Malcolm Gladwell: ‘The job of developing talent is really hard’

“It’s lazy,” Gladwell said. “We’re arbitrarily and systemically disadvantaging people for no other reason than they happen to be born in the wrong time of the year. Coaches may be confusing talent with maturity, but talent doesn’t always rise to the top. People don’t perform up to their abilities in a vacuum – they respond to cues from a system, organization, coaches, etc. Encouragement plays a pivotal role: there’s value in supporting young people in their chosen vocation.”

The host of the Revisionist History podcast and co-founder of the podcast company Pushkin Industries mentioned several topics he’s brought up on his series, including how the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) rewards speed over precision. The LSAT rewards quick thinkers and penalizes those who take their time with the test. Which, when you think about it, as Gladwell certainly has, those who are deliberate, careful and invest time in their case tend to make the best lawyers.

Furthermore, as Gladwell added, the profession places a great value on time – lawyers charge by the hour!

“Why we’ve had such trouble with the relative age effect is because the adjustment requires people who control these organizations to rethink, change their ways and come up with better systems to evaluate kids,” Gladwell said.

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