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. Who is most likely to get into gifted programs in the school system Gladwell mentions?

2. What does Gladwell say Roseto, Pennsylvania is an example of?

3. Who is Bill Joy?

4. What does Roger notice about the majority of the hockey players in the game he is watching?

5. What does Gladwell conclude about the heart health of Roseto's residents?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who is Bill Joy and what did he do?

2. Who is Robert Oppenheimer and what does he accomplish?

3. With what definition does Gladwell open his book?

4. What is Langan working on and when does he expect to publish it?

5. What does Wolf finally decide is the reason for the low number of heart disease-related deaths?

6. When are most of Canada's best hockey players born, and why does Barnley think that is so?

7. Where is Roseto and who founded it?

8. What is the origination of the title of this chapter, "The Matthew Effect"?

9. What does Gladwell say Langan does not seem to be able to do?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Gladwell measured things such as to what extent the people of a country trust and follow authority, and with what degree of willingness. This measurement is called the "Power Distance Index" or PDI. Countries like the United States have a low PDI, meaning that people interact with figures of authority without much deference and are ready to challenge authority when the situation calls for it. Countries like South Korea and Colombia have a high PDI, meaning that they recognize many levels of authority in a cultural hierarchy and are reluctant to challenge authority.

1. Why do you think recognizing many levels of authority in a cultural hierarchy might influence a person to not challenge authority? Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

2. Give an example, not discussed in Outlier, and discuss, in depth, where challenging authority would have a negative result. Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

3. Give an example, not discussed in Outlier, and discuss, in depth, where challenging authority would have a positive result. Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

Gladwell cites the results of a study by a math professor named Alan Schoenfeld who looks at the way people learn math. Schoenfeld discovers that it takes time for most students to grasp a mathematical concept. Many western students simply give up on difficult math problems or concepts rather than take the time to fully grasp the concept. Students who are willing and able to put in more work are going to gain a more meaningful and deep grasp of math.

1. Do you agree with Alan Schoenfeld's assessment of Asians and math, that they spent more time learning it or do you think they just have brains that work better in a mathematical manner? Why or why not? Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

2. Do you think children in America should attend school more hours and have more homework? Why or why not? Use examples from Outliers to support your answer.

3. Give an example of a skill you wish to learn that you would be willing to spend a great deal of time on and discuss a plan of how you would improve your skill. 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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