We explore what can confer advantage. Bridget Kendall talks to best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell about whether the power of the underdog has been under-estimated; psychologist Kathryn Asbury on why some kids start school with a biological advantage over their peers, and globalisation professor Ian Goldin on ensuring future generations’ advantage now. Photo by Fred Dufour/AFP/GettyImages
Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. His latest book is David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. Gladwell was born in England and grew up in rural Ontario. He now lives in New York.
Kathryn Asbury is a psychologist who works on educational development and the impact of genetic and environmental influences. She has co-written a book with the behavioural geneticist Robert Plomin, called G is for Genes – The Impact of Genes on Education and Achievement.
Ian Goldin is Professor of Globalisation and Development at the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. He has just published a report called ‘Now for the Long Term’, the result of a year-long study by the Commission on Future Generations. Find out more, and join the debate here.
60 second Idea to Change the World: Give Your Brain a Break
In this week’s 60 Second Idea to Change the World, psychologist Kathryn Asbury suggests we invent a device that recognises when your brain is overloaded and quietly shuts down all your email and social media feeds. It might work by sensing physical signs of stress and tiredness, such as hormone levels and blood pressure, and when they cross a certain threshold it would block off all new information, giving you time and space to process the things already cluttering up your brain. She believes this is necessary because we don’t have the willpower to do it for ourselves. The more tired and stressed we are the more likely we are to check email and Twitter obsessively, when we should be concentrating on more important things like getting off the bus at the right stop or not walking into lamp posts!
In Next Week’s Programme:
The Forum takes part in the Hong Kong Arts Festival, and asking a panel and audience what gives island cities like Hong Kong their unique vibrancy?