‘Success’ – Reader Response

Some would say ‘revolutionary’ is an adjective that should not be tossed about lightly, but outlined herein are two articles that are certainly deserving of the controversial title. Afraj Gill’s article ‘An A+ Student Regrets His Grades’ not only feels like a critique of academia’s current infrastructure, but also an urgent call to all those who are willing to listen. Gill’s address to students, staff, and the general public is a poignant review from someone who is ‘in the know’, and the article is something everyone should take note of. To compliment the previous work Malcolm Gladwell provides an excerpt from his book in an article entitled “How To Be A Success”, in which he outlines the success stories of some famous ‘outliers’. His general dialogue – tailored for a wide audience, will hopefully reach as many as possible. Gladwell’s book reminds us that the most successful people are usually there by circumstance, and sometimes an arguable unfair advantage.

Gill’s purpose is to urge the readers to rethink all the ideas traditionally associated with ‘education’. The article proposes that we do away with convention and embrace a more ‘fluid’ way of learning. A way of learning by falling down and getting back up – to paraphrase the author. This format is not only a good exercise in alternative thinking for the learned, but can also serve as inspiration to those who have been labeled a failure in the past. Gladwell’s prose reinforces Gill’s sentiments of reform. A change in everyday thought and institutional policy may serve as a catalyst to bring ‘success’ to a larger audience. Gladwell explains further in his book about outliers infers that there may be no exact formula for success, this coupled with Gill’s thought may lead some to believe that many invaluable institutions such as the education system, for example, may hold certain people back instead of allowing everyone a fair chance.

Gill adopts a general style of writing while still adding in the technical terminology so those in his position can relate. Gladwell also speaks general to a wide audience, but uses technical terminology when needed. Both these articles were written for the masses. Each author is trying to urge the general population to seek change in places we may not have noticed needed change. These articles challenge intellect and tradition, which could urge a soft social change.

Prose and Art by:

Asher Aries


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