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David and Goliath Essay Sample

David and Goliath Essay Sample

Seemingly, Malcolm Gladwell believes that working for a famous company or attending an elite college may terminate a person’s dreams. The famous author uses the analogy of a big fish in a small pond in his latest book, “David and Goliath,” to overturn conventional notions regarding who should be an underdog and what makes for a disadvantage. Certainly, Gladwell opposes anyone attending a giant university or college, merely for the name, or doing something out of an inner drive for prestige.

Accordingly, the popular author, outlines that choosing something elite translates to accept to be like a little fish living in a big pond. In this circumstance, Gladwell means that, the chances of failing in elite institutions are higher because of stiff competition and the subsequent deprivation of motivation. Noticing that in less famous organizations an individual faces little deprivation of motivation, the Gladwell advocates that a person will have better chances for excelling in the small organizations.

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Illustratively, the concept of relative deprivation forms the basis of Gladwell’s controversial argument. Originally, Samuel Stouffer, a sociologist, coined relative deprivation principle during the Second World War. The essence of this concept was to describe how people measure themselves against their colleagues or those in the immediate environment. Simply, relative deprivation means that people’s successes and failures are always comparable amongst themselves.

Obviously, relative deprivation is why Gladwell antagonizes the conventional belief that elite schools are automatic centers for excellence. Using one student under the Pseudonym,” Caroline sacks,” who had aspirations of venturing science through the giant Brown University, Gladwell makes his point (Malcolm 5). While in the university, Caroline Sacks earned poor grades, which made her feel stupid before her classmates with outright-A grades. Technically, as if not cognizant of other factors, Gladwell singles out relative deprivation as the cause of Caroline’s mediocre performance. Admittedly, to a considerable extent, the theory of relative deprivation proves valid, at least for this single factor-centered dimension.
Further, Gladwell explains that, in an elite learning institution, the worst STEM students can only be as smart as the top third when their performance is compared to a lower-ranked college (Malcolm 12). Because the non-performing students in an elite institution compare themselves with the top cream, it follows that they more often than not, feel stupid and unsuccessful. In the non-elite institution, the opposite is true- meaning that such students would excel because they will have to compare themselves with less performing classmates and gain motivation. Symbolically, Gladwell claims that those initially stupid students become a big fish in a little pond.

While Gladwell’s claims borders on higher education, the implications are obvious to career as well. If one is a programmer, for example, is it noble to take a chance with Google or on a small startup company? Should aspiring bankers start at a boutique municipal bond company or aim for Goldman Sachs?

Based on his controversial logic, Gladwell’s recommendation would definitely be to choose start small. “Rarely do we pause for a moment and consider,” does he write, “whether the most adorable institution is at all times in our best interest.” Particularly, in academia, he says, “The large pond admits bright students and demoralizes them.”
Gladwell’s claims are outstanding and, as he presents them, compelling. However, they radically oversimplify the whole issue as well. Focusing on the case of Caroline Sacks, for example, there is no testable approach to validate that she would still study science had she attended a non-elite university.

Alternatively, she might have compromised her future hopes on a subject she would not measure to, and graduated with no benefit of an Ivy League terms of career, is fear of being mediocre in giant company such as google enough reason to reject an offer from the established internet Giant? Alternatively, should get confused in the scramble at Goldman Sachs push somebody to a smaller firm? Agreeably, one might not excel at either, but at least after working for a giant, one can use the striking experience to get a prestigious job at a smaller company later on.

Gladwell makes a valid point, which he probably takes too far. Notably, he overlooks the fact that different individuals in the pond never react the same as Caroline did. In fact, it is interesting to note that some students would have opted to continue with science and graduate with a science degree from an Ivy League institution. That means the traits of a person matter a lot in determining what to achieve. Gladwell’s point is well understood: the odds are worse in the large bond.

What Gladwell ignores, however, is that, in particular areas of study, a pedigree including an elite institution is pertinent to crack into one’s field, or to gain admission to a prestigious graduate school. Of course, there are not many such institutions and career paths, but one cannot miss some. In those, graduates from the “next tier” schools do not possibly get the same chance to compete.

In the American river college, one can compare two academic options: business management and legal assisting. The college has 3190 enrolled students and a graduation rate of 64%. Moreover, it offers 91 majors. After completion of undergraduate studies, it would be pertinent to evaluate the two academic options in order to pursue one, which has higher chances for success. In some cases, it is likely that Gladwell’s deprivation theory might provide a good evaluation basis, at least to some extent. Besides the fact that the two courses are offered at the same institution, differences in performance of the various departments are common. That means; some departments are more elite than others within the same institution. For example, a college of business in the institution is famous compared to the college of law studies. However, if one decides to go to the college of laws studies in order to be a big fish in a small pond, chances of graduating with good grades are not automatic. Moreover, one may be among the third top positions but also might have learned less because of experiencing little or no competition. For my case, I would study a certificate in business management because I have a passion for becoming a business magnate.

Works Cited

American River College. “tuition, demographics, graduation rates, majors offered Google Search.” N.p., Web. 18 Oct. 2014.
Gladwell, Malcolm. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. N.p., 2013. Print.
Gladwell, M. “The tipping point: how little things can make a big difference.” (2000): Print.
Olson, James M, C P. Herman, and Mark P. Zanna. Relative Deprivation and Social Comparison. Hillsdale, N.J: L. Erlbaum Associates, 1986. Print.

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