A Room of One’s Own vs Outliers: Gladwell rips off Virginia Woolf

Posted by Irresponsibility

The general feminine simpering in blogland in response to Malcolm Gladwell’s latest ‘ooh, look at me, ain’t I clever?’ tome Outliers is maddening enough. Worse still, the shrieking fact that thus far seems to have escaped the critics, feminists and fawning profile writers alike: not only is Gladwell’s theory unoriginal, it is stolen from a women.

Bill Gates and the Beatles are two of Gladwell’s outliers, and he credits both with considerable natural gifts. But just as crucial as their innate creativity, he says, are their circumstances,” is the Independent’s summation.

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf


Compare: “Intellectual freedom depends upon material things.” Virginia Woolf wrote that in 1928, in the address later published as A Room of One’s Own.

Ironic, Gladwell doesn’t see fit to mention a single woman in his book, not even the one from whom he hijacked his big idea.

Gladwell admits he owes his success to leisure: “People who are busy doing things – as opposed to people who are busy sitting around, like me, reading and having coffee in coffee shops – don’t have opportunities to collect and organise their experiences and make sense of them.”

He is merely parroting Woolf’s central argument: that you need,“ five hundred a year and a room with a lock on the door” to give birth to big ideas.

That some frizzy haired ‘hipster’ should, long after Woolf’s tragic death, augment his millions by ripping off her ideas and repackaging them with added machismo isn’t surprising. Just depressing.


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4 thoughts on “A Room of One’s Own vs Outliers: Gladwell rips off Virginia Woolf

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