Outliers: The Story of Success Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Malcolm Gladwell
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why does Langan despair of publishing his theory?

2. Why does Langan drop out of the second college he attends?

3. How many of the musicians make it to the highest level of musicianship through talent alone?

4. What do Barnsley and a colleague find when they do further investigation into the entire country's professional hockey teams?

5. Why does Langan lose his scholarship?

Short Essay Questions

1. What table of data does Gladwell insert in his book at this point?

2. Describe Canada's system of amateur hockey leagues.

3. What does Wolf investigate and what does he learn?

4. How does Joy and some of his fellow students make it possible to use the computers more than is allowed and what is the result?

5. Why is the local physician's claim unusual, and what does Wolf decide to do?

6. Where is Langan at the time Gladwell writes his book?

7. To what does Gladwell attribute the difference between Langan and Oppenheimer?

8. What does Anders Ericcson learn in a study he makes of musicians?

9. How are students in the hockey leagues grouped and what is the way the children move into other leagues?

10. Describe Chris Langan's childhood and college years.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Gladwell gives the reader an overview of his ideas about success in Outliers. Discuss one of the following:

1. Discuss Gladwell's opinions of three topics he discussed in relation to success. Do you agree or disagree with him? Why? Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

2. Compare and contrast Gladwell's opinions from Outliers with what you might imagine Gladwell's opinion might be had he lived 100 years ago. How do you think his opinions would change? Would they remain the same? Explain fully. Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

3. Discuss how you think Gladwell's view on several topics from this essay informs his life as a researcher. Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

The suggestion Gladwell takes from these numbers is that while efforts are being made to reduce class size and improve school facilities, the facts point to a simpler solution for children who are falling behind in school. They need more of it.

This is part of the philosophy behind the KIPP Academy. Students are at school until 5 o'clock in the evening. They attend class on Saturdays, and go for an extra three weeks in the summer. They spend on average fifty percent more time in class than students in the regular schools.

1. Discuss, in depth, why educators believe smaller class size would help students. Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

2. Explain why you would or would not be willing to attend KIPP. Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

3. Do you think education is the most important part of a child's life or do you think it is secondary to other areas? Why or why not? Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

Essay Topic 3

Hostile takeovers become more and more common and Flom and others receive more and more work. Finally, the white shoe firms come around and start to take on the work, but by this time Flom has so much more experience at it that he is able to command a large part of the business and surpass many of the established firms. Had he not been excluded for being Jewish when he first started, he would have lost the advantage, Gladwell explains.

1. Explain irony in the context of Joe Flom's success. Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

2. Do you think the way the circumstances changed in the law profession might have made the white Christian lawyers decide prejudice was not in their best interest? Why or why not? Use examples from Outliers and your own life to support your answer.

3. Make up an example of how a minority in your school might be successful at an endeavor because of prejudice. Use examples from Outliers and your own life to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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