Outliers: The Story of Success | Study Guide

Malcolm Gladwell

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Outliers: The Story of Success | Key Figures

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Key Figure Description
Christopher Langan Christopher Langan is a genius with an IQ of 195 who has never found academic or personal success. His story is the basis of Chapters 3 and 4. Read More
Aaron Aaron is a student Gladwell observed doing a math problem at KIPP Academy in the South Bronx.
Air Florida captain The captain of the Air Florida flight that crashed in 1982 outside of Washington DC is quoted in Chapter 7. He ignores the first officer's warnings about ice on the plane's wings.
Air Florida first officer The first officer of the Air Florida flight that crashed in 1982 outside of Washington DC is quoted in Chapter 7. He repeatedly tries to tell the captain about the danger of the ice on the plane's wings.
Karl Alexander Karl Alexander is a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University. He studied the achievement gap in public education.
Mike Alexander Mike Alexander helped develop the University of Michigan's revolutionary computing system.
Paul Allen Paul Allen is the cofounder of Microsoft and Bill Gates's childhood friend.
Luis Alvarez Luis Alvarez won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1968. Though he took the tests to become part of Lewis Terman's group of child geniuses, his IQ was deemed too low for inclusion.
Philip Danforth Armour Philip Danforth Armour was an American entrepreneur. He made his money in the meatpacking industry.
Leslie Arps Leslie Arps was one of the founders of the New York City law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He hired Joe Flom out of law school.
George F. Baker George F. Baker was an American bank president and philanthropist.
Steve Ballmer Steve Ballmer is the third-richest Microsoft executive.
Paula Barnsley Paula Barnsley first noticed the connection between elite youth hockey teams and the players' months of birth. Her husband, Roger Barnsley, further investigated Paula's theory.
Roger Barnsley Roger Barnsley is a Canadian psychologist who researched the connection between elite youth hockey teams and the players' months of birth.
Andy Bechtolsheim Andy Bechtolsheim is one of the founders of Sun Microsystems.
Kelly Bedard Kelly Bedard is an economist who researched the correlation of one's birthday to their academic test scores.
Pete Best Pete Best was the original drummer of the Beatles. He was later replaced by Ringo Starr.
Alexander Bickel Alexander Bickel was one of Joe Flom's law school classmates.
Solomon Bickel Solomon Bickel is Alexander Bickel's father. He and his wife, Yetta, immigrated to the United States from Romania.
Yetta Bickel Yetta Bickel is Alexander Bickel's mother. She and her husband, Solomon, immigrated to the United States from Romania.
Mr. Bingham Mr. Bingham worked at Lawrence and Company, a cloth wholesaling company. He sold cashmere to Louis Borgenicht.
Kai Bird Kai Bird is the coauthor of American Prometheus, a biography of Robert Oppenheimer.
Patrick Blackett Patrick Blackett won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1948. He was also the college tutor of American theoretical physicist and director of the laboratory responsible for the design of the atomic bomb Robert Oppenheimer.
Mario Bliznak Mario Bliznak played junior hockey for the Vancouver Giants.
Erling Boe Erling Boe is an educational researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. He discovered the correlation between the number of demographic questions answered on the TIMSS exam and the students' math scores.
Louis Borgenicht Louis Borgenicht was a Polish immigrant. He started his own business selling children's aprons on the streets of New York City.
Regina Borgenicht Regina Borgenicht was the wife of Louis Borgenicht. A Hungarian immigrant, she sewed the aprons her husband sold on the streets of New York City.
Francesca Bray Francesca Bray is an anthropologist who has studied rice agriculture.
Dr. Malcolm Brenner Dr. Malcolm Brenner is a psychologist who works for the National Transportation Safety Board. He specializes in "black-box" investigations of crashed airliners.
Katie Brindle Katie Brindle is the pseudonym of a girl in Annette Lareau's study about practical intelligence. She is a white girl from a lower-class family.
John Bruhn John Bruhn is a sociologist who studied inhabitants of Roseto, Pennsylvania.
Bruno Bruno was a club owner in Hamburg, Germany. He recruited several bands from Liverpool, England, including the Beatles, to perform in bars around the city.
Warren Buffet Warren Buffet is an American businessman and philanthropist. Many people consider him the most successful investor of the 20th century.
George H.W. Bush George H.W. Bush is the 41st president of the United States. He served from 1989 to 1993.
Jeb Bush Jeb Bush is the former governor of Florida, the son of former President George H.W. Bush, and the brother of former President George W. Bush. He thinks his family's legacy makes it harder for him to succeed in business and politics.
Lincoln Caplan Lincoln Caplan is a legal historian who wrote Skadden: Power, Money, and the Rise of a Legal Empire, which is about the New York City law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Andrew Carnegie Andrew Carnegie was an American industrialist and philanthropist. He made his money in the steel industry.
Laureano Caviedes Laureano Caviedes was the captain of Columbian airliner Avianca Flight 052, which crashed in January of 1990.
Harry Caudill Harry Caudill was a Kentucky legislator, lawyer, professor, and author.
Mr. Chance Mr. Chance is the Chinese shopkeeper who loaned Daisy Nation money so her daughter Joyce (Malcolm Gladwell's mother) could go to college in England.
Noam Chomsky Noam Chomsky is an American theoretical linguist. He is known for his philosophies about the mind and language.
Bill Clinton Bill Clinton is the 42nd president of the United States. He served from 1993 to 2001.
Dov Cohen Dov Cohen is a psychologist at the University of Michigan. He conducted an experiment about the culture of honor.
Frank Corcoran Frank Corcoran is a teacher at KIPP Academy in the South Bronx.
Henry Cowell Henry Cowell was a janitor at Stanford University. Uneducated since the age of seven, Cowell was exceptionally smart and gifted at the piano. Lewis Terman heard him play the piano, gave him an intelligence test, and discovered he was a genius. This discovery prompted Terman's question for other "diamonds in the rough."
Paul Cravath Paul Cravath was one of the founders of the "gentlemanly" New York City law firm Cravath, Swaine, and Moore.
Kim Dae-jung Kim Dae-jung was the president of South Korea from 1998 to 2003.
Elizabeth Dhuey Elizabeth Dhuey is an economist who researched the correlation of one's birthday to their academic test scores.
Jean Dubuffet Jean Dubuffet was a French painter and sculptor.
Albert Einstein Albert Einstein was a German-American physicist. He developed the special and general theories of relativity.
Epstein Epstein was the man for whom Louis Borgenicht worked in Poland.
K. Anders Ericsson K. Anders Ericsson is a psychologist who studied the relationship between the number of hours a musician practices his or her instrument and the quality of his or her performance.
James G. Fair James G. Fair was a wealthy Irish-American who made his money by investing in a Nevada silver and gold mine. He served as a United States senator from 1881–87.
Louise Farkas Louise Farkas is a sociologist. As a graduate student, she studied Jewish immigrants who arrived in New York City at the turn of the 20th century.
Michael Feinberg Michael Feinberg is the cofounder of KIPP Academy.
Marshall Field Marshall Field was an American businessman known for his work in the retail industry.
Bobby Fischer Bobby Fischer was the youngest chess grandmaster in history.
Ute Fischer Ute Fischer is a linguist who has worked with airline captains and first officers.
Joe Flom Joe Flom was a prominent New York City attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. His parents were Jewish immigrants who worked in the garment industry.
Florence Florence is the pseudonym given to a British high school student who took a divergence intelligence test. Florence's IQ indicates he is a prodigy, but the divergence test shows he doesn't have much imagination.
Ann (Powell) Ford Ann (nee Powell) Ford is Malcolm Gladwell's great-grandmother. She came from an upwardly mobile black family.
Charles Ford Charles Ford is Malcolm Gladwell's great-grandfather. He was a produce wholesaler in Jamaica.
Carlos Ford Carlos Ford is Malcolm Gladwell's great-uncle. He owned a garment factory in Jamaica.
Henry Ford Henry Ford is Malcolm Gladwell's great-great-uncle. He owned property in Jamaica.
John Ford John Ford is Malcolm Gladwell's great-great-grandfather. He was born to William Ford and one of Ford's slaves.
Rufus Ford Rufus Ford is Malcolm Gladwell's great-uncle. He was a teacher.
William Ford William Ford is Malcolm Gladwell's great-great-great-grandfather. Hailing from Ireland, he bought a Jamaican coffee plantation in 1784.
Ted Friedman Ted Friedman was one of the top lawyers in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s.
Karen Fuson Karen Fuson is a psychologist at Northwestern University. She studies the differences between Asian and Western cultures.
Barry Garfinkel Barry Garfinkel is a prominent lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. His mother was a milliner.
Bill Gates Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft and one of the wealthiest men in the world.
George Gershwin George Gershwin was a popular American composer.
Graham Gladwell Graham Gladwell is Malcolm Gladwell's father. He is a mathematician.
Joyce Gladwell Joyce Gladwell (nee Nation) is Malcolm Gladwell's mother. She is a family therapist and author.
Kenneth Gold Kenneth Gold is a historian who has studied early educational reform.
Jay Gould Jay Gould was a wealthy American railroad executive and developer.
Hetty Green Hetty Green was an American financier and the wealthiest woman of her era.
David Greenberg David Greenberg is a former Delta Air Lines flight operator. He was hired by Korean Air to fix the communication problems between their flight staff.
Charles Haar Charles Haar was a classmate of Joe Flom at Harvard Law School.
Archdeacon Hay Archdeacon Hay was Donald Nation's best friend.
Don Hay Don Hay was the coach of the Vancouver Giants, a Canadian junior hockey team.
Darren Helm Darren Helm was a junior hockey player for the Medicine Hat Tigers.
George Harrison George Harrison was a British musician. He is best known as the lead guitarist of the Beatles.
Robert Helmreich Robert Helmreich is a psychologist who wrote about the 1990 crash of the Columbian airliner.
Carlos Slim Helú Carlos Slim Helú is a Mexican entrepreneur and one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and composer.
Bill Hewlett Bill Hewlett was the cofounder of Hewlett-Packard Company. He supplied a young Steve Jobs with computer parts and eventually gave him a summer job.
Geert Hofstede Geert Hofstede was a Dutch psychologist who analyzed cultural attitudes about authority.
Mrs. Howard Mrs. Howard is Wilse Howard's mother.
Samuel Howard Samuel Howard was the patriarch of the Howard family in Harlan, Kentucky. The Howards were at war with the Turners for generations.
Wilse Howard Wilse Howard is the son of Mrs. Howard. He shot and killed "Little George" Turner and tried to kill George Turner.
Wix Howard Wix Howard is the grandson of Samuel Howard. He shot and killed "Little Bob" Turner after a poker game.
Michael Howe Michael Howe is a psychologist who wrote a book called Genius Explained in which he argues Mozart was composing for 10 years before he wrote his first "masterpiece."
Liam Hudson Liam Hudson is a British psychologist who studies IQ.
Maurice Janklow Maurice Janklow, the father of Mort Janklow, was an unsuccessful New York City lawyer and business owner.
Mort Janklow Mort Janklow is the son of Maurice and Lillian (nee Levantin) Janklow. He is a lawyer and the owner of a prestigious literary agency.
Edward Jarvis Edward Jarvis was a 19th-century physician who believed too much education could cause insanity.
Steve Jobs Steve Jobs was the cofounder of Apple Computer, Inc.
Michael Jordan Michael Jordan is often considered to be the greatest American basketball player of all time.
Bill Joy Bill Joy is one of the founders of Sun Microsystems. Among other achievements, he helped write the code that allows computers to get onto the Internet.
William Joy William Joy is the father of Bill Joy.
George Katz George Katz is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which Gladwell calls "the finest [law firm] in the world." Katz's grandparents were Jewish immigrants, and his grandfather worked in the garment industry.
Vinod Khosla Vinod Khosla is one of the founders of Sun Microsystems.
Anselm Kiefer Anselm Kiefer is a German painter, sculptor, photographer, and installation artist. His work is often about German history and myths.
Mauricio Klotz Mauricio Klotz was the first officer of Columbian airliner Avianca Flight 052, which crashed in January of 1990.
Korean Air captain The Korean Air captain of Flight 801 crashed into a hill on the island of Guam on August 5, 1997. Nearly everyone onboard died.
Korean Air first officer The Korean Air first officer of Flight 801 was not comfortable with bluntly telling the flight's captain the plane was headed for trouble. The plane crashed.
Korean Air flight engineer The Korean Air flight engineer on Flight 801 was not comfortable with bluntly telling the flight's captain the plane was headed for trouble. The plane crashed.
Morris Kramer Morris Kramer worked with Joe Flom at New York City law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Jack Langan Jack Langan is Christopher Langan's abusive, alcoholic stepfather. He left the family after Chris, protecting his younger siblings, confronted Jack, physically knocking him out.
Jeff Langan Jeff Langan is Christopher Langan's brother.
Mark Langan Mark Langan is Christopher Langan's brother.
Annette Lareau Annette Lareau is a sociologist who studied the phenomenon of practical intelligence and where it comes from.
Richard Lempert Richard Lempert compared the success of African American and white law students at the University of Michigan.
Lillian Levantin Lillian Levantin is Maurice Janklow's wife and Mort Janklow's mother.
David Levin David Levin is the cofounder of KIPP Academy.
John Lennon John Lennon was a British musician. He is best known for his career as the coleader of the Beatles.
Daniel Levitin Daniel Levitin is a neurologist who wrote about the idea expertise in any given field is only possible after 10,000 hours of practice.
Martin Lipton Martin Lipton is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which Gladwell calls "the finest [law firm] in the world." His parents were Jewish immigrants, and his father managed a factory.
Richard Lynn Richard Lynn is a psychologist who proposed a radical evolutionary theory about why Asians are better at math than Westerners.
William M. Macmillan William M. Macmillan is a historian who taught at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. His concern about Jamaica's educational system led to British reform in the small island nation.
Horace Mann Horace Mann was an influential American educator. He believed "overworking" students would damage their health.
Harold McAllister Harold McAllister is the son of Ms. McAllister.
Ms. McAllister Ms. McAllister was the pseudonym of a low-income parent in Annette Lareau's study on practical intelligence.
Paul McCartney Paul McCartney is a British musician. He is best known for being the coleader of the Beatles.
John McEnroe John McEnroe is a professional American tennis player.
Scott McNealy Scott McNealy is one of the founders of Sun Microsystems.
Ashleigh Merritt Ashleigh Merritt is a psychologist who helped Robert Helmreich measure the power distance indexes of pilots around the world.
Robert Merton Robert Merton is a sociologist who coined the phrase "The Matthew Effect" to describe why people who are already successful are more likely to be given more opportunities for success.
J.P. Morgan J.P. Morgan was an American financier and industrial organizer. He worked in the railroad, steel, agriculture, and energy industries.
Errol Morris Errol Morris is a filmmaker who made a documentary about Christopher Langan.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a composer. Often called a child prodigy, psychologists and music critics argue Mozart wasn't particularly good at his craft until early adulthood, after about 10,000 hours of practice.
Mr. Mudge Mr. Mudge was one of the founding partners of Mudge Rose, the law firm that refused to hire Alexander Bickel because of his Jewish immigrant heritage.
Daisy Nation Daisy (nee Ford) Nation is Malcolm Gladwell's maternal grandmother. She is Jamaican.
Donald Nation Donald Nation is Malcolm Gladwell's maternal grandfather.
Faith Nation Faith Nation is Malcolm Gladwell's aunt and the twin sister of his mother, Joyce (nee Nation) Gladwell.
Richard Nisbett Richard Nisbett is a psychologist at the University of Michigan. He conducted an experiment about the culture of honor.
Richard Nixon Richard Nixon was the 37th president of the United States. He served from 1969 to 1974 before resigning from office prior to impeachment for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.
Philip Norman Philip Norman is the author of the Beatles's biography Shout!
Julius Oppenheimer Julius Oppenheimer is the father of Robert Oppenheimer.
Robert Oppenheimer (J.) Robert Oppenheimer was an American theoretical physicist. He led the Manhattan Project, which resulted in the creation of the atomic bomb.
Judith Orasanu Judith Orasanu is a linguist who has worked with airline captains and first officers.
Oliver H. Payne Oliver H. Payne was an American businessman and philanthropist. He made his money in the oil industry.
Bud Pembroke Bud Pembroke was one of the founders of Information Sciences Inc. He helped Bill Gates get a job programming for the Bonneville Power station.
Phibbah Phibbah was the favorite slave and romantic companion of Thomas Thistlewood.
Poole Poole is the pseudonym of a British high school student who took a divergence intelligence test.
George Pullman George Pullman was an American industrialist. He invented the Pullman sleeping car, which was a train car specifically for overnight travel.
Suren Ratwatte Suren Ratwatte is a Sri Lankan pilot who also studies how humans interact with complex machines, like nuclear power equipment and airplanes.
Diane Ravitch Diane Ravitch is a professor at New York University. She studies and writes about New York City's educational history.
Renee Renee is the pseudonym of a young woman who took part in Alan Schoenfeld's study about figuring out math problems.
Robert Rifkind Robert Rifkind is a partner at New York City law firm Cravath, Swaine, and Moore.
Graham Robb Graham Robb is a historian who studied peasant life in France.
John D. Rockefeller John D. Rockefeller was an American industrialist and philanthropist. He founded the Standard Oil Company.
Henry H. Rogers Henry H. Rogers was an American industrialist who worked in the oil, copper, gas, and railway industries.
Monique Rona Monique Rona was one of the cofounders of the Computer Center Corporation. Her son went to Lakeside with Bill Gates. She asked the Lakeside Computer Club to help test her company's software in exchange for free computing time.
Mr. Rose Mr. Rose was one of the founding partners of Mudge Rose, the law firm that refused to hire Alexander Bickel because of his Jewish immigrant heritage.
Leonard Rosen Leonard Rosen is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which Gladwell calls "the finest [law firm] in the world." Rosen's parents were Jewish immigrants, and his father worked in the garment industry.
Bertrand Russell Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher and logician. He coauthored Principia Mathematica with Alfred North Whitehead.
Bob Saget Bob Saget was the host of 1 vs. 100, the game show on which Christopher Langan appeared in 2008.
Jonas Salk Jonas Salk was an American doctor and medical researcher. He developed the polio vaccine.
Eric Schmidt Eric Schmidt is a Silicon Valley executive. He has worked at Sun Microsystems; Novell, Inc.; and Google.
Harold Schonberg Harold Schonberg is a music critic. He claims Mozart "developed late" despite popular lore the composer was immediately a musical genius.
Alan Schoenfeld Alan Schoenfeld is a professor at the University of California at Berkley. He performed a study in which people had to try to understand an impossible math problem.
Barry Schwartz Barry Schwartz is a psychologist who proposed "elite" college and universities forgo the admissions process in favor of a lottery system of admissions.
Martin Sherwin Martin Sherwin is the coauthor of American Prometheus, a biography of Robert Oppenheimer.
William Shockley William Shockley received a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956. Though he had been tested to be part of Lewis Terman's group of child geniuses, his IQ wasn't high enough to gain entry.
Tyson Sexsmith Tyson Sexsmith was the goalie for the Vancouver Giants, a junior hockey team.
Marshall Skadden Marshall Skadden was one of the founders of the New York City law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He hired Joe Flom out of law school.
John Slate John Slate was one of the founders of the New York City law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He hired Joe Flom out of law school.
Daniel Soyer Daniel Soyer is a historian quoted in Chapter 5. His area of expertise is the garment industry.
"Bad Tom" Smith "Bad Tom" Smith killed six people in the French–Eversole feud in Perry County, Kentucky.
Ringo Starr Ringo Starr (real name Richard Starkey) is a British musician. He is best known as the drummer of the Beatles.
Robert Sternberg Robert Sternberg is a psychologist who coined the phrase "practical intelligence" to describe the social skills someone uses to get what they desire.
Subject #18 Subject #18 is the pseudonym of a Russian tailor who immigrated to the United States in the early 20th century. He and his sons became prosperous men's suit manufacturers while his grandchildren became educated professionals.
Lewis Terman Lewis Terman was a professor of psychology at Stanford University who studied intelligence. He is best known for his development of intelligence testing and his decades-long study of child geniuses.
Thomas Thistlewood Thomas Thistlewood was a slave owner in Jamaica. He was cruel to all his slaves except Phibbah.
A.H. Thompson A.H. Thompson is a psychologist who, along with Roger Barnsley, studied the relationship between birth month and achievements in hockey.
"Devil Jim" Turner "Devil Jim" Turner is William Turner's grandson. He shot a cow that wandered onto his property.
George Turner George Turner was almost killed by Wilse Howard.
"Little Bob" Turner "Little Bob" Turner is William Turner's grandson. He was killed by Wix Howard after a dispute over a poker game.
"Little George" Turner "Little George" Turner was killed by Wilse Howard.
Mrs. Turner Mrs. Turner is the mother of Will Turner and "Little Bob" Turner. She declined the Howards' request for a truce after her sons were shot.
Will Turner Will Turner is the grandson of William Turner. He was killed in a gunfight with the Howard family.
William Turner William Turner was the patriarch of the Turner family in Harlan, Kentucky. The Turners were at war with the Howards for generations.
Herbert Wachtell Herbert Wachtell is the founder of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which Gladwell calls "the finest [law firm] in the world." Wachtell is the son of Jewish immigrants who worked in the garment industry.
Gord Wasden Gord Wasden is the father of Scott Wasden, one of the youth hockey players on the Medicine Hat Tigers. Gord says Scott was always big for his age. He was born on January 4.
Frederick Weyerhaeuser Frederick Weyerhaeuser was a wealthy German-American businessman. He made his money in the lumber industry.
Alfred North Whitehead Alfred North Whitehead was a British mathematician and philosopher. He coauthored Principia Mathematica with Bertrand Russell.
Peter Arrell Brown Widener Peter Arrell Brown Widener was an American businessman and philanthropist. He helped revolutionize American public transportation by modernizing street railways.
Alex Williams Alex Williams is the pseudonym of a nine-year-old boy in Annette Lareau's practical intelligence study. He is middle-class and black.
Christina Williams Christina Williams is the mother of Alex Williams.
Robert Winthrop Robert Winthrop was a United States Congress representative and senator in the mid-19th century. He served as the Speaker of the House from 1838–40.
Dr. Stewart Wolf Dr. Stewart Wolf is the physician who spearheaded the study of the inhabitants of Roseto, Pennsylvania.
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