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Malcolm Gladwell on Meaningful Work « from the gut

One of the books I have on-call at the library is Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. The books explores the myth of the “self-made man”, asserting instead that “they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.”

Charlie Rose interviewed Malcolm Gladwell recently. He has a great quote at 26:00 into the interview.

Gladwell: Meaningful work is one of the most important things we can impart to children. Meaningful work is work that is autonomous. Work that is complex, that occupies your mind. And work where there is a relationship between effort and reward — for everything you put in, you get something out…

If you are convinced that the work you are doing is meaningful, then curiosity, there’s no cost to it. If you think there’s always got to be a connection between what you put in and what you get out, then of course you’ll run off with a great excitement after an idea that catches your idea.

Rose: People often ask me to define leadership and I say to them what you just said all the time. You have to communicate what the mission is all the time — and how meaningful someone’s contribution is to the mission.

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