MAIN IDEA •THE SUCCESS RATE OF PEOPLE DEPENDS ON : • WHERE THEY CAME FROM • THEIR SKILL SET • TIME PERIOD • THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT WERE PRESENTED TO THEM THE THREE LESSONS •1ST – THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING JEWISH •2ND – DEMOGRAPHIC LUCK •3RD- THE GARMENT INDUSTRY AND MEANINGFUL WORK INTRODUCTION TO JOE FLOM • Joe Flom was a very successful partner of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom. • His parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. • He was at the top of his class at Harvard Law. • One of his former classmates Charles Haar said “He had that quality which we always vaguely subsumed under ‘thinking like a lawyer.’ He had the great capacity for judgment.” (pg. 117) • He couldn’t get a job at one of downtown law firms unlike most of his classmates. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING JEWISH PT: 1 • • One of Joe floms classmates at Harvard was Alexander Bickel who had a background much like Flom’s. • He was amazing and Mudge Rose turned him down because of his immigrant background. • “I certainly had come far. But I ought to understand how limited the possibilities of a firm like his were to hire a boy of my antecedents.” (pg. 122) The old-line law firms of New York operated like a private club. • didn’t fit under that label → joined smaller, second-rate firms and took whatever work came in the door. • “Having pleasing personalities and “clean-cut” appearances, are graduates of the “right schools,” have the “right” social background and experience in the affairs of the world.” (pg. 123) THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING JEWISH PT: 2 Joe Flom had success because of the era he was born in. Because the attitude of Wall Street changed to cutthroat company takeovers, Joe Flom was in his profession in the right place at the right time to become successful in the huge boom of money and stakes in the corporate lawyering business. Because Joe Flom was discriminated against for being jewish, he was placed in a perfect spot to prefect the company takeovers. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING JEWISH PT: 2 "It's not that those guys were smarter lawyers than anyone else," Rifkind says. "It's that they had a skill that they had been working on for years that was suddenly very valuable"(pg. 128-129). LEONARD A. RIFKIND, Leader of Rifkind Law Group, who at the time led one of those big law firms that fell to people like Joe Flom. ANALOGY •IF YOU NEEDED A HEART SURGERY WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO DO YOUR SURGERY? • THIS WAS LIKE THE JEWISH LAWYERS. SINCE THEY NEVER GOT THE MAJOR CASES THEY WEREN’T AN EXPERT ON THEM, THEY WERE ONLY AN EXPERT ON THE HOSTILE TAKEOVER AND THE PROXY FIGHTS. SO WHEN THE DEPRESSION CAME UP AND MONEY SCANDALS WERE IMPORTANT THEY WERE THE GO TO LAWYERS. DEMOGRAPHIC LUCK PT: 1 The Terman’s Termites provide a very important view of what demographic luck means. Here Gladwell splits the Termites into two groups, those born from 19031911 and those born from 1912-1917. Those born in the earlier group proved much more likely to fail. This is because they graduated college during the height of the Great Depression, and had trouble finding jobs. Then when they were in there 30’s, many were drafted into World War II, and this disrupt their careers and families. The ones in the second group however, graduated college after the worst of the depression was over, and more were able to have stable lives and jobs. DEMOGRAPHIC LUCK PT: 2 -They got the opportunity to be able to have smaller classes and smaller teams. It was considered a “happy accident”. -After the economic hardship of the Depression made the number drop in 1935 by 600,000. - “Families simply stopped having children, and as a result, the generation born during that decade was markedly smaller than both the generation that preceded it and the generation that immediately followed it.” pg. (134) DEMOGRAPHIC LUCK PT: 2 Due to the sudden decrease the schools started to have more available help from the teachers from the lack of students who went there. They benefited from this not only through the academics but from the sports. Quote: "The New York City public schools of the 1940s were considered the best schools in the country," says Diane Ravitch, a professor at New York University. DEMOGRAPHIC LUCK PT: 2 -Coming from a good background is not necessarily a bad thing to have, history allows you to be great. Quote: “when willing to work hard you could take responsibility for yourself and put yourself through school.” (pg.136) -Just like Joe flom did when he hitchhiked his way to school and paid for it by getting multiple jobs at college. Quote: “70% of jews came through ellis island had occupational skills, small groceries or jewelry or tailoring stores.”(pg.142) Quote: “The sense of possibility so necessary for success comes not just from inside us or from our parents. It comes from our time from the particular opportunity that particular place in history presents us with.”(pg.137) ANALOGY •HOW DO YOU THINK YOU GET BETTER AT A SPORT? • WELL SINCE THERE WAS NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WERE AT THE SCHOOL SO PLAYING TIME WAS AVAILABLE. HOWEVER NECESSARILY THE TEAM WOULDN’T BE THAT GOOD BUT THEY EACH HAD THE CHANCE TO BE GREAT. THE GARMENT INDUSTRY AND MEANINGFUL WORK PT .1 Louis and Regina could not see how selling herring on the street would lead to a constructive business. “It was clothes everywhere around him stores were opening . suits, dresses, overalls, shirts, skirts, blouses, trousers, all made and ready to be worn, coming from a world where clothing was sewn at home by hand or made to order by tailors, this was the revelation.” (pg. 140-141) He wanted to find an item that everyone was going to wear that could be considered a novel item. At first it was just aprons. “There is no doubt that those jewish immigrants arrived at the perfect time, with the perfect skills. Says the sociologist Stephen Steinberg. To exploit that opportunity had to have certain virtues and these immigrants worked hard.” (pg. 145) THE GARMENT INDUSTRY AND MEANINGFUL WORK PT .1 THE GARMENT INDUSTRY AND MEANINGFUL WORK pt .2 Hard work can get you places. Jewish immigrants → most successful → utilize and market. “Those three things- autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward- are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.” (pg. 149) Ask in order to receive. “Borgenicht said he wanted to buy forty cases of cashmere. Bingham had never before sold to an individual company, let alone a shoestring operation on Sheriff Street. “You have hell of a cheek coming in here and asking me for favors!” Bingham thundered. But he ended up saying yes.” (pg. 148) THE GARMENT INDUSTRY AND MEANINGFUL WORK PT: 2 “Not “in spite of”, but “because of.” “Jewish doctors and lawyers did not become professionals in spite of their humble origins. They became professionals because of their humble origins.” (pg. 153) Successful → certain time period where the industry boomed. “In fact, we can be even more precise. Just as there is a perfect birth date for a nineteenth-century business tycoon, and a perfect birth date for a software tycoon, there is a perfect birth date for a New York Jewish lawyer as well.” (pg. 156) Your background can give you opportunities. “Their world- their culture and generation and family history- gave them the greatest of opportunities.” (pg. 158) ANALOGY • WHO DO YOU THINK IS BETTER AT SPEAKING SPANISH? SOMEONE WHO STARTED YOUNG OR SOMEONE WHO JUST LEARNED IT A COUPLE YEARS AGO? “THESE ARE WIRINGS THAT CONNECT AND CARRY ELECTRICAL IMPULSES FROM BRAIN CELL TO BRAIN CELL. THE RESULTING NETWORK, WHICH GROWS DAILY IN THE YOUNG BRAIN, FORMS THE NEUROLOGICAL FOUNDATION OF SKILLS THAT YOUR CHILD WILL USE FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE” (RAISE SMART KID) SO STARTING A SKILL YOUNG MAKES IT EASIER TO BE AN EXPERT WHEN YOU ARE OLDER AS ARE THE GARMENT INDUSTRY WORKER.