Malcolm Gladwell’s next book will be David and Goliath (2013, Little Brown).
I haven’t read the book yet, but he wrote a related article in the New Yorker entitled “How David Beats Goliath” detailing that Davids (underdogs) win a surprising 1/3 of the time against much stronger Goliaths. The article highlighted a poorly-trained California girls’ basketball team who reached the state finals through unconventional defense like the press. [The article generated some controversy with Gladwell responding to some concerns about Rick Pitino.] Gladwell might have, but didn’t discuss Grinnell Basketball’s innovative strategy to take on better teams of running all out, “run and gun” and substituting in new players every 5 minutes so the team was always fresh.
In an interview with New Yorker’s, Nicholas Thompson in Canada in October 2012, he noted that “Traits that we consider to be disadvantages aren’t disadvantages at all. … As a society, we depend on damaged people far more than we realize. … They’re capable of things the rest of us can’t do [because] they look at things in different ways.”
One key factor in underdog’s success (in business or in life) is employing disruptive strategies that exploit their stronger opponent’s weaknesses. They often move quickly, lay low, channel the opponent’s energy against him or herself, or figure out dimensions along which their Goliath opponent will be slow to change. [Looks like it might help reprise some of the theories of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.]
He focuses on events like Americans and Soviets losing to Afghanistan. the Americans losing to the Viet Cong, or Steve Jobs vaulting out of nowhere and overtaking wealthy Xerox. Or Cezanne, who originally was a “failed painter” but comes from behind. His book relates a bit to Randy Pausch’s advice that barriers are not put up to keep people from their goals but to separate out those who really want something from those who don’t. [He might also have added to his list the success of the American minutemen in defeating the much better trained and funded British troops through a combination of knowing the terrain, early guerrilla warfare [hiding behind trees and rocks], wearing camouflage rather than bright red uniforms, etc.]
His mantra is embodied in the bible:
The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. [Ecclesiastes 9:11]
He believes that Americans shouldn’t focus on getting into the best colleges. [More on that when books comes out, although maybe he’s generalizing from his rise to stardom from a degree from University of Toronto’s Trinity College…]
I haven’t read the book yet, but his book flies in the face of our research that suggests that over the last several decades, there is far less equality of opportunity in America than earlier. These low-income “underdogs” seem to be far less likely to break out of the low-education of the families they are born into than Gladwell’s optimistic statistics seem to assert. Look forward to reading the book…
Here’s an interview of Gladwell with CBC’s Terry MacLeod.
Click here for interview with New Yorker’s Nicholas Thompson on Underdogs.
For more on Outliers, his last book, click here.
Posted in Afghanistan, basketball, British, CBC, Cezanne, David and Goliath, David Arseneault, Ecclesiastes, Goliath, Grinnell College, malcolm gladwell, minutemen, new yorker, Nicholas Thompson, outliers, pausch, randy pausch, Rick Pitino, Soviets, Steve Jobs, Terry MacLeod, Trinity College, underdogs, Viet Cong
Tagged Afghanistan, British, CBC, Cezanne, David and Goliath, Ecclesiastes, Goliath, malcolm gladwell, minutemen, new yorker, Nicholas Thompson, outliers, pausch, randy pausch, Soviets, Steve Jobs, Terry MacLeod, underdogs, Viet Cong
Randy with wife Jai and children
It was announced today by Diane Sawyer on GMA (July 25, 2008) that Randy Pausch succumbed to pancreatic cancer earlier this morning at home in Virginia. While he didn’t live that long in years (47), his life was a luminescent falling star that touched so many of his students, watchers and readers of the “Last Lecture.”
We wish Jai, and their young children (Dylan, Logan and Chloe) well on coping with this enormous loss and hope that millions of us can show the ultimate power of Randy’s life by translating his life lessons into our own lives.
RIP, Randy. I’m sure you’re already inspring the angels in worlds beyond and I’m thinking of the lucky newborn who gets to inherit your soul.
As Randy himself put it in remarks to CMU graduates recently and demonstrated through his life, “[W]e don’t beat the [Grim] Reaper by living longer. We beat the Reaper by living well.”
Here’s what I see Randy’s legacy as being in my own life. For more of Randy’s life wisdom visit here, for inspiring quotes of Randy’s visit here. See the CNN story of his passing here and see ABC News story of his death.
The family requests that donations on his behalf be directed to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, Calif. 90245, or to Carnegie Mellon’s Randy Pausch Memorial Fund, which primarily supports the university’s continued work on the Alice project (that Randy started through CMU’s computer science department).
See Randy’s comments to the CMU graduates in June.
And spurred by Randy Pausch, the NY Times Well blog had a contest on advice for children with these winning pieces of advice. And Randy explained in this WSJ piece how to say goodbye which has some wonderful videos.
Posted in carnegie mellon university, CMU, computer, condition, dead, death, died, dies, health, last lecture, medical condition, news, pausch, randy, randy pausch, RIP, science, update
Tagged carnegie mellon university, CMU, computer, condition, dead, death, died, dies, health, last lecture, medical condition, news, pausch, randy, randy pausch, RIP, science, update
In Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University in the Fall of 2007, facing pancreatic cancer and the likelihood that he would only live a month or two, Randy summed up his life’s wisdom for his kids (then 1,2, and 5). He gave his lecture to several hundred in a CMU auditorium, but it has now been viewed on YouTube by millions of Americans. It’s enormously inspiring, tear-rendering and well worth your time if you haven’t seen it.
His Last Lecture is now fleshed out in a book of the same name (co-written with Jeff Zaslow, the WSJ reporter that brought his lecture to widespread prominence) and he recently filmed an ABC News Special with Diane Sawyer. His comments are immensely wise for a 47 year old.
Randy Pausch alas died in his home last night (July 25, 2008) as reported by Diane Sawyer on GMA. Randy Pausch’s home page is here.
He lived a vibrant life to the end, giving a charge to the graduating seniors at his beloved Carnegie Mellon University just in June 2008
and providing moving testimony to Congress on supporting pancreatic cancer research to help future innocent victims (3/13/08).
- When there’s an elephant in the room introduce him
- Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.
- If there’s anything I want to do so badly, I should have already done it.
- We can’t change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand. If I’m not as depressed as you think I should be, I’m sorry to disappoint you.
- Work and play well together.
– Tell The Truth. All The Time. No one is pure evil.
– Be willing to apologize. Proper apologies have three parts: 1) What I did was wrong. 2) I’m sorry that I hurt you. 3) How do I make it better? It’s the third part that people tend to forget…. Apologize when you screw up and focus on other people, not on yourself.
– Show gratitude. Gratitude is a simple but powerful thing.
– Find the best in everybody…. Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you. It might even take years, but people will show you their good side. Just keep waiting.
– If you want to achieve your dreams, you better learn to work and play well with others…[you have] to live with integrity.
- Collaboration, treating others with respect.
– Never found anger a way to make things better.
– How do you get people to help you? You can’t get there alone. People have to help you and I do believe in karma. I believe in paybacks. You get people to help you by telling the truth. Being earnest. I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person any day, because hip is short term. Earnest is long term.
– Loyalty is a two-way street.
– Get a feedback loop and listen to it. Your feedback loop can be this dorky spreadsheet thing I did, or it can just be one great man who tells you what you need to hear. The hard part is the listening to it.
- Persistence and hard work.
– When you are doing something badly and no one’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are the ones still telling you they love you and care.
– Don’t bail: the best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap
– Don’t complain, Just work harder. [showing picture on screen] That’s a picture of Jackie Robinson. It was in his contract not to complain, even when the fans spit on him. You can spend it complaining or playing the game hard. The latter is likely to be more effective.
– Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted…. I probably got more from that dream [of playing professional football] and not accomplishing it than I got from any of the ones that I did accomplish.
- Fun, wonder, living your dream.
– Decide if you’re a Tigger or an Eyeore. I’m a Tigger.
– It is not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.
– Never underestimate the importance of having fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day, because there’s no other way to play it….Having fun for me is like a fish talking about the importance of water. I don’t know how it is like not to have fun…
– Never lose the child-like wonder. It’s just too important. It’s what drives us. Help others.
– You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs. But at the end of the day, a whole lot of people will have a whole lot of fun.
– Better to fail spectacularly than do something mediocre. [Randy Pausch gave out a First Penguin award each year when he was teaching to the biggest failure in trying something big and new because he thought this should be celebrated. First Penguins are the ones that risk that the water might be too cold.]
- Parenting and kids.
– The best piece of parenting advice I’ve ever heard is from flight attendants. If things get really tough, grab your own oxygen mask first.
– About his pancreatic cancer: It’s unlucky, but it not unfair. We all stand on a dartboard and some of us randomly get hit by pancreatic cancer. But my children won’t have me for them and that’s not fair.
– Someone’s going to push my family off a cliff pretty soon and I won’t be there to catch them and that breaks my heart. But I have some time to sew some nets to cushion the fall so that seems like the best and highest use of my time and I better get to work.
– I’m sorry I won’t be around to raise my kids. It makes me very sad but I can’t change that fact, so I did everything I could with the time I have and the time I had to help other people.
– Importance of people instead of things. Told story of buying new convertible that he was so proud of and taking niece and nephew for a ride. Randy’s sister, the kid’s mother was telling them how important it was to keep car pristine and kids were laughing because at the same time he was pouring a can of orange soda on the back seats. His sister asked what are you doing and he said “it’s just a thing.” And nephew Chris wound up being really grateful because he had flu and wound up throwing up on way home. “And I don’t care how much joy you get out of owning a shiny new thing; it’s not as good I felt from making sure that an 8 year old didn’t have to feel guilty for having the flu.”
– [not a direct quote] but Randy implores parents to always indulge your children’s wild ideas (he talks about how important it was that his parents let him decorate his walls with math formulas, despite the negative impact on their house’s resale value) He says: “If you’re going to have childhood dreams you should have great parents who let you pursue them and express your creativity.”
– It is Important to have specific childhood dreams. (For example, Randy wanted to play football in the NFL, write an article for the World Book Encyclopedia, experience the Weightlessness of Zero Gravity, be Captain Kirk from Star Trek, work for the Disney Company.)
- Be good at something; it makes you valuable…. Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.
- I’ve never understood pity and self-pity as an emotion. We have a finite amount of time. Whether short or long, it doesn’t matter. Life is to be lived.
- To be cliché, death is a part of life and it’s going to happen to all of us. I have the blessing of getting a little bit of advance notice and I am able to optimize my use of time down the home stretch.
Posted in ABC, ABC News, book, brown university, carnegie mellon university, CMU, diane sawyer, excerpts, last lecture, life wisdom, pausch, quotes, randy, randy pausch
Tagged ABC, ABC News, book, brown university, carnegie mellon university, CMU, diane sawyer, excerpts, last lecture, life wisdom, pausch, quotes, randy, randy pausch
Many people wish to know inspiring Randy Pausch’s current medical condition. Alas he passed away last night at home in Virginia early on July 25, 2008 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 47. Here are the 8 ways I see him influencing my life (his legacy).
I wrote about his amazing Carnegie Mellon University “Last Lecture” earlier (which has been viewed by more than 6,000,000 Americans. I also wrote how he has lived to fulfill his last unfulfilled dream of playing with a professional football team. [Randy was the head teaching assistant when I was a teaching assistant in an introductory computer class at Brown University some years back.]
He lived a bright life to the end, he went back in June to give a charge to the graduating seniors at his beloved Carnegie Mellon University. Randy who called himself an “accidental celebrity” and says there are not many of these for pancreatic cancer since people don’t survive long enough for there to be a Michael J. Fox, mustered the energy, in March, 2008, to testify powerfully and movingly before Congress on pancreatic cancer research.
Pausch noted that no progress has been made on pancreatic cancer research in the last 30 years and there is now a far better chance of living with AIDS than pancreatic cancer. Randy noted that pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths, a disease which strikes innocent victims: Randy exercised, ate right, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, but still contracted this disease. Randy Pausch thinks we can protect ourselves from this disease but not without dramatically increased funding for research. The disease is genetic and he goes to sleep at night fearing whether kids (ages 2-9) have this genetic marker, although he hoped with dramatically increased funding for pancreatic cancer research that by the time any of his kids get this disease (which usually strikes later in life), doctors will know how to cure it through genetic treatment.
See notable quotes from Randy here and his life wisdom here.
Note: Randy’s book The Last Lecture (Hyperion Press) was released (April 8, 2008), co-written with WSJ reporter Jeff Zaslow. See Randy’s video about the book and preview of interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC News special about the book (airing April 10, 2008).
Posted in ABC, ABC News, alive, book, brown university, carnegie mellon university, CMU, condition, congress, dead, death, diane sawyer, died, dies, health, hyperion, inspiration, inspiring, last lecture, life wisdom, medical condition, news, pancreatic cancer research, pausch, randy, randy pausch, RIP, special, testimony, update, updates
Tagged ABC, ABC News, alive, book, brown university, carnegie mellon university, CMU, condition, congress, dead, death, diane sawyer, died, dies, health, hyperion, inspiration, inspiring, last lecture, life wisdom, medical condition, news, pancreatic cancer research, pausch, randy, randy pausch, RIP, special, testimony, update, updates
Randy Pausch, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, who is imminently dying from pancreatic cancer but still quite alive, gave a ‘last lecture’ (i.e., what lecture would you give if you had only one last chance to give a lecture). He was at Brown University a bit ahead of me and I was a teaching assistant to him in a computer class, but never knew him that well; obviously my loss!
It’s funny, poignant, touching and all about living life to its fullest with humanity. Among his wise takeaways from his life thusfar are:
1. Brick walls aren’t meant to keep us from doing things but to separate the ones who REALLY want to do something (those who find a way around the brick wall) from those who don’t (those who give up)
2. Hold on to our “wonder” as we lose our chance to dream of greater things when we lose our wonder.
3. Experience is the wisdom we learn from failing to initially achieve what we wanted.
and many more…
See notable quotes from Randy here.
A heavily abridged 11 minute version of the lecture was given in April 2008 on Oprah.
Original 76 minute lecture available in ten different parts:
part 1 (Achieving Your Childhood Dreams)
Transcript of the Last Lecture available here.
And story also described in a Wall Street Journal column “A Beloved Professor Delivers The Lecture of a Lifetime” (WSJ, 9/20/07, p. D1 by Jeff Zaslow in his Moving On column). If not available there, you can also try here (for text and a 4 minute video story).
Note: Randy’s book The Last Lecture (Hyperion Press) has now been released (April 8, 2008), co-written with WSJ reporter Jeff Zaslow. See Randy’s video about the book and preview of interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC News special about the book (airing April 10, 2008). He published an abridgment in Parade Magazine in April 2008.
Updates on Randy Pausch’s condition can be found here and his home page is here (which also has a video of him testifying before Congress on March 13, 2008).
Posted in ABC, ABC News, alive, beloved professor, book, brown university, carnegie mellon university, CMU, condition, couch surfing, diane sawyer, hillary clinton, humor, hyperion, jeff zaslow, jeffrey zaslow, last lecture, life wisdom, oprah, parade magazine, pausch, quotes, randy, randy pausch, special, update, updated, updates, wall street journal
Tagged ABC, ABC News, alive, beloved professor, book, brown university, carnegie mellon university, CMU, condition, couch surfing, diane sawyer, hillary clinton, humor, hyperion, jeff zaslow, jeffrey zaslow, last lecture, life wisdom, oprah, parade magazine, pausch, quotes, randy, randy pausch, special, update, updated, updates, wall street journal