Is Our Legacy Important to Our Success?

Do our cultural traditions shape our approach to the world? Outliers,see  has some interesting examples.  Apparently the way that the Chinese count is much simpler than way we count in English.  The result is that it is much simpler to do arithmetic and other earlier mathematical functions.  The result is the Chinese and some other oriental cultures are more adept at mathematics earlier than English speakers.

If you think about the way we count, it is certainly not logical.  After ten, eleven, twelve,then the rules change to three-teen, four-teen, but not five-teen, six-teen, seven-teen, eight-teen, nine-teen.  After that the rules reverse and we have twenty-one instead of one-twenty.  The complexity continues with many exceptions.  The French counting is just as complex, maybe more.  

I do not know Chinese but according to Gladstone, the author of Outliers, the counting is simpler and completely logical.   He says that partly explains why the Chinese and some oriental cultures are better at math.  They get an early jump start.

This example is one of many in the book that help one understand how things often happen the way they do.

Apparently the feuds between hill folks which are characterized by the Hatfields and the McCoys is very common with the people who came from areas where honor was a key component of the culture.  These cultural traditions survive long after the original causes are lost.  These people value honor very highly and consider an affront to the family or person an issue of honor.  

I am a Newfoundlander and have not lived there for over fifty years.  However I wonder how much of my attitude has been shaped by my early influences.  This book has really made me ponder my cultural legacy.

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