Discussion Question for Chapter 1: The Matthew Effect, pgs. 15-34

Gladwell writes of our society, “It is those who are successful who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success. It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention.” Do you agree or disagree with Gladwell? And, if you think he’s right, do you think this is necessarily a bad thing?

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6 responses to “Discussion Question for Chapter 1: The Matthew Effect, pgs. 15-34

  1. Yes I do agree with Gladwell that the best only get better. I say this because the quote,“It is those who are successful who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success” is a true statement in my opinion. People who are already successful are given more chances to make it in the world, while others suffer in the capitalism system with no where to turn. Yes, I would consider this a bad thing. I would understand if a person were to say they worked hard so they deserve an award, but what about the other people who work almost twice as hard, but yet their voices are marginalized because of their past or how they look. If a person can not play God, then they shouldn’t be able to determined one’s success story neither. I can’t ever see myself allowing someone to block my success path because they think they have the right to tell me that this is the farthest I will ever come. No one or anything but myself can determine how far I will make it in life. Goodwell’s novel puts the topic out in the open so people can see where success comes from and how people become successful.

  2. In some of the ways i do agree that if some people work then they should be able to have opportunities, but what about the other. I think that even though other dont get the a lot opportunities they at least should get another chance because no one is perfect therefore we all are going to make mistake. As makayla said ” what about the other people who work almost twice as hard” what about them? some are just forgoten like if they didnt do anything. I think some of us have to work harder than others because maybe our opportunities are limited and sometimes we have them but there bad. Others are born amongs those with money and goods and more choices. The rest of us are left with less chances and harder roads to cross. Everybody should have the chance to be able to advance and become who ever they want in this world. Eventhough many people are not good they should not decide, is not up to us its God’s choice. Nevertheless there is still institutional racism and sometimes individual racism that closes the door of opportunities to the most needed.

  3. De'Stiny O'Garro

    I totally agree with Gladwell when he says “It is those who are successful who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success. It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention.” The reason I say this is because it’s the person that finished high school and college that will get the better jobs compared to the person that barely finished high school. I think if you are born with money “power” you are mostly likely to be treated better than the person that doesn’t really have any more. I also agree with Makayla when she says that its not fair that the people who work in the companies who most likely get hurt doing such jobs have to work twice as hard to make the same amount of money as the person who owns the company. And I don’t think it’s fair, I think people worked so have for everyone to have equal rights but yet people are still being judge by race, education, age and gender.

  4. I somewhat agree with what Gladwell is saying. I do think that the more successful people get more special oppourtunities than others. But then again, i don’t agree when he said that the best students get more attention. i think every student has advantages and disadvantages when it comes to learning, but i don’t think that just the best students should get special attention. I think those who may be struggling should have more attention too. People who are more successful than others, shouldn’t have special treatment just because of their intelligence or what they’ve accomplished.

  5. Vanessa Bertrand

    I do agree with Gladwell. Putting myself in this position I agree with the line “It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention” (pg.30). Iconnected with this line because since I have gone from algrebre 1 to geometry during freshman year, to now be in AP Stats this year, I get more attention. When I started slipping up just a little teachers were all over me and sayin they expect more. On the other hand they wouldnt be so crazy over other peoples grades. Also I get more colleges and programs surrounding me then others because they believe if I can do what I do now at my age then imagine the future, so they continue to give me the egde. While they look at others in the same class but since they are much older they think they arent that much of an outlier b/c they are older compared to the 16 year old in college classes. I think this is both good and bad. good b/c to get to the best colleges you have to be an outlier and stick out from te crowd. But on the other hand its not so great for those wjo never get to show their talents because of those with the advantages.

  6. Mr. Madden-Fuoco

    I agree with Gladwell’s idea of “accumulative advantage” (p. 30). It’s often hard to see how small advantages (or disadvantages) add up and help guide a person’s destiny. I’m no outlier, but looking back at my experiences, it’s clear to me that I benefited from a series of advantages. My parents had the resources to send me to pre-Kindergarten, in K-12 my parents made sure I was placed in advanced classes (not because I was a particularly hard worker), and contributions from my grandmother allowed me to go to a private college. I think that a long time ago I was reluctant to see myself as “privileged,” because there was always someone else who had more money or advantage than me; they’re the ones who are privileged, not me (so I thought).

    I do think a society that awards accumulative advantages is problematic, because implicit is the idea of accumulative disadvantage. It creates inequality, and so often in this country, patterns of inequality follow patterns based on race, class, and gender.

    Lastly, Vanessa, as a teacher I appreciate your comments about the amount of attention teachers pay to individual students, and it’s something that I will try to be mindful of.

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