Understanding the assignment: On page 17 of Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell debates whether or not some kinds of success are actually based on individual merit. He argues that “these kinds of personal explanations of success don’t work. People don’t rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage” (19). Gladwell goes on to explain the effects of age cutoffs with regard to schooling practices in the U.S. He cites the study conducted by Dhuey and Bedard (29), noting, “At four-year colleges in the United States – students belonging to the relatively youngest group in their class are under-represented by about 11.6 percent. That initial difference in maturity [between students immediately before and after the cutoff date] doesn’t go away with time. It persists” (29).
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