I listened to this lecture 3 times. It is only a little over an hour. It is incoherent and unintelligible. I would recommend against a purchase.
The story on "Big Fish" tells about a women who went to a very competitive Ivy League school and found that she did not do well in science, thusly dropping out of science. Gladwell used this to lead into his central premise that doing well at a worse school was better than doing average or poorly at a better school. His example was the successful graduation of good physics majors at Hartwick College even though they were not as well prepared as the worse students at Ivy League schools (many of whom did not graduate in physics). Gladwell believes that the same physics education and materials occur at both schools!
Gladwell simply does not know what he is talking about. The educational materials used to teach physics at Hartwick and MIT (or Harvard) are far from equivalent. The books used at a weak college will be much easier (less advanced material, less difficult problems) and the professors' expectations of the students will be much lower.
I speak from experience as I was a physics undergraduate at SUNY Oneonta (entering after scoring in the 99th percentile on the Math SAT) and received all A's in every science and math class at Oneonta. When I took the Advanced Physics GRE for entry to graduate school, I scored in the 34th percentile because I had never been exposed to much of the material that was the topic of the questions! After a year of graduate school at the one university that did not ask for GRE, I scored in the 98th percentile!
Later, I became a very successful professor of physical chemistry at one of the top 20 universities in the USA (mentoring a number of students to the Phd, receiving many research grants, publishing 100's of papers, giving talks all over the world, etc). I ran in the top circles with all the other professors, most of whom were Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, etc graduates, and I learned that their undergraduate education covered more topics, had more advanced material, and required deeper understanding to do the problems. As just one example, the books that they used for senior level quantum mechanics were considered too hard for masters level physics at Oneonta.
My advice is to attend the best school that you can get into and work as hard as possible to overcome the competition. The top schools will provide the best competition. This is no different than athletics.
This is a very interesting book for the first 2/3. It becomes redundant for the last 1/3. And, it becomes predictable and tedious with its calls for government social programs to aid the people living alone. Ignoring that, the book details the new social phenomena of living alone, both its good and bad points.
The descriptions of how the various countries around the world use government to both promote and control business is thorough.
I wished that Bill Clinton was President instead of the well-meaning but incompetent Obama.
His wonderful voice.
Report Inappropriate Content