The Great Indian Naming Trick

January 9, 2013 5:55 am

Malcolm Gladwell is a terrific author, and repeatedly comes up with a peculiar reasoning for everyday things that makes us think, “OMG, that is so true! really, that is just so true!”. Look at this example from his book ‘Outliers’:

“He uses examples from sports, including the birth dates of soccer players in a recent junior world championship tournament. He writes that August 1 was the cutoff birth date for participation and goes on to explain how the vast majority of players, 135, were born in the three months immediately after August 1, while only 22 were born in May, June, and July. He asserts that players whose birth dates were right after the cutoff had more time than younger players in their cohort to physically mature and develop their skills.” (Source)

The argument is basically this:

” But the point is that very best hockey players are people who are talented and work hard but who also benefit from the weird and largely unexamined and peculiar ways in which their world is organized.” (Source).

Well Mr Gladwell, meet this genius called the Indian Parent. She (or He) has intuitively understood that these issues exist, and that they are a reality that we all need to live with – so she has devised her own mechanisms to counter it. One example: the way most systems in education are designed, things are mostly done in alphabetic order. So the kids with names starting with the letter ‘A’ have an advantage, very similar to the advantage that the book ‘Outliers’ refers to. What did our genius parent do?

She just chose the child’s name smartly – a name that starts with the letter ‘A’ !

So there it is – the great Indian naming trick – the next time you meet an Ashok or Aaradhana from India, you might not know where they are from, but you definitely know where their name came from !

For Interesting Statistics Everyday, Find Statspotting on Facebook and Follow Statspotting on Twitter

Leave a Reply