OUTLIERS Excerpts - i OUTLIERS The Story of Success By...

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i OUTLIERS The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell Excerpts and Highlights from, Chapter One: The Matthew Effect, Chapter Two: The 10,000 Hour Rule, and Chapter Eight: Rice Paddies and Math Test as edited by Matt Green. Outlier: (1) Something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body; (2) a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others from the sample. THE MATTHEW EFFECT (plagiarized, abridged and paraphrased…with a lot left out) INTRODUCTION Canadian hockey is a meritocracy. Thousands of Canadian boys begin to play the sport at the ‘novice’ level, before they are even in kindergarten. From that point on, there are leagues for every age class, and at each of those levels, the players are sifted and sorted and evaluated, with the most talented separated out and groomed for the next level. By the time players reach their midteens, the very best of the best have been channeled into an elite league known as Major Junior A, which is the top of the pyramid. And if your Major Junior A team plays for the Memorial Cup, that means you are at the very top of the top of the pyramid. This is the way most sports pick their future stars. It’s the way soccer is organized in Europe and South America, and it’s the way Olympic athletes are chosen. For the matter, it is not all that different from the way the world of classical music picks its future virtuosos, or the way the world of ballet picks its future ballerinas, or the way our elite educational system picks its future scientists and intellectuals. Hockey players are judged on their performance and ability, not on some other arbitrary fact….or are they? I seeking that answer for “what makes people successful”, “Hockey is a good place to start because the explanation for who gets to the top of the hockey world is a lot more interesting and complicated than it looks.”
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PATTERN IN THE DATA In looking at the player roster for the 2007 Medicine Hat Tigers, a Canadian Major Junior A hockey team, a pattern in the data is present. Of the 25 players on the roster, 14 of the players born in 1986- 1990 were born in January, February or March. 56% of the players were born in the first quarter of the year, whether it be 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, or 1990. The pattern implies, or at least presents the possibility, that there is an important phenomenon around “relative age”. Canadian psychologist, Roger Barnsley, noticed this same pattern in the data of a similar roster in the mid-eighties. For some reason, “there were an incredible number of January, February, and March birth dates.” Barnsley researched the birth dates of as many professional hockey players as he could find. He saw the same pattern in the data. Barnsley, his wife, and a colleague, A. H. Thompson, then gathered statistics on every player in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. The pattern in the data was consistent. More players were born in January than any other month, and by an overwhelming margin.
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course ENGR 2002 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '11 term at The University of Oklahoma.

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OUTLIERS Excerpts - i OUTLIERS The Story of Success By...

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