Lareau was mentioned in this chapter. She studied and kept recording all coaching activities of 12 families in different backgrounds and cultures. She recognized that, there were many kinds of families and many kinds of coaching, however, all of them could be classified under two philosophies of parenting: The wealthier parents raised their kids one way, and the poorer parents raised their kids another way. Simple, isn’t it?

The wealthier parents were heavily involved in their children’s free time, shuttling them from one activity to the next, quizzing them about their teachers and coaches and teammates. That kind of intensive scheduling was almost entirely absent from the lives of the poor children. The kids from poor families had to make up the games themselves and accept with what they currently had. They were usually separated from adult world. The middle-class parenting style was “concerted cultivation,” try to “foster and assess” a child’s talents, opinions and skills actively. Oppositely, poor parents tended to follow a strategy of “accomplishment of natural growth.” Those parents saw their responsibility to care for their children but to let them grow and develop on their own.

Each style has its own vantages. However, the style from middle-parents helps the kids improve more social interactions. It gives the kids the “entitlement” [in the good meaning]. The kids know their rights and actively pursue what they want. The opposite kids, they didn’t know how to get their way, or how to “customize,” whatever environment they were in, for their best purposes.

The author described lives of two geniuses in comparison, Chris Langan and Robert Oppenheimer. Both of them passed IQ test at top group (the score is over 180). Both of them possessed alike personalities and were dropped out of schools in the middle. Both of them were working extremely hard. However, Chris Langan works were refused all the time when he submitted them to relevant organizations. His life turned out trivial. How about Robert Oppenheimer? He was a famous physicist to develop nuclear bomb for American during WWII. The only difference between them was: Chris Langan was born in extremely poor family without any proper of coaching from parents. While at another side, Robert Oppenheimer was under “entitlement” coaching when he was just a little kid.

Chapter 5, the author gave three stories about Jewish lawyers to re-affirm the 10,000 hour rule and the luck of time. He proved the importance of “When” issue. The chapter opened with stories about Joe Flom and Alexander Bickel. Both of them were Jewish immigrants [under heavy social discrimination at their time] and thrived to be famous lawyers in Manhattan without any supportive background. They kicked off their own law firms with the jobs that other big “white-shoe” firms didn’t want to do: hostile corporate takeovers and litigation. And, boom! When the economics were changing, more and more companies wanted to take over others. The situation was reversed: all the jobs came to those Jewish layer firms when they were mature with thousands of working hours in the field. They now turned to be the lawyers of the times, not “white-shoe” firms anymore. The Jewish layers’ story was somehow similar with Bill Joy, Bill Gates and all other computer guys who also hit the heel at the right time of computer dawn.

The second story was also about thriving lawyer [born before 1912] but he was not successful at the end. However, his son [born far later than 1912, it was 1930s] got it all. The explanation was the WWII. The dad was at middle thirties when WWII hit the world. That means his career was drafted and disrupted. He didn’t have much choice since the job was scarce. He had to suffer the most devastating events of the twentieth century in his life. With the son, the story was different. Statistic showed the birth rate in U.S was, per 1000 Americans, there were 29.5 babies born in 1915; 18.7 babies born in 1935; and 24.1 babies born in 1950. That means the son got all better environment and less competition when the number of babies born at his time was very low.

The third story was about the success of finding meaningful work that no one could see it yet. It was about another immigrant couple building a garment business from bare hands with the first product were made-and-ready-to-be-worn aprons. They first struggled for life with pushcarts and selling clothes on street, a tough life like all other immigrants. However, a lot of people were selling clothes inland and the future of a pushcart wasn’t that bright if the immigrants did the same. Thus, the husband kept questing and questing when he was at his most difficult time of life, no food, no money, and 3 people rely on him. He knew he would hit the wall anytime. And magically, at the very last day when he hardly had any escape if he couldn’t find a way, he found the mean of life from an embroidered apron worn by a girl playing hopscotch on street. He never knew anyone selling those aprons on the market before. From that moment, aprons saved his family. The couple sewed day and night whenever they could. They started selling from a couple of aprons to hundreds of them, from one garment store to many, and so on. One more time, if looking back to the root of the family’s success, it was not suddenly the husband found his business in garment. It’s from his mainland culture when people were usually very good at trading and sewing. Garment was something they are very skillful for years. That’s why, his success was the beautiful combination of culture, generation, family history and his meaningful work at right time.

The rest of the book discussed how crucial the culture took in human beings’ successes and failures. Culture is the given gift of life whether you welcome it or not. There are totally 4 chapters to cover about the culture legacy, to explain how to overcome the disadvantage and make use of the advantage.
The first chapter about culture legacy uses “culture of honor” as a factor to explain why homicides tend to happen more on one group of people than others. To find the answers, researchers had to check back to the past and look for the way their ancestor generations survived and maintained for living. Succinctly, for instance, lives of herdsman/shepherd required human to be more aggressive than lives of famers. Nomads needed their name and honor to protect their properties. That’s why they could pay their life to keep their honor. Consequently, descendants of nomads will inherit partly the same culture from their ancestors even though none of them are longer herdsmen or shepherd in modern life. What was learnt from that conclusion? The lesson was, it does matter where you’re from, not just in terms of where you grew up or where your parents grew up, but in terms of where your great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents grew up and even where your great-great-great-grandparents grew up.

The next chapter about culture legacy, Gladwell used the case of Korean pilots to explain disadvantage of culture legacy in aviation and how Korean pilots overcame the situation. Usually, there are three pilots controlling a plane when it’s in the sky: captain, first officer and engineer. Captain (usually from Western countries) controls the flight directly; first officer (usually from Korea) communicates with the ground and to be direction advisor for captain. In Korean language (alike some other Asian countries), there are no fewer than six different levels of conversational address, depending on the relationship between the addressee and the addresser: formal deference, informal deference, blunt, familiar, intimate, and plain. Similarly, in Korean society, lower ranking people must yield the right to higher ranking people first. The book used the term “power distance” to describe that culture. As strong as “power distance” is, as much conservative (careful and implicit) the people are. The communication orientation between Western and Eastern are also much different. Western communication has what linguists call a “transmitter orientation” – that is, it is considered the responsibility of the speaker to communicate ideas clearly and unambiguously. On the other hand, Korean communication was opposite. It’s “receiver oriented” - it’s up to the listener to make sense of what is being said.

The following conversation between an employer and employee is an illustration:
Employer: It’s cold and I’m kind of hungry.
[Meaning: Why don’t you buy a drink or something to eat?]
Employee: How about having a glass of liquor?
[Meaning: I will buy liquor for you.]
Employer: It’s okay. Don’t bother.
[Meaning: I will accept your offer if you repeat it.]
Employee: You must be hungry. How about going out?
[Meaning: I insist upon treating you.]
Employer: Shall I do so?
[Meaning: I accept.]

The subtlety of communication isn’t bad by itself. Just one thing, that communication requires the listener to pay close attention and plenty of time to think. It’s not for the emergency case like plane crashes, especially when that subtlety is used between a person from Western (captain) and another from Eastern (first officer). After many years studying about all plane crashes in perfect conditions in Korea, they found out the root was from “power distance” communications in the cockpit. Where was that “power distance” from? It was one of the culture legacies. So, where were the outliers in this chapter? The outliers are Korean aviation and pilots nowadays. Korean aviation dramatically changed from “really bad” to “excellent” now was the result of re-forming orientation after studies of culture legacy. Korean pilots were trained in different environment that they had to speak English with “you” and “I” (no more 6 levels of communications); they were encouraged to give straight commands or even gain the cockpit control in case they believed that captain was making a dangerous decision.

Before starting a new chapter, a question is given: Is there a relation between rice paddies and math tests? Gladwell will let you know the answer in this next chapter in culture legacy series.

About math, in Asian counting system, the number was made up in an easier way than English. Eleven, twenty or thirty in English, for instance, are irregular counting numbers, reading and writing are different.
Twenty = 2 times of 10 (matching process in mind) = 20.
Thirty = 3 times of 10 (matching process in mind) = 30.
The matching process just happens after kids can understand language well.

In Asian counting system, eleven is ten-one, twenty is two-ten and thirty is three-ten. That means, whatever you read, you can write down exactly the same. This is one of the best advantages for Asian people to mastering math faster. Plus, with this counting system, kids can start basic math very early without the barrier of language.
Eleven (in English) = ten-one (in Asian system) = 10 and 1 = 11. Read ten-one, write the same 11.
Twenty (in English) = two-ten (in Asian system) = 2 and 10 = 20. Read two-ten, write the same 20.

Talk about rice paddies, the first image popping up in our mind is the image of industrious Asian farmers rising before the dawn and returning after the dusk, no weekend, no vacation. Cultivating rice isn’t simple just like plowing up the soil and planting the seeds. Rice paddies require a lot of care from the owners (taking care of water source, building up dikes system, experiencing about weather, building right clay floor hardness, measuring soft soil layer, fertilizing regularly but right time, dividing suitable paddies for different rice varieties, weeding, harvesting and calculating for the next crop). Since farmers have to take care of many detail tasks and calculations daily with catchier counting system, Asian people in the blood can calculate faster.

One more feature that Asian people inherited from their rice paddy culture is the persistence. On their mind, they implicitly understood that one was in poverty just because he didn’t work properly and hard enough. By that motto, they tend to chase after a problem longer by themselves before surrendering and asking for help. That means, with math, when they spend just a little more time to work on it, they can solve more problems. Since they can solve problems, they love solving problems more. Since they love solving more problems, they love math more. That loop keeps them move further and further in math.

Finally, all of those evidences explained partly why Asian kids did math better than the rest at school or in international math tests. There is for real a connecting dot between rice paddies and the mass outliers in math of Asian people.

After understanding the value of year-round-working of farmers and rice paddies, the next chapter is the great practical application of it in U.S high schools. From many pieces of research on score of tests in high school, they found that kids from poor families are being fallen behind their friends in rich families not at the time the kids all are at school; it was the time of school break. In school break months, rich families would give kids more chances to entertain and learn from books or real world. Therefore, their kids are still being developing. It’s opposite for poor families - kids would gather with their friends at play ground outside. They enjoyed the wonderful time but there was nothing relating to developing schooling skills. With the same theory, researchers also compared school time difference between U.S and Asian students. While U.S school year was average 180 days long, South Korean and Japanese schools past over 220 days long. And the result was Asian kids had more time to learn whatever they needed to learn and less time to unlearned when they were on the break. This found contributed the huge change in U.S high school system to improve studying results of students no matter of their family conditions. Some top public high schools in U.S lengthen school year and help poor students break through. Students from poor families have to shed some part of their own identity to overcome their culture legacy. They now can choose either “give up weekends and evenings to gain success at the end like their friends” or “always behind.” They are given an opportunity to make their own choice now.
From beginning of the book to now, we can see that: everything we have learned in outliers says that success follows a predictable course. It’s not the brightest to succeed. Nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. It is, rather, a gift. Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.  Outliers are not sprung from the earth.

The epilogue, Gladwell mentioned about colored children in Jamaica and their opportunity to thrive, including his grandmother, his mother and himself. He analyzed again how important to catch the luck of time and strive to become outliers (different from the rest of people in the same background). The principle is the same combination of opportunities, strength, and effort.

Book review has its vantage of length comparing with the book itself. However, a book review is just a tiny snapshot; it by any meaning can’t replace the book. The most success to a book review is that after you read it, you want to find the book [has been reviewed in its content].
Hope you will enjoy the book like I did.  

[1] “Willful Blindness” is another book I’m reading. If it’s possible, I will write review for it later. To understand the term in this context, the book stated: “Many, perhaps even most, of the greatest crimes have been committed not in the dark, hidden where no one could see them, but in full view of so many people who simply chose not to look and not to question.”
In my case, it can be interpreted as followings: I chose to lie myself instead of accepting my procrastination and overcome it.

[2] People usually use IQ to measure how brilliant a person is. If IQ is below 70, it’s considered as mentally disabled. We need IQ around 115 to have easy life with a graduate. People may be more successful if their IQ is up to 120. However, IQ is a catch, the author claimed, because if you get more than 120, seem like no evidence to ensure you will get more advantage in real world comparing with the one with IQ at 120. Geniuses usually have IQ from 130 to 190. Their IQ means something comparing with people in range 100 to 120, but there is no much difference between them. That means the chance to win Nobel Prize is the same for a person whose IQ is 130 and 180. The consequence is the intelligence matters only up to a point, and then past that point, other things – things that have nothing to do with intelligence must start to matter more.

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