I searched the book jacket and introductory writings for any trace of the words “Berkeley, California” and found none. I did find the Washington Post and The New Yorker bona fides, however, and they are ultimately more disconcerting than just the mere geographical tell-tale. This fella is one huge Lib, folks, make no mistake about it. Tuck your napkins in tight, ’cause he’s gonna lay the lies out like an all-you-can-eat buffet brunch at the Uptown Hilton.
I do believe it was the esteemed Mr. Clemens himself — (I’M NOT WORTHY! I SUCK!) — who said: “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies and statistics.” But I’m a firm believer in following the numbers all the way; it is only in the interpretation of the numbers where the lies and spin spring up and, so far, Gladwell has been spinning his conclusions like a Hanukkah dreidel on some really good (or would that be “really bad”?) meth.
He just couldn’t resist, for instance, equating his sports findings to: “It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks” (pg 30). Oh really, Malcolm? As the new “numbers” Guru on the block, you obviously then know that the top 1% of taxpayers pay 39% of all income taxes collected in this country, and the top 25% are forking over 86%, meaning, math being what it is, Sir — as you demonstrably know so well — that the other 75% (that would be all the “not” rich) carry but a mere 14% of the entire tax load. Cripes, 50% of the population pay no federal income tax at all! And of those, a substantial number get money back from the government, beyond what they’ve paid in withholding (if any). It’s called the “Earned Income Tax Credit.” That’s the RICH “getting the breaks“!??! HELLO!?! (And those inequities ain’t based on no birth dates, neither.) So, on what planet does that all add up to your unequivocal declaration, Mr. Guru?
For someone bent on making his ideological points with all those fancy numbers, Gladwell, oh-so typically, chooses not to see the ones that detract from his (quite) poorly disguised Liberal mission to trash exceptionalism and pave the road to mediocrity with his “scientific” excuses for failure. As my hero, Susan B. Anthony, would say: “Ya can’t have it both ways, Dude.” Either the numbers tell the story, or they don’t … which is it gonna be?
“Out and Outliers” would be a much more accurate title for this hit-piece on personal initiative and individual achievement. “The Story of Success,” my big patoot … even the subtitle of his book is a lie. It should be: “Even More Unconscionably Unfair Advantages the Rich and Successful Have Over You.”
It is going to be a genuine pleasure to knock his wobbling top off the table with the unfailing inertia of sturdy, upright truth. He may think he’s dressed his lies up with enough pretty statistical garnish to waltz right into my dining room with them, but I’m checking the facts at the kitchen door, and he’s gonna have to try and serve that gratuitously-spiced hog-slop to somebody else … I ain’t swallowin’ none of it!