I am going to preface this post with this – I did not understand everything Malcolm Gladwell said.
But the one thing that came to my mind is this: when it comes to choosing a career, I would argue that many of my generation were impoverished. You either were expected to go to university (college was for chumps) or you expected to work as a foreman for your dad once you finished high schools (if you were a boy, that is. Girls from immigrant homes were supposed to get married and have babies).
If you did humanities in university, as I did, there really was no direction as to what you were going to do next. Teaching or academics were the common path, followed by writing. But I finished university during the Harris era were options were few. You took a job and that was it. And there was no guidance as to job options, hence the preponderance of “artsies” taking office jobs.
I waited until I was 51 to take a different path. I do understand one thing Malcolm was saying: I’m going to have to put in many hours of study if I came going to succeed.