Malcolm Gladwell Google Zeitgeist Harvard Presentation

Before I start this article I would like to clear the point that the renowned author Malcolm Gladwell at Google Zeitgeist conference was specifically talking about students who want to get a Science or Math degree but adding that part would’ve meant that this post title would’ve been as long as a paragraph. However, the information that we would like to grasp from his wonderful presentation is how the human mind thinks. I would love to start with an example that he gave during this conference and the term used for this behavior is Relative Deprivation Theory.

Which kind of countries have the highest suicide rates? Now I would have said the unhappy ones but Malcolm Gladwell pointed it out that the answer is the happy countries. If you are morbidly depressed in an unhappy country, you will see many people around you who are unhappy and you won’t feel that bad about your situation but in the same situation if everyone around you is very happy, that will really break your heart. The same scenario is visible when students go to prestigious colleges like Harvard for Science or Math degree and he has called it Elite Institution Cognitive Disorder or EICD.

Harvard is the place where the best minds in the world go. So even a person from the lower tier at Harvard is as smart as a student from the higher tier at an average school. However, when you compare these equally smart students, there are higher chances of the lower tier student from Harvard dropping out than the higher tier students at an average school. The problem is that even smart students struggle to succeed when they are in a place where there are smarter students.

That’s why he gave the example that if you have a choice between Harvard and the University of Maryland, go for Maryland as it increases your chances of success by a whopping 30%. However most of the students prefer to go to a prestigious institute like Harvard and reduce their chance of succeeding by 30%. Watch this wonderful video which will give you insights about the functioning of the human mind and how you can succeed in life by making smart choices.


Share your thoughts