November 9, 2007

Hype ahoy! Malcolm Gladwell has a new book coming

Jason Kottke reports that Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink, has finished his new book: "I've learned that the subject of this book is the future of the workplace with subtopics of education and genius."

Hopefully, Malcolm's views on the future of the workplace will just cause businesses to waste money on Gladwell-promoted fads that they would have wasted on something else stupid anyway. (And I presume that the living people that Malcolm uses to illustrate his theories about geniuses won't, actually, be geniuses, but that's trivial, too.)

On the other hand, the thought of Malcolm and the Educartel teaming up enthusiastically to subject America's children to whatever brainstorm Malcolm will credulously endorse is alarming indeed.

A recent interview with Malcolm in the Toronto Globe and Mail is not reassuring:
When you say that the cognitive demands of the workplace will be growing, what do you mean?

We will require, from a larger and larger percentage of our work force, the ability to engage in relatively complicated analytical and cognitive tasks. So it's not that we're going to need more geniuses, but the 50th percentile is going to have to be better educated than they are now. We're going to have to graduate more people from high school who've done advanced math, is a very simple way of putting it.

Unfortunately, it seems like we're heading in the opposite direction in terms of test scores and math literacy. How do we turn that around?

There's a cheap solution, which Canada has actually excelled at, which is simply to import your brains. As the son of an Englishman who came to Canada to teach math, the Gladwells [and myself] are part of that earlier cheap solution. So that's one route, and we can continue to do that, there's nothing stopping us. And Canada will not become less desirable over time; I suspect that 10 years from now, Canada will be an even more desirable location for lots of people from less-developed countries.

The logical corollary of this is to not do what America is doing and allow in lots and lots of people whose children drag down the 50th percentile. For example, California, the state where, by far, immigrants make up the highest percentage of the population, famously imports lots of foreign math nerds to work in Silicon Valley. Yet the new 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress results show that California public school students as a whole are way down near the bottom of the 50 states in math skills among 4th graders (fourth from the bottom) and 8th graders (fifth from the worst).

How much do you want to bet, though, that Malcolm won't get around to mentioning that? And risk getting Watsoned and losing all those $50k corporate speaking gigs?

But you can't keep doing that forever. At a certain point you have to address what's going on with the people who are already here. ... We have to look at models of other countries that have successfully taught those kinds of skills to a broader percentage of the population, like Korea and Japan. If you look at their education systems, they have shown it is perfectly possible to create a much more mathematically literate work force.

So that's why Japanese and Koreans at home do so much better at learning math than they do in America! Oh, wait ... they don't. They do good both here and there.

How about just looking at the educational system in North Dakota (2nd in 8th grade math scores behind Massachusetts) versus the educational system in Washington D.C. (far below any of the 50 states in test scores)? There must be some amazing discovery we could make about the differences in their educational systems that produce such vastly different outcomes. (It might have something to do with empowerment, or maybe self-esteem.)

Off the top of my head, I couldn't imagine what the difference between North Dakota and the District of Columbia would be, but if some foundation would put me up for a week in the Hay-Adams Hotel, I could study the D.C. educational system in depth. And, while I wouldn't actually go to North Dakota (it is November), I would make some phone calls.

I couldn't begin to guess what difference I would find, but somebody has to do this. Think of the children. I believe the children are our future.

(By the way, Malcolm, that master of good judgment, having apparently forgotten his many humiliations of the past, is back to blogging.)

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I knew a sequel was coming. Here were some ideas for a sequel I once had:

Wink: The Power of a Restful Night's Sleep
Bling: The Power of Writing without Thinking
Sync: The Power of Group Blinking
No Time to Blink: The Power of Not Even Thinking
Pink: The Power of Feminine Intuition
Brink: When Little Thought Makes Little Difference
Don't You Even Blink About It: The Power of Political Correctness

Anonymous said...

And a few more I thought of last December:

It might be a little harsh, but with those high-paid speaking gigs in mind:

Fink: The Power of Profiting from an Unthinking Public

You could go after his hair:

Kink: The Power of Thinking Under a Really Big Afro

If Gladwell will ever concede he lost the debate, his next intellectually brown-nosing book might be titled:

Gink: The Power of Thinking Like Steve Sailer

With a book titled Zinc Gladwell could descend into the abyss of multivitamin hucksters.

Anonymous said...

Malcolm isn't bright enough to blog before vocal discriminating critics. In addition, no one can defend the stupidity that arises from the fundamentally illogical PC-views he takes on hot topics cribbed from biased academic research (e.g. car salesmen uniformly throwing away money so they can maintain their "secret" racism against blacks).

My guess is Gladwell's blog will be moderated (e.g. heavily censored) this time around and certain vocal critics making too much sense banned.

m said...

Stay on this guy's ass Sailer.

Anonymous said...

The Canadian immigration system does nothing to help the economy. It's only virtue is that it's not as bad as the U.S. or Europe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_impact_of_immigration_to_Canada

It works so well that some blacks and educrats in Toronto want to bring in a segregated school system. I guess after this fails they will start busing in white kids to Jane and Finch.
http://www.thestar.com/article/274299

A recent study of second generation Canadians and income found that males made 38% less than males with Canadian born parents and females made 15% more (this was eliminated when location and childbeirng were accounted for)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071030.wlstatscan30/BNStory/Entertainment/

One would think these "imported brains" would be starting to form their own overclass by now istead of falling behind (males) and braking even (females).

Anyone have a theory to explain the second generation gender income gap?

Anonymous said...

His FBI profile article is ludicrous. Did you know that some pit bulls are not deadly? Chew on that the next time a pit bull bites the face of your little kid.

Anonymous said...

I am Lugash.
===========================================
We will require, from a larger and larger percentage of our work force, the ability to engage in relatively complicated analytical and cognitive tasks. So it's not that we're going to need more geniuses, but the 50th percentile is going to have to be better educated than they are now. We're going to have to graduate more people from high school who've done advanced math, is a very simple way of putting it.
========================================

It's going to take a while for the educational system to produce scads of 800 SAT math wizards. While we're waiting let's see if we can discover some underutilized mental capital that already exists in the workplace. Maybe we should have companies test employees for their cognitive abilities rather than relying on just a college degree.

Oh, wait...

I am Lugash.

Svigor said...

Yowtch. I mean I like it, but then I'm a lot meaner than you Steve; Gladwell must really piss you off.

Anonymous said...

It would have been nice if the reporter then asked Malcolm,

"So what happens to the poor, undeveloped country when all its smart people move to Canada?"

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve, how about Massachusetts? Liberal as hell but they're on top. Why's that? They don't even have that many Jews.

Anonymous said...

"There's a cheap solution, which Canada has actually excelled at, which is simply to import your brains. As the son of an Englishman who came to Canada to teach math, the Gladwells [and myself] are part of that earlier cheap solution. So that's one route, and we can continue to do that, there's nothing stopping us"

This is an original idea? I thought the US was already importing its brains, its brawn, its cars, its furniture, its food...

"Sync: The Power of Group Blinking"

I'm still chuckling, tommy.

Anonymous said...

You guys crack yourselves up, huh? A bunch of unsuccessful white guys laughing at minorities' problems. Why don't you volunteer to tutor a child who needs it. Do something constructive for your fellow man. You're Christians, right? WWJD?

Has hate and meanness ever advanced your life in any positive way? Then why keep doing it? You've got the high IQs, right? Use them.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer: Ever the Salieri to Gladwell's Mozart.

The bitterness in your posts regarding Gladwell is embarrassing, Steve. So what if the guy earns more money than you. Clearly he's a more capable writer than you are--have you compared your prose to his? Wink wink, he probably has a higher IQ than you, thus why he has more money.

Anonymous said...

Has hate and meanness ever advanced your life in any positive way? Then why keep doing it? You've got the high IQs, right? Use them.

Ah! Randall's message hath brought meaning to my life! No longer shall I go about posting swastikas to my lynching blog while wearing my Klan hood. Nay, I will travel to my nearest ghetto and tutor a child who needs it. I will search for an illegal alien teenage girl, hopefully one who is queer or questioning, to maximize the value of my penance and purge my original sin.

Perhaps I will be shot or mugged while I am there! But of course it would be hate and meanness to report such an event, and would not advance my life in any positive way.

Gladwell's Mozart

Of course. Malcolm Gladwell is Mozart! While Sailer hauls in the cash by advancing self-contradictory inanities, Gladwell courageously breaks story after story after prescient story whilst enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous criticism.

Oh wait. That's the other way around, isn't it?

HTH FOAD

--planetary watson

Anonymous said...

You guys crack yourselves up, huh?...Why don't you volunteer to tutor a child who needs it. Do something constructive for your fellow man.

I hate to rain on your parade, but posting to isteve.blogspot.com is not mutually exclusive with tutoring children, etc.

Anonymous said...

No, randall, I am not a "Christian" and I could care less what "Jesus" would do. I don't want to do something constructive for my "fellow man", but for members of my own people. If a white child needs tutoring, I will consider.

The reason why Malcolm outstrips Steve in $$ is due to the fact that Malcolm's a mulatto who preaches the establishment's PC mantra. Based on his "work", he's an idiot, and not more intelligent than Sailer.

Svigor said...

You guys crack yourselves up, huh? A bunch of unsuccessful white guys laughing at minorities' problems.

You puff yourself up, eh? A moralistic white guy who has now proved his moral superiority at the expense of his fellow kulaks.

*Chuckle*

Why don't you volunteer to tutor a child who needs it. Do something constructive for your fellow man.

Sounds like you're assuming we don't. Any basis in fact for that assumption? Or, are you just moralizing again?

You're Christians, right? WWJD?

Respectively: no, and who gives a damn?

Has hate and meanness ever advanced your life in any positive way?

Dunno, I'm not big on either so I don't have much experience with them.

Does moralizing to get a social leg up on your fellow whites work well for you?

Anonymous said...

Steve,
I hate to admit it but your detractors do raise an interesting point. Have you ever considered writing a book? If not, why not?

Anonymous said...

Did you know that some pit bulls are not deadly? Chew on that the next time a pit bull bites the face of your little kid.


Ever seen any Little Rascals movies from the 1930's?

The Rascals' loveable pooch is a Pit Bull. That circle around his eye was drawn on. ... Maybe the dog had his own makeup person.

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer: Ever the Salieri to Gladwell's Mozart."

More like a Chopin to Gladwell's Liszt. Liszt was a showy hack, and was probably more successful than was Chopin. Yet, today, nobody listens to Liszt unless somehow compelled to.

Anonymous said...

Where are all these cognitively challenging jobs? These jobs that require such impressive mathematical skills? Requirements for mathematical knowledge are probably exponential (and no greater now than they were 30 years ago) - most people have no need for anything more than the four basic mathematical functions. Few are those who need trigonometry. Fewer still those who need calculus or differential equations. And no one who is not a mathematician or the most abstract kind of theoretical physicist needs modern algebra.

DissidentMan said...

You're Christians, right?

I'm not. Off hand I think it likely that less than half of the commenters here are Christian and those that are are probably more cultural CHristians than true believers, but that's just a guess.

WWJD?

I don't know what he would have actually done but the following is what Jesus said was ideal behaviour:

But I say to you, That you resist not evil: whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two. Give to him that asks thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”

I have trouble believing that this kind of behaviour is really constructive. I think that PC got some of its early traction by pointing out the failure or unwillingness of Christians to embody ideal Christian behaviour. As Neil Young put it:

Southern man
better keep your head
Don't forget
what your good book said
,

which is an example of PC non-Christian endorsing WWJD idealised Christian behaviour (and excoriating Christians for failing to embody in it). It strikes me as manipulative.

The main reason why I view idealised Christian behaviour as questionnable is because I don't think it's self-sustainable, especially in a situation where there is little degree of kinship between the ideal Christian and those he is interacting with, since from a genetic POV altruism only makes sense when it will helps to perpetuate genes similar to ones own. Out-group altruism runs the risk of simply being a genetic and memetic own goal. Those who practice extreme out-group altruism will necessarily be supplanted by those who don't, and their out-group altruism will itself go extinct when they do. The memes will die with the genes.

This isn't to say that there is no spiritual dimension to things and that out-group altrusim is always bad. But supposing there is a spiritual dimension then I would not expect that there would be an extreme clash between spiritual laws the physical laws of this universe.

Anonymous said...

Oh randall - You are my hero. So holy and altruistic. I'd bet you give all your disposible income to charity and all your free time to worthy causes. Please don't forget us little, oh yeah and hateful, people when you make your ascension to that great big throne in the sky. I know I am not worthy but would you please pray for me?

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong in principle with importing brains, but, well, if you set out to import a consignment of diamonds and instead you get inundated with shipments of gravel, you'd say somebody screwed up. But when the equivalent happens with immigration, it's considered to be nobody's fault.

Anonymous said...

Hey Randall? I've tutored "minorities -" (this was in a majority non-white area, hence the scare quotes) - and it was pretty much a useless exercise, except for the poor Chinese kids in the free SAT prep class I taught - the one that black seniors with athletic scholarships couldn't bother showing up for regularly. I don't even blame them. There was no way I could make up for 12 years of educational neglect on the part of the schools and their families. That's the critical piece - Asians succeed in the same schools where blacks and Latinos fail, with no special treatment, no special attention given to Asian history or Asian role models, because their families make them study. Everyone who has actually tutored "minorities" knows this.

togo said...

You guys crack yourselves up, huh? A bunch of unsuccessful white guys laughing at minorities' problems.

Make some attempt to avoid ad hominem arguments; you're just making yourself appear to be a dimwit. Not that you are, but you create that impression.

Anonymous said...

quote: "The reason why Malcolm outstrips Steve in $$ is due to the fact that Malcolm's a mulatto who preaches the establishment's PC mantra. Based on his "work", he's an idiot, and not more intelligent than Sailer."

In all fairness, Malcolm is clearly and undoubtedly the more capable writer of the two. I say again: Compare the quality of their prose. Steve almost always comes off as nasty and kinda trashy where Gladwell's style is more educated and elegant. Steve is jealous, because he knows he cannot write as well as Gladwell and observing the man's success pains him to no end. And more evidence of Sailer's nastiness: What other blogger out there would perpetuate a feud that (seemingly) only stems from their own insecurity? Gladwell makes cash, whaaa...Gladwell gets paid a lot for speeches...whaaa. Yikes!

quote: "Steve,
I hate to admit it but your detractors do raise an interesting point. Have you ever considered writing a book? If not, why not?"

He might have realized that his readers can be subjected to his writing style only via short pieces. Plus Steve must know that his Big Idea (IQ, Race) has been touched on with more skill and talent than he himself is capable of. In short, he's only a populizer of other people's ideas rather than an original in his own right.

All of this makes his obsession with Gladwell all the more pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Steve almost always comes off as nasty and kinda trashy where Gladwell's style is more educated and elegant. Steve is jealous, because he knows he cannot write as well as Gladwell and observing the man's success pains him to no end. And more evidence of Sailer's nastiness: What other blogger out there would perpetuate a feud that (seemingly) only stems from their [sic] own insecurity?

dude, why dont u check out yr own motives? does sailer profess to be a masterful prose stylist? he's attacking gladwell's fatuity, and you're defending gladwell ... how, exactly? let me get this straight, you're saying that steve resents gladwell's success not because gladwell is a glib and slick exploiter of politically correct piousness, but because he's jealous of gladwell's writing skills? do u really think that? that if gladwell made as much money writing poorly, steve would leave him alone? or if gladwell possessed something more than a pedestrian intellect, and wrote essays that rivalled montaigne's, steve would still find a way to mock him, because he just couldnt handle the envy provoked by the quality of his prose? u really think that? or has steve just struck a nerve with you, and you're lashing out like a little girl?

Anonymous said...

"And more evidence of Sailer's nastiness: What other blogger out there would perpetuate a feud that (seemingly) only stems from their own insecurity? Gladwell makes cash, whaaa...Gladwell gets paid a lot for speeches...whaaa. Yikes!"

A true genius knows that any idea that appeals to the populace has necessarily been corrupted. This is true across the board. Wine coolers are more palatable to the unrefined than an expensive merlot. Popular performers like Madonna are often inferior talents while only the discerning few will be avid fans of opera. Sailer must be beaming with the disdain heaped on him by inferior minds. Were you to approve, he'd know he'd descended to the depths of mediocrity.

You might say Sailer is an acquired taste. And who's to say he hasn't written scads of books under another nom de plume.

Steve Sailer said...

Mozart? Salieri? Chopin? Liszt?

I think, when placed properly on the historical spectrum, it's more like Twisted Sister vs. Motley Crue.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, Malcolm is clearly and undoubtedly the more capable writer of the two. I say again: Compare the quality of their prose. Steve almost always comes off as nasty and kinda trashy where Gladwell's style is more educated and elegant.

Sailer is an excellent writer and Gladwell can certainly come off as, well, we all remember this snit fit:

"All of this information is quite readily available in the "Celtic Tiger" paper, which is in turn quite readily available on a marvelous invention called the world wide web. The paper itself is just under twenty pages long. It can be read in under half an hour. It's not that hard. Trust Gladwell on this one."

Anonymous said...

What other blogger out there would perpetuate a feud that (seemingly) only stems from their own insecurity? Gladwell makes cash, whaaa...Gladwell gets paid a lot for speeches...whaaa.

No. The point of Sailer's criticisms is that Gladwell, Levitt etc. are spraying hyper-destructive politically correct bullsh*t across the culture at the expense of truth. The $$$ is just annoying insult to injury.

Connect the dots. We are in a World Police Action in Iraq as a direct result of our president and his inner circle being under the influence of bogus PC intellectuals such as Bernard Lewis, supposed expert on Islam.

And that example is just one of a million where PC ideology is destroying our government's ability to function productively.

Anonymous said...

quote: "dude, why dont u check out yr own motives? does sailer profess to be a masterful prose stylist? he's attacking gladwell's fatuity, and you're defending gladwell ... how, exactly? let me get this straight, you're saying that steve resents gladwell's success not because gladwell is a glib and slick exploiter of politically correct piousness, but because he's jealous of gladwell's writing skills? do u really think that? that if gladwell made as much money writing poorly, steve would leave him alone? or if gladwell possessed something more than a pedestrian intellect, and wrote essays that rivalled montaigne's, steve would still find a way to mock him, because he just couldnt handle the envy provoked by the quality of his prose? u really think that? or has steve just struck a nerve with you, and you're lashing out like a little girl?"

Why are you quick to doubt my motives and not Sailer's blatant nastiness and jealousy of other people's monetary success? I bring up their writing because Malcolm is pretty good at what he does, and Sailer should not be angry at him for it. Even if all Sailer is concerned about is fatuousness on Gladwell's part, why must he personlize it? Why the particular anger and venom towards Malcolm? Why not just quitely debunk the man's output? In short, why don't you notice that it is Sailer himself who's acting like the little girl?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Gladwell's a great writer despite his inability to apprehend English grammar:

As the son of an Englishman who came to Canada to teach math, the Gladwells [and myself] are part of that earlier cheap solution.

The Gladwells are the son of an Englishman? Very "educated" indeed.

Ponnarasi Kothandaraman said...

Hello,
Nice page..Dropped in from Malcolm Gladwell's space. You have a great archive. :)

Anonymous said...

Galileo was pretty sarcastic in his "Discourse on the Comets." He must have been a mean, nasty, trashy person who was wrong - and envious of the wonderful Jesuits who were right.

Yeah, Galileo was a s***, James Wilson is a senile s***, Steve is an inelegant s***. Why don't they all shut up and stop annoying us beautiful people who are clearly their superiors and the masters of the earth?

Anonymous said...

Why not just quitely debunk [Malcolm's] output?

But Steve HAS quite debunked it, you genius of a writer, you.

Anonymous said...

Steve is Mozart who escaped poisoning by Salieri and is as mad as hell.