Your Source for All Things Herring...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Key To Success Begins With Herring!!!!

Journalist Malcolm Gladwell’s  must-read book of the season is Outliers and is subtitled The Story of Success. It looks at a variety of people deemed “successful”, including Bill Gates, wealthy Jewish lawyers, sports stars and the Beatles. It tries to determine what factors besides inborn talent made their success possible and tries  to explain why some people succeed way more than others. 

In an on-line book review by Leon Malinovsky:  “Nature versus nurture. It’s among the oldest debates in history and lies at the heart of what Outliers is about. Gladwell’s position is unambiguous. “I’m a big-time nurturist,” he says. “I don’t mean to deny the role that your own personal characteristics and talent play, but I’m trying to layer on what I think the other critical factors are.” Those factors include “hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies,” he writes.

Chapter 5 [The Three Lessons of Joe Flom] tells the tale of attorney Joseph Flom, of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom. According to Gladwell, Flom did not succeed through hustle and ability but rather by virtue of his origins. Intelligence, personality and ambition were not enough, but had to be coupled with origins in a Jewish culture in which hard work and ingenuity were encouraged, and in fact a necessary part of life. This, along with having to scrabble in a firm cobbled together out of necessity because Jews were not hired by white-shoe law firms, gave the partners and unusual and timely expertise: Flom's firm decided it had to take hostile takeover cases when no one else would, and that turned Flom and his partners into experts in a kind of legal practice just beginning to boom when they hit their stride.”

Guess what lesson 3 was about? You got it—Herring!!! Here is an excerpt:
“In 1889, Louis and Regina Borgenicht boarded an ocean liner in Hamburg bound for America. Louis was from Galicia, in what was then Poland. Regina was from a small town in Hungary. They had been married only a few years and had one child and a second on the way. For the thirteen-day journey, they slept on straw mattresses on a deck above the engine room, hanging tight to their bunk beds as the ship pitched and rolled…….. Louis and Regina found a tiny apartment on Eldridge Street, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, for $8 a month. Louis then took to the streets, looking for work. He saw peddlers and fruit sellers and sidewalks crammed with pushcarts……He went to his sister’s fish store on Ludlow Street and persuaded her to give him a consignment of herring on credit. He set up shop on the sidewalk with two barrels of fish, hopping back and forth between them and chanting in German:
‘For  frying, For baking, For cooking.  Good also for eating.  Herring will do for every meal, and for every class!
By the end of the week, he had cleared $8. By the second week $13.”
The most critical lesson—HERRING!

Thanks to Rav Elie for the heads up on this story!!

No comments:

Post a Comment