Gladwell once again attempts to prove a point by reaching a (in my opinion) rather obvious conclusion and repeatedly asserting it, just as he did throughout Outliers.
I’d like to believe that most people realize that any ranking system won’t necessarily match the individual’s specific preferences. That means that by relying on an outside ranking system, the individual must willingly forfeit their own preferences, and accept what the rankers consider to be the most valuable. The inherent relativity of any given ranking system should be obvious to the reader.
In order to attempt to reassert his argument of bias in ranking systems, Gladwell cites an irrelevant ranking of the presence of positive qualities of different areas of the United States, a survey conducted by Ellsworth Huntington. He cites a portion of the list of Huntington’s correspondants, many of whom are from New England and New York, both of which areas were ranked at the top of the list, demonstrating obvious bias. Gladwell had already shown that bias is invariably present in a ranking system, but in an attempt to force his assertion on the reader, he refers to an unnecessary source.
It should be obvious that bias exists in ranking systems. Writing a six page article in an attempt to assert this point seems to exhibit a bit of overkill in my opinion.