I started reading this book last year but only picked it up again this year. The book is divided into 3 main sections:
1 Obsessives, Pioneers and Other Varieties of Minor Genius
2 Theories, Predictions and Diagnoses
3 Personality, Character and Intelligence
Part 3 was hands down the most interesting section. Part 1 was good enough to keep going, however, once I reached part 2 I failed to read on, I even had to skip a couple of chapters because those topics didn’t interest me. When Malcolm Gladwell discussed strategy in sport or war my brain seemed to shut down, however, anything related to intelligence, human behaviour and the criminal mind had me gripped. Once I got to part 3 I zoomed right through to the end. Outliers remains my favourite book of his followed by Blink and then What the Dog Saw.
I was most interested by the “stereotype threat” apparently, once a certain group is confronted to perform a task that they are stereotyped as not being good at, they underperform e.g. in a test of intelligence blacks underperform if they are told it is a test but perform equivalently to their white counterparts if the test is just given to them without an explanation; the same underperformance was observed with white men jumping and women on quantitative ability. I didn’t even know some people believe black people are less intelligent until last year!! I guess you’d have to know the stereotype existed to feel threatened by something.
A girlfriend of mine who’s a trader told me that her boss consistently makes snide comments about her being ditsy and less intelligent than “the boys” such that whenever he puts her on the spotlight with a question she find herself hesitating even when she knows the answer. Now I can tell her why.
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
Time allowing, I love to read. If I read anything interesting, I will blog about it here.