How did Naomi Klein become Naomi Klein?
Take a look at what Wikipedia has to say about the family (educational) culture from which she emerged:
Klein was brought up in a Jewish family with a history of left-wing activism, as was her husband, Avi Lewis. Her paternal grandparents were Marxists who began to turn against the Soviet Union after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and had abandoned Communism entirely by 1956. Her grandfather, an artist, was fired from Disney for labour organizing. Her father Michael, a physician, was a Vietnam War resister (her parents moved from the US to Canada to avoid the draft) and a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Her mother, film-maker Bonnie Sherr Klein, directed and scripted the anti-pornography documentary film, Not a Love Story. Her brother Seth is director of the British Columbia office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Her in-laws are Michele Landsberg and Stephen Lewis, son of David Lewis. (1)
What life work would you suspect might be impelled by the cultural opportunity made possible to Naomi Klein by her immediate family? Yep, you’re right.
Among her writings, two books: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and an earlier No Logo: Taking Aim at Brand Bullies. In addition, her activism worldwide which confronts oppressively undemocratic and unsustainably exploitative socioeconomic behavior of a powerfully few.
Here’s a link to Naomi Klein’s website. Below is a YouTube video of her discussing The Shock Doctrine:
Naomi Klein is no Chris Langan–the no-account “genius” (loser?) whom Malcolm Gladwell contrasts with the outlier Robert Oppenheimer in the Outliers. But does Naomi Klein conveniently fit in Gladwell’s all-male club of celebrated/celebrity outliers? Let me explain.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is “simpler” by Einstein’s measure than it need be. A friend Nancy’s use of the phrase “alignment of the stars” seems an appropriate description of Gladwell’s explanation of why extreme “success” happens; in my view, Gladwell seems more an astrologer than astronomer, more mythologist than scientist.
Perhaps inadvertently, Gladwell purveys to parents/educators hungering for confirmation that pushing their children/students through a schooling culture of competitive credential accumulation is what’s really best for them. Take advantage of (and ace) training opportunities and hold your own self-promotionally when encountering gatekeepers and you’ll get to work in somebody’s big house and out of the field working as a lowly hand. The more time and effort you devote to making yourself useful and to gaining the appreciation of your superiors/clients, the greater you’ll see your success (narcissistically) in their mirrors. Where’s the personally, uniquely creative dimension in this male-dominated scrum for fame and fortune?
In a world where the 44 richest people (all men) have acquired as much wealth as the poorest 2,500,000,000, do you think that Gladwell’s “astrological” account is as sufficiently explanatory about the reality of a variety of less conspicuous and less fanfared forms of real success (on-the-ground?), and even outliers’ success itself? It seems to me that there is a scientific account based on testable, simply stated principles, akin to an evo-devo explanation of “natural selection,” which broadly explains social success of human groups and the individuals who are identifiable within them.