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tv   Malcolm Gladwell Outliers  CSPAN  July 18, 2020 10:33pm-11:42pm EDT

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>> every saturday evening we take the opportunity to open the archives with one well-known author and tonight we are featuring best-selling author malcolm gladwell he's appeared on the tv and coming up is his book outliers looking at why certain people succeed. 2008. [applause] >> if my mother knew i was standing in front of a church with her to the people she would have a heart attack. very happy to be here my editor is here who is primarily responsible for the success of my first two books. [applause]
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if you write a book about the collectivity of achievements i would give you a choice. i could do a short synopsis of my book or i can tell you a story. so a lot of the book is about culture and how that matters and by that i mean where we are from and ancestors make a difference of how we do our job and how good we are what we choose to do for a living as a whole second half of the
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book and sometimes a difficult thing to wrestle with. one of the examples i use in the book illustrates the point of how much culture matters. there is a whole chapter on plane crashes. but now i will warn you i will tell the whole chapter. and it's also a good deal scarier. and then he will be flying in a plane in the next month? i'm sorry to hear that. [laughter] so with this plane crash isn't
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scary because it's unusual but scary because it is typical. so the plane it takes off from columbia january 25, 1990 bound for jfk airport in new york. columbia is not that far from the united states. just on the other side of the caribbean sea. and then you go up the east coast of the united states that this is january and there was a nor'easter on the east coast. all kinds of planes were delayed that night. so here they were on a relatively routine flight and the copilot then they start to
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get held up by air traffic control. and they are held up because of high wind and then with atlantic city for 30 minutes and then 40 miles an additional 30 minutes. after one hour and quarter of delays they are cleared for landing and they come down to the runway at jfk and then have a severe windshear 500 feet above the ground. that is where the wind blows very heavily in the face of the aircraft to add power to maintain speed and then the wind just drops now you're going too fast. so normally in that situation the autopilot will adjust.
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but as it happens for reasons we don't understand it was turned off possibly because it wasn't functioning. so then you pull up and circle around and then we approach for a second landing and as a fly towards jfk the flight engineer cries out flame out on engine number four. one by one the engines are flowing the captain says show me the runway because if we are close enough to jfk and it won't matter we are losing all of our engines but they can't see the runway they are nowhere near jfk there still 14 miles away from the airport.
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and so they crash they actually crash in the backyard of john mcenroe's father's estate on oyster bay long island. seventy-two people die by investigators time go to the records what is the wreckage and retrieve the black box typically these can take weeks but in this case it doesn't take weeks they know but the next morning what caused the crash. has nothing to do with the plane they weren't with the weather nothing to do with air traffic control it was simple. it in the aviation world it was feel the exhaustion.
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so this was a not a typical crash like they ran out of fuel what i meant was it took the form it was a catastrophic. and in the sense to be flown back and that is a mental image of what a plane crashes. plane crashes really take that form at all but they tend to be far more often is a subtle process and then to gradually over takes the pilot until the plane is in the irredeemable crisis.
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but just that the weather is bad enough. if it is under some degree of stress. is not enough behind schedule to cause them to hurry. then we know you start to make mistakes when you hurry. and then the two pilots have never flown together before. they don't know each other well so they are not comfortable especially when things get difficult they're not good at working together yet. so they are associated and then with seven consecutive errors. and that is enough to bring
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down the plane. and that the pilot turned left and then should have turned right pull left or down but overwhelmingly communication. or he tells them something in a form that allows them to understand so if you look closely they are not technological phenomenon they are social phenomenon. and why that so typical it is a social accident. one of the things they did trying to understand this plane crashes i out with this
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marvelous pilot and an expert with the technology and humans which is what the plane crashes are and then to walk me to the accident and then to describe before the bad weather and then has the plane behind schedule as they almost always have. and then you have the minor malfunction of the autopilot that something that adds to the stress of the pilot. and then to make the point that is very clear with that plane crash to fly a boeing
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seven oh seven that is the previous workhorse of the aviation world. but for those all generations they are actually connected with pulleys to the sheet metal flying seven oh seven is like rowing a boat now you just have a joystick. and then to circle around the east coast and it's hard work. and like the size of copy cups. but in his case and with those various controls.
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and then he starts to ask for things to look at the flight transcript. and you can't process things as easily and as quickly. and then to be translated into spanish form even of is a fluent english speaker. and then to start to shut down. and then we have to make mistakes on the first landing called the ground proximity warning system if you're coming into low. but it goes off 15 times. and a good hour before and can
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see the plan so that's the one thing that goes on. but the other thing is what strange that is going on is like how quiet it is. and the pilot who was responsible for all the communication he is supposed to be coordinating to bring this plane into landing. in the way that seems very peculiar so he doesn't tell air traffic control they are running out of fuel is unusual and then to say for what we thought they were saying
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allowing to go to the front of the line of all the planes that were circling around jfk and that would prove fatal for that particular plane and never went stops and say every talking about the front or the back of the line? it doesn't bring up the subject of fuel again for another 30 minutes. so i kept coming back so trying to understand what went wrong that night, he tells me a fascinating story about what happened to him that day.
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he had just wanted to jfk that morning or that afternoon. he finds that the huge airbus but then you go north if you go to dubai you go up over moscow and then you come down. when they were over moscow a woman in the back, an indian woman traveling with her husband had a stroke and she started to vomit have seizures. the doctor don back and said she only has an hour to live we have to get her medical attention. at that point he was over moscow and had to make a series of decisions about what to do to save this woman's life. i can't land in moscow here is
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an elderly couple no money don't speak english permit tiny village and if i plopped down in moscow they will be eaten alive will never see them again. we have to find a first world country. so he thinks helsinki. the next problem is he is 60 turns overweight he just took off from dubai they are not supposed to land with that much fuel you're supposed to use up all your fuel get to your destination and then you land now he has 60 tons of extra fuel and the electronics are not calibrated to land the plane that heavy so he has a decision to make do i go for the baltic sea and dump the fuel? that will take 40 minutes nobody is happy when you dump 60 tons of fuel in the middle the baltic sea. i will land heavy that means
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you to turn off the electronics and land the plane yourself light as a feather that you don't structurally damage the plane these are $500 million each. it's a huge airbus so immediately he has to start dealing with a crisis with the window a 40 minutes to figure it out. and then with the superiors in dubai to say is it okay i land heavy i will risk your brand-new plane and then get on the phone with helsinki with an airport they don't even know if they can handle the plane to learn everything we can about the airport. you come in over the water not over the city because they don't want planes coming in over the city for noise reasons so he is heavy he can't be landing into the wind
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so then i have to tell him but into what you're not supposed to do but to come in over helsinki and then talk to the doctor exactly how much time do i need? has to have an ambulance waiting on the ground right or he will land to get the woman off the plane and get the flight attendants to communicate to the people in the back we are not going to crash we have a woman who was very sick. i could go on but if you think all of the things he had to do to prepare for that landin landing, that meant for that 40 minutes he never stopped talkin talking. he's talking the entire time. what we are talking about what it means to be a good pilot. he is being a really good pilot in that moment, he needs to be able to land heavy but
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mostly what we are asking of that pilot in that moment is that he can communicate. get on the phone and talk them to land the plane coming on the phone with helsinki to land into the wind and get them already and get on the radio with the people in the back on and on and on we think what it means to be a good pilot with those technical skills and that he conducts voice - - iconic voice but that has nothing to do with what it means to be a good pilot. it means to do what they were doing which means talk to all different kinds of people in the open and honest and persuasive way to talk your way out of this crisis.
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so with that in mind let's think about what's going on in the cockpit. i will redo the transcript from the flight recorder. flying into jfk for the first aborted landing they are in heavy fog and he says the runway where is it? i don't see it. and then they realize they cannot make it and they pull up and the captain asks to air traffic control for another air traffic pattern and then ten seconds pass almost to himself we don't have fuel. seventeen seconds left. just to get a sense of this
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with the crisis that was this much. in just ten seconds of silence. so to understand what this is like so it is on empty you just botched the landing. nothing. and then he says i don't know what happened with the runway. i didn't see it. so they can't move on they are not even thinking about how to land the plane the thinking there botched the runway then finally the one that says clock the one is supposed to
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communicate says i didn't see it in air traffic control says make a left turn and he says told her we are in an emergency and then says that's right and we will try again we are running out of fuel. they have the fuel gauge on empty, they know there is a long line of planes in the sky waiting to land. they are in crisis mode somewhere out over long island in the captain says tell them we are in the emergency he is properly panicking at this point. he says that's right on the heading once again and we are running out of fuel.
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that has no meaning in the role that navigation. as you are coming out on - - coming into land you will run out of fuel they all run out of fuel it doesn't mean anything so to hear that is the air traffic controller you don't check any boxes or sparks interest. now think about the structure of the sentence he starts a critical sentence with a routine acknowledgment of the instructions in the second half he puts his concern we are in crisis. it would be as if you are in a restaurant to say i would have a refill on that coffee and i'm choking on a checking on - - chicken bell. [laughter] they would say you're funny. that's not the way we talk when we try to communicate about a situation even the sound between the two sentences is important so to
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undercut the seriousness of what he is saying. in fact later during the inquest the air traffic controllers that were communicating they all said the same thing we had no idea they were in trouble. it sounded like like he was totally nonchalant talking to us. nothing in his tone of voice to suggest or the structure of a sentence to suggest that something was seriously amiss with the plane. now there is an actual term that linguists used to describe what was going on it is called mitigation. it is the word we use to describe situations where people undercut the seriousness of what they are saying. if you are desperate for your boss to read something you have written to get back to you don't say i need you to
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read this now get back to me say if you have time this weekend if you can look at this. not a big deal that is mitigation. [laughter] and you do that for a reason. if you say i need this to read this now you would be employed much longer is an appropriate use in that situation of this social tool for communicating. normally that's fine but in the aviation world people realize this was a cause of a lot of problems in the cockpit that's a place where mitigation was not an appropriate strategy. let me give you an example so supposed you are the pilot and copilot we are flying along
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and we see on the weather radar see there's a big patch of thunderstorms they are telling us about the choppy weather ahead but you despise straight into it with no attempt so i want to communicate to you the fact we should find a way to go around it so how do i do that? there are many different strategies i could use the difference in terms of their mitigation so the first thing i can say is the real medication would be a command turn 30 degrees right. that is wholly inappropriate because what i am saying is i am the boss not you and your are not a good pilot.
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so that i cut it down to make an obligation statement and say something like i think we need to deviate right about now. i think and then i say the word we set of 30 degrees deviate right around now that's a little more acceptable. so that is also too much and i can use a suggestion and say let's go around the weather. you and me. together on a plane let's go around. maybe that is too hard. may be a simple question and say which direction do you want to deviate? i'm assuming you're going to sooner or later you going to go right or left? maybe that's too strong.
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if it was up to me i would go left. and that is the hint. and to say that looks mean up there. [laughter] there is a world of difference between turn 30 degrees region boy it looks mean up there ahead. but in one case i command an action or a response from you and the last is something so soft it's easy for you to ignore it. this is what people in the aviation world became obsessed with mitigation because they looked at the transcripts of the black boxes in the minutes and hours before a plane crash what you sow is a lot of mitigation that is what's going on in the cockpit causing all the errors. people were too often relying
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on hints and infrequently using the language that would compel action so the air florida crash in the 1980s and then creeping forward and then i.c.e. the answer reform on the wings. --hyphen one bad weather quite a lot. and the first thing he says is like how the i.c.e. is hanging back there. do you see that?
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and that the captain fills in the blanks. and now the i.c.e. is getting thicker. see those icicles? now icicles but he wraps it up a little bit. it still a hand. and then a couple more minutes passed and now the copilot is getting concerned as they are fit for takeoff and he says this is a losing battle trying to deice those wings it gives you a false sense of security. that's all that does. a little stronger but it is still a hint.
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the pilot is ignoring him. now they are number two and he is starting to get really really worried. so what does he do? he goes from a hint to a suggestion and now he actually says we've been sitting here a while now the captain responds and says i think were good to go in a minute were next for takeoff. now were first in line and they take off at washington reagan and when i.c.e. forms on your wings it diminishes your left so they take off in the plane can't make it the potomac is right below they clipped the 14th street bridge and as they go down the
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copilot turns to the captain and the first moment of on this conversation honest communications is that you got into the cockpit and the copilot says larry we are going down and the captain says i know. now mitigation has in the airline world when you look at why they have dropped so dramatically over the last 20 years because of the success to retrain pilots and how they talk to each other so for example this is never the case before but now very often they are required to call each other by the first name if you're talking to someone captain smith if you say jack you're more likely to communicate openly with him. sometimes some airlines have
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done away with captain and first officer entirely. it is the attempt to find openness and communication. they also they give freshman boys all those instructions how to make out with a girl? [laughter] can i place my hand here? yes or no? [laughter] can i move my hand 6 inches lower? is that a yes? sign here. [laughter] they do that with captain's they give you a script if you are copilot having trouble with your community on - - a captain then you read off the thing. it is surprisingly effective to create more open conversation in times with a social context makes open
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communication difficult. this is one of the great success stories in the world of aviation. so now let's go back in the terms of mitigation. they just blew the first landing they are circling around long island and they are on the phone with air traffic control figuring out when they command again. said what did air traffic control tell you? he says irony advised him we are going to attempt again because now we can't and then four seconds of silence. he says advised him we are in an emergency. former seconds go by.
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the captain tries again. did you tell him? he said yes or i already advised him. then he starts to talk air on - - air traffic control with routine details and said 150 maintaining 2052 heavy the captain starts to freak out and says advised him we don't have fuel. he gets back on the radio and says we maintain 3000 and we are running out of fuel sir. there again does not mention the word emergency. that is the word you are trained to listen for. and then it says emergency you act. he does not use the he just as we are running out of fuel which every single plane over jfk was also doing.
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he is mitigating. now one minute air traffic control says i will bring you about 15 miles northeast then turn you back into the approach. is that okay with you and your fuel? and the copilot says i guess so. thank you very much. they are about to crash. now what is going on here? one thing you have to know about kennedy is air traffic control is famous throughout the aviation world. they have run one of the busiest safety record.
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and also the most of noxious air traffic controllers in the world they are famous and are bullies and the one that i heard is jfk is so crazy that once you land it's really easy to get lost a pilot said on - - once got lost finding his way to the terminal and finally she turns to him and air traffic controllers says shut up. stay there. don't move i will get back in touch with you. then the pilot says man, was i married you in an earlier life? [laughter]
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so this is what they are like. [laughter] they push you around and the only way to get what you want you have to play their game and they will only respect you to say this is my issue then they will respond. he is intimidated. i guess so thank you very much because we can understand intimidation and mitigation when what you are trying to do is avoid the thunderstorm 25 miles ahead. we could possibly understand it when were in the plane on the ground at washington national because it is possible it's a judgment call about deice. one guy had a risk threshold that was higher but it is
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really hard to understand mitigation when you are in a plane and your fuel gauges on empty and you know you will crash unless you do something now. that's the puzzle so why is he doing that under the circumstances? the answer, i think to use the work of a fascinating psychologist and works for ibm in the sixties and was multinational all over the globe and goes around the world and gets all of the ibm officers a detailed psychological question how should we behave differently in different cultures?
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is it same intake down as copenhagen? so to try to get a read and he organizes the enormous database it's called these dimensions that are now famous in psychology of ways to understand the cultures of the world differ. he comes up with a series of dimensions and then to categorize. so one of them is individualism all of the countries in the world exist so the most collective culture in the world is guatemala the most is to the united states why are we the only industrialized nation in the
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world not to have national health insurance? because we are individuals one of the definitions of individualism is to what extent do you feel responsible for the welfare other than yourself? we feel less responsible than any other country in the world. another dimension is uncertainty avoidance how tolerant is that culture of ambiguity? when things go hairy with a crisis are you willing to be flexible or do you adhere to the rules of the principles they lay down before hand? and there are wide differences along that dimension those are the most keen to stick to the rules of the circumstance are
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greece and portugal guatemala uruguay and belgium. the five countries of the world on the other end of the spectrum the most tolerant of ambiguity are hong kong, swede kong, sweden, denmark, singapore and then jamaica. it is important it's a value judgment is not saying it's better to be here or there but this is one of the ways cultures differ and a way for us to understand when dealing with the culture with the frame of reference. and these two are pretty specific they have dramatic differences so when we look at that list telogen is the least
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tolerant and denmark is one of the most tolerant. belgium and denmark they are pretty close together live in democratic an awful long time see you would think and then it's actually different but on this dimension denmark has more in common with jamaica and belgium has more in common with guatemala. that is an interesting insight. now at of all of the hostilities the most crucial that he calls power distance which is the measure of a country's orientation toward hierarchy and asking questions like how likely in your
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culture is it for a superior were subordinate to express disagreement with a superior? because they are older or have more experience have higher social standing with positions of power to accentuate there is a huge difference. and then we see them to hide their power. you have to see the prime minister of austria taking the streetcar to work.
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and once he was on holiday from spain and saw the prime minister of the netherlands in a vacation trailer park. that is what you do when you see the prime minister of the netherlands you act as normal a person as you can so as a what are the odds this
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completely helps us to understand and to combat and then that concept says even in the culture is as a high power distance that respects hierarchy will be a lot harder. so it should be possible to understand the likelihood of a plane crash looking at the level of that culture. there is a very famous paper done in the eighties to list all the countries of the world and with the power distance of the pilot and this is the most powerful way to understand the likelihood of a particular airline.
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and that is what you would expect and then australia. israel. can you imagine the israelis subordinate having difficulty expressing disagreement with the superior? [laughter] somebody was telling me one of the big problems with the islamic on - - israeli patrols late at night is the leader just can't get the people who are supposed to be subordinates to shut up. [laughter] so one of the countries that has one of the highest levels in the world? columbia. in fact the kennedy crash is not the first time the
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national airline has had this accident in fact after that crash now they have the investigation they had four crashes in six succession all took exactly the same form where the plane is in perfect working order the pilot was not sick not a massive mistake from air traffic control but still they crashed because of the social breakdown between the pilot and copilot. there was a crash in madrid the two lines from the report conclusion it was a case of the copilot saw something trying to bring it to the attention of the pie the and failed. the report said the copilot was right. but they died because when the copilot asked questions the
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implied suggestions were very weak. the captains reply was to ignore him totally. that is the endemic problem so that night in other words it wasn't the inability to communicate effectively it was the airlines problem of copilots to communicate and even more than that the sense of culture to allow subordinates to open the question are superior. that could not be understood or just individually but to be part of a much larger role context so it's very easy to find this offensive. and we find that kind of language and argument to be problematic and with good reason with that culture
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stereotyping is used to harm but one of the arguments i make there are times we have to talk about cultures in that way how we behave and how we think we want to make people better than we have to be willing to confront our cultural legacy and say this is an area where culture does not do a good job and this is not the culture where it does. so now we have all kinds of problems on the table. you have to understand where he is from. so to understand the plane that night he comes from a
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culture that is very hierarchical difficult to speak to a superior leaders are supposed to lead. the man he was supposed to be in charge is exhausted and can barely listen he is being repeated to he is at the end of his tether. so claude is on - - classes all by himself. and then the kennedy controllers totally low powered of noxious bullying new yorkers and is trying to tell him he is in trouble but he's using his own cultural language. the kind that says when you try to say that kind of thing you litigate. and then coming from a different cultural context. that they think that person doesn't have a problem it's an
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incredible moment in that transcript with that cultural disconnect between the two that it's painful to read. the last exchange and the crashes minutes away and he says i guess so they give very much and then the pilot turns and says what did he say? what did the controller tell you? so understand again this is the very end of the flight somewhere over long island the fuel gauge is an empty one of the flight attendants knows the story because she survived comes into the cockpit at that moment to ask what is going on and she asks and he just goes
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like this. they know it's over. and then classes that wits and using his own cultural language to communicate the seriousness to air traffic control and he realized he had completely failed. the only way he can make sense of that is to assume he has offended air traffic control. so the pilot says what did he say? he answers in a small voice i guess he's angry and says flameout on engine number four and then he thinks he can bring the plane and he landed because they are miles away than the flight transcript after that nothing but two
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minutes of static and the last thing you hear air traffic control comes on to say do you have enough fuel to make the runway? thank you. [applause] i think we have time for a few questions. >> back to outliers talk about the 10000 hours i don't call yourself the outlier but what
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is the cultural background? >> there is a section in the book talking about what it takes to be good at something and how something psychologist have come up in a large number of cases it seems in order to accomplish a task after practice 10000 hours which is four hours a day for ten years so do i have the 10000 hours. >> but outside of that? >> i'm not good at answering autobiographical questions. but i grew up in a house or i guess my parents were borderline workaholics.
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so maybe growing up in that atmosphere that looked at work in that way. >> so one of the examples used in your book the favorite rock band the beatles i'm curious how they increase their technical skills but it strikes me long-term success was more from their ability to innovate in a sustained way does that come from practice or something else? >> this is a reference along the same lines with the extraordinary the soldier and then they play eight hours sets seven days a week. so the question is with the apprenticeship to innovate you
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can accredit a lot. and then to master the field well enough to understand the possibilities. but if you don't know what's wrong with the existed paradigm. as broadband go a well educated rock band. . . . . it's much easier to understand how to innovate when you've got that kind of background .
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i recently discovered and started devouring the podcast on the ted website and immediately when you seeit you want to become part of the event . what i started to realize is it's probably easier to get invited to speak than it isto get a ticket in the audience especially with a 10 year waiting list , i could spend 10,000 hours and perfect a skill and get invited. i was curious if you had any tips on how toconvince the members of ted to invite you to a talk . >> i haven't even beeninvited back . i'm in the same predicament as you are. if i hear anything from them i'll be sure to pass it along . >> i enjoyed your book and i hope you keep writing them and my question is about
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women or the lack of them in the first half of "outliers" when you profile individuals who've had success they are male examples which is not surprising because they are those who had access to success in our society and except for notable exceptions . when you talk about kind of the ideal year for a male who wants to own a fortune in america in 1835 do you think that the age of the woman is before us and is that in our decade, is it ahead of us? what do you think about female success? >> you're right there's an absence of women in the first half of this book and it would have been dishonest to put them in. my whole argument in the book is excess is a function of opportunities that have been, that are granted by society and we have i should point out over the last going back as long as there's been human history i hugely disproportionatelygranted those opportunities to men . and i think one of the ways
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we gloss over that fact is by when we tell stories about success pretending there's as many women out there as men and their art because we just haven't, success is not a simple function of people's ability. it's a function of ability plus fees what do i think that will change? i certainly hope so and i hope if i were to write another version of this book in 40 years . i would, it would tell a very different story but when i was, it's so interesting. i told the story of jewish lawyers in new york for example. you can't find any in that cohort. there are no women. it's amazing . there's this beautifully group beautifully poised to take on a profession for reasons i explained and yet all those opportunities were granted to 50 percent of the groups population and it's
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sort of like, what it is is a reminder of how tragically we have under use of utilized the talents of the population . >> even bill gates schoolwas an all boys school . iq. >> hello. i haven't read your most recent book yet so you may have already answered this question but there's a theorist named robert travers who writes a lot about self self perception and i think he cited the same story about the guys with the deicing on theirwings . and his idea is that we can deceive ourselves into believing everything's okay when it's not really i was wondering if you think that concept works with your cultural ideas about how people can deceive themselves into taking off and then
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crashing. >> to apply that to what i'm talking about, maybe part of what's happening in high-powered culture is part of the deception is that the hierarchy will take care of you. the person higher up the chain knows more than you so you don't have to assert yourself in that way whereas the assumption that low-power culture is that being hard in the latter is a more random fact that a fact that speaks to ameaningful difference in ability or judgment . so there's that element, and additional elements of self-deception that goes on in high-powered institutions in the world but that being said it's important to point out that high-powered is not always abad thing . like that chapter of my book is concerned with career which is a very high-powered culture.
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you can make and which has had all kinds of consequences for korean aviation that struggled with this issue in the air all kinds of other areas of creative life the high-powered notion has been enormously useful. the country does not go from being in ruins at the end of the korean war to being one of the most powerful economic or system in the world in the space of half a century . unless it has cultural ideas that support this enormous organization and effort and order. so i hesitate to kind of describe hierarchy entirely in negative terms and it can be a wonderful thing, just not in that way. >> it seems that a lot of what you're talking about here are things that are out of people's control. the role that wealth lays in
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success, the culture we come from and where we'vebeen raised, we are at . given the other factor, the amount of practice we had to work on our ability is something we can choose to engage with, is there anything we can choose to do to deal with the culture that we come from and how it interacts with other cultures . >> this is a good question. to my annoyance, some reviews have accused me of being a social determinist. in fact i'm theopposite . so the culture that we come from is only deterministic of our behavior if we choose to ignore it. if you never addressed, so the chapter that i wastalking about in my talk , the plane crash chapter is really about korean air and how korea goes from being an airline that almost gets pushed out of business because it has so many plane crashes to being what is now today one of the earlier airlines in the world they transformed themselves over the last 10 years
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precisely because they say they decide at long last to confront their cultural legacy and deal with it and what they discover is if they are honest and open about the fact in this particular instance acting like you are a korean is not a good idea you canchange it and they do . they take that airline from literally it was this close to not existing anymore and it's now an absolutely world-class airline and one thing they show and icontinue this theme in the second half of the book . once we can talk about and confront culture we can change culture. we're only prisoners of it if we pretend it doesn't exist and that's my great objection to the way we deal with so-called cultural stereotypes in this society. we have decided it is always better to ignore them in the interest of avoiding those
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few cases where there is misused and that's a shame because there's another chapter in the book which talks about math, learning math and asian schoolchildren vastly outperformed their western counterparts in math so now sit the question. if they can learn from about flying planes can we learn from that about doing math and the answer isyes we can . western culture is efficient when it comes to getting kids the emotional equipment necessary to achieve high school calculus. we do a terrible job and they do a good job and does that mean we are prisoners of that notion in the west? number we talk about how there are schools, these charter school movement, kids academies are essentially an attempt to set up an asian school in the middle of the inner city. it's like can we get disadvantaged hispanic and african-american kids to behave like korean schoolchildren and the answer is yes you can.
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it's not that hard. you have to be determined about it and honest about it and say we haven't prepared these kids culturally for what they're doing so what i'd like to do is i think we should look upon cultural legacies as a big smorgasbord and we should saylook , these people do this well and these people do this well and let's assume that everyone has something to teach us. and that way we can get around the trap of assuming that there is a kind of hierarchy of cultures. [applause] >> thank you for joining us tonight. mister gladwell will be signing for us at the front of the hall. form a line to my right,
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you're left. again, thank you for joining us and have a good evening. >> you're watching tv on c-span2, television for serious readers. we're spending this saturday evening with best-selling author malcolm gladwell he's the author of six books and a longtime staff writer at the new yorker . coming up next from 2013 , it's a look at his book david and goliath. it's about underdogs and how they succeed. here is malcolm gladwell. >> i brought some of my colleagues and friends here to see malcolm black gladwell and one of them i handed the ticket to himand he said that guy with the crazy hair ? well, he's known for a lot more than that .


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