“Outliers” (argument Essay)

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In the book Outliers, written by Malcolm Gladwell, he defines an outlier as someone who does something out of the ordinary or differently. Gladwell stands on the point that people don't rise from nothing. Gladwell also states that it makes a difference where and when we grew up. Gladwell is a very knowledgeable person and gives valuable information that people could use in their daily life. Everyone who reads this book will gain some valuable knowledge. This book is intended for pretty much everyone, Gladwell made sure to gives lots of good examples but he also gives a variety of examples to suits everyone's likes so this book can intrigue as many people as possible. Throughout the book, Gladwell uses logos and pathos to engage and pursue the reader, in many different ways.

Immediately the reader gets interested when Gladwell talks about the Memorial Cup Hockey game in Vancouver British Columbia. People don't know what obstacles people had to go through to become successful but what people do know is that people who have birthdays at the beginning of the year have a leg up on people who have a birthday at the end of the year. This person named Barnsley attended a Lethbridge Broncos hockey game in southern Alberta. As Barnsley was reading the player roster, he noticed that the majority of the players birthdays fell in the first few months of the year. He, later on, went online and researched famous hockey players birthdays and yet again their birthdays fell at the beginning of the year. “The explanation for this is quite simple... Canada’s cut-off date is January 1st. A boy who turns ten on January 2, then, could be playing alongside someone who doesn't turn ten until the end of the year—and at that age, in preadolescence, a twelve month gap in age represents an enormous difference in physical maturity. “(Gladwell 24). Gladwell whips out logos here because yes logically this all makes sense of why more hockey players have birthdays January-March. Gladwell didn't stop here he also looked at the player roster for European soccer and noticed the same exact results (27). 14 out of the 21 players on the team are born between the month of January-March. This isn't fair necessarily because what if someone was born in September but undoubtedly good at hockey they wouldn't get a fair chance just knowing they have a September birthday, instead of a January or March birthday.

The next use of logos is the “10,000 hour rule”. The rule states that extraordinary achievements require 10,000 hours of practice. Gladwell gives the example of “The Beatles” and “Mozart”, he also states that people that put in 10,000 hours have to have some kind of extraordinary opportunity that gives them a chance to put in those hours. Gladwell also talks about this person named Bill Joy. Joy came to the University of Michigan the year the computer center opened. Joy was super smart and voted most Studious Student . Joy was super shy but had a brain like no other. He also grew up with not a lot of money. “Add in the summers, then the days and nights in his first year at Berkeley. 'So, so maybe... ten thousand hours?' he said, finally. 'That's about right” (Gladwell 47). Joy didn't take long to reach his 10,000 hours mainly because he had the drive to work on computer programming and he was super smart and liked working with computers. “If we put the stories of hockey players and the Beatles and Bill Joy and Bill Gates together, I think we get a more complete picture of the path to success” (Gladwell 55). Gladwell wants us to trust him with what he's saying, he uses logos to convince us of what he's saying is credible. On many occasions, Gladwell refers to different sociologist, psychologists, and economist. Another example Gladwell gives is “To build a better world we need to replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success—the fortunate birth dates and the happy accidents of history—with a society that provides opportunities for all” (Gladwell 268). Gladwell uses logos to persuade the readers to believe him of what's he saying. Everyone wants to know that what someone is saying is legit and showing that someone with a high profession said something will instantly make readers think what Gladewell is saying is true.

Pathos, a quality that evokes emotion. Emotions don't always have to be a sad thing, in fact, it could be something to be excited about. “The air was filled with cigar smoke and the smell of champagne and sweat-soaked hockey gear.” (Gladwell 16). As the reader seeing the word champagne makes people feel excited and happy like they are celebrating the hockey winnings. Pathos can also be sad, another example that Gladwell uses was when he was talking about Chris Langan. Chris Langan was the oldest. His father disappeared before Chris was born. His second stepdad was murdered. His next step dad committed suicide. Chris was also poor. They didn't have matching socks. Their shoes had holes in them. They only had one set of clothes. This book is about success, how could some want to be successful after such a sad start to life? Gladwell said, “People don't rise from nothing.”(19). Gladwell uses this statement throughout the whole book, and he's right you can’t rise from nothing you have to have some money, status, drive to become successful. You can't just lay on the couch and wish for success you have to do something about it to become successful. Then how did Chris Langan become so successful with being poor and having nothing. Well Chris Langan's IQ score was 195 that thirty percent higher than Albert Einstein’s. Chris is considered a celebrity outlier. He was invited onto games shows, interviews for magazines, and even been the subject of a documentary. This is an amazing story of someone who grew up poor and became super successful just by being smart. All of these flaws in his life worked up to something very good and successful for Chris who has been through so much in his life. Another pathos example that Gladwell uses is “A year after MacMillan published his book, a wave of riots and unrest swept the Caribbean. Fourteen people were killed and fifty-nine injured in Trinidad. Fourteen were killed and forty-seven injured in Barbados”( Gladwell 273). Gladwell uses pathos by referring to the riots, when innocent people die in either a book or movie people get more intrigued on what's going on just because as humans we have that emotional side.

One part in this book that really grabbed me was when Gladwell said this “We all know that successful people come from hardy seeds. But do we know enough about the sunlight that warmed them, the soil in which they put down the roots, and the rabbits and lumberjacks they were lucky enough to avoid?” (20). Joy and Chris are perfect examples of this quote. We don't always know what obstacles people go through to be successful, we don't know if they've had four different step dads because all the rest of them died in harsh ways. We don't know if they only had one outfit to wear or if they were poor. Unless someone tell use their story of becoming successful all we know is that they are successful.

Outliers are the most talented, famous, smartest, and best people. Throughout the book Gladwell gave us evidence to persuade us that he is right when it comes to what makes someone success. If people understand rhetoric they will get how the author is using logos to persuade the reader to think that they are right, or how to use ethos to make the reader feel emotional.  

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"Outliers" (argument Essay). (2021, Jun 30). Retrieved March 5, 2024 , from

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