"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference" - Robert Frost

December 23, 2013

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell (2)

(See previous summary here.)

Chapter two: Teresa Debrito.

Most people think that a smaller class is better for students' achievement.  Is it really so?
Some countries, including US, China, Canada, Netherland, Singapore, Hong Kong, England and Korea agreed in that idea and have decided to change their class' size.

But as more researches are done, there are differences of result in different countries. There's a 15% significant proof that students achieve better in a smaller class. Also 15% significant proof for students that achieve worse. 20% says that smaller class has no effect and the rest 50% is a bit confusing; it leads to both directions but can't be concluded. So actually the idea "the smaller the class, the better the achievement" is apparently nothing than just an idea that works in only small percentage.

And then there's this story about a great Hollywood figure who came from Minneapolis. He has become entrepreneur since he was little. He then got succeed in the Hollywood industry, got a house which is as big as plane hangar, private jet and a Ferrari on his garage. He knows how to earn money, how to use it, and most importantly he knows the value of money. Now he wants to teach his children about the value of money too, but it's a hard thing to do. Because, how can he teach his children the value of money of his own version (workhard and faith) when it's different from his children's version (private jet, ferrari and all)?

When we're lack of money, we got problems. When we have too much money, we also got problems. Only different ones (lol). The two stories above about size of class and the Hollywood figure lead us to the idea/graphic titled "Inverted U-shaped Curve".

taken from dailyfinance.com
There are three parts of the curve.
The left side is when having more is better. 
It's when the smaller class size the better.
 It's when having more money won't make you starve, and will make you be able to do things better.

The center part, the flat one, is when additional effort won't make much differences.
It's when the smaller the class' size has nothing to do with students' achievement.
It's when too much money won't make you be any happier.

The right part, is when doing/having more even makes the situation worse.
It's when the smaller the class' size, the worse the students' achievement
It's when the more money you got won't make your children understand the value of money.

The same goes for most things on life.
 Now, do you still think the more the better? Think again :>


On chapter three: Caroline Sacks, we'll learn about the unseen disadvantages of being little fish in a big pond and also unseen advantages of being big fish in small pond. Watch.

In the mid 19th century in Paris there was a group of painters who oftenly gathered in a cafe in Batignolles named Cafe Guerbois. Members of the group were Manet, Degas, Cezanne, Monet, Renoir and Pisarro. One night, they discussed about their chance to get their paintings hung on Salon, the most prestigious art exhibition in Europe. (Their paintings are now hung in every big art museum in the world, their art stream is Impressionism. Yes, they were Impressionist). But at that time they couldn't show it anywhere because their paintings were different from others', not the mainstream ones. No one wanted to buy their paintings because they weren't hung on Salon.

But Salon itself had its own weakness. Salon was the biggest art exhibition so there were so many paintings to be chosen to be hung on the wall. Sometimes they were hung too high that the visitors couldn't see them. That made many painters disappointed.

So then, on 1873, Pisarro and Monet made a new group named Societe Anonyme Cooperative des Artiste Peintres, Sculpteures, Graveurs (I couldn't help but to try to pronounce the words. Yes I still want to learn French :>). Everyine joined it except Manet, who still thought that Salon was the best way to make his paintings be known by people.

The exhibition of the Impressionist was held for a month. There were 165 arts and it brought 3500 came to see them -- 175 people on the first day. The Impressionists started to get their place in the world of art. It's all because they chose to be big fish in small pond.

Little Caroline Sacks was really interested in science. So when it came to the time where she'd choose to study, she finally decided to choose Brown University for the first choice, and University of Maryland as the alternative.

Why did she choose Brown over Maryland? Well, Brown is an Ivy League member, the students are smart, it's prestigious and so on and so on, so Sacks thought it'd be nice for her to study there and learn science with smarter people who would be willing to learn together with her. She thought she could be the best there, again.

But the facts came out and it's all really different that what she had expected. Her friends are competitive. They don't want to share their secret in studying with her. They study alone. Sacks, in the end, couldn't be the best too, because she was in pressure of seeing her smart friends succeeded getting better grades than her. Sacks case is an example of small fish in big pond.

*to be continued*

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