Human Capital: The Cost of College

Explaining his proposal to make colleges more “accountable and affordable,” President Obama said we need some criteria to rate schools. Why? Measures that would include tuition, graduation numbers, and the proportion of enrolled lower income students can be used to determine…

Human Capital Formation: 10,000 Hour Rule

For human capital formation, 10,000 hours could be crucial. I was at Lincoln Center several nights ago. Listening to a wonderful performance of Chopin’s Polonaise, I wondered how much the pianist practiced. That took me to Malcolm Gladwell. In Outliers, Gladwell…

Human Capital: The Year You Were Born

Your human capital might be affected by your birth date. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell suggests that children born during the Great Depression had an advantage. Economic contraction meant couples had fewer babies. A cohort with fewer children, 1930s babies enjoyed smaller…

Oligopoly: A Ketchup Story

Called the “Ketchup Conundrum” by journalist Malcolm Gladwell, we have many mustards but only one ketchup. Grey Poupon transformed the mustard market. Originally a delicacy in the gourmet section, Grey Poupon was selected over French’s in taste tests. However, a $1.49…

Ranking Schemes

I just looked at the U.S. News and World Report ranking for business schools. Then, while I was there, I could not resist checking out the “best” colleges and their new best connected category. The top 3 colleges are Harvard amd…

Who Really Won the Olympics?

Sometimes it is tough to decide who really is #1. Ask me who won the Olympics and I, as a former history teacher, might say the Mongol Empire. If you were to outline the Mongol Empire (1280AD) on a map,…

What Spaghetti Sauce Teaches Us

Henry Ford once said that: “If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse.’ ” Similarly, asked about spaghetti sauce during the 1980s, consumers primarily knew about Ragu’s plain, marinara and meat sauces. Because…

Ranking Questions

Ranking income distribution, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says that Denmark is one of the most equal countries the world while Mexico is one of the least. For overall well-being, Gallup selects Virginia, Wisconsin and New Jersey…

“Tweakers”

Referring to Steve Jobs, most of us think of innovation and entrepreneurship. Like Thomas Friedman in “(Steve) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” we imagine business starters and young Thomas Edisons. Instead, in the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell tells us that Jobs…

Success

In a  wonderful NYC Radio Lab podcast about success, Malcolm Gladwell also explains why genius is closely related to love. Recorded at the  92nd Street Y in NYC, writer Malcolm Gladwell and Radio Lab host Robert Shulwich preceded their conclusions about…