Outliers

Chris Langan Character Analysis

Often called “the smartest man in the world,” Chris Langan has an IQ of 195 and has authored many papers on theoretical physics. His work goes unpublished however, and he has never been able to earn a college degree. Gladwell argues that Langan’s genius didn’t guarantee him success, and that other factors (like his childhood and background) made it difficult for him to achieve his full potential.

Chris Langan Quotes in Outliers

The Outliers quotes below are all either spoken by Chris Langan or refer to Chris Langan. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Back Bay Books edition of Outliers published in 2011.
Chapter 4 Quotes

[Oppenheimer] possessed the kind of savvy that allowed him to get what he wanted from the world.

Related Characters: Chris Langan, Robert Oppenheimer
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chris Langan Character Timeline in Outliers

The timeline below shows where the character Chris Langan appears in Outliers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: The Trouble with Geniuses, Part 1
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1. Gladwell begins the third chapter with the story of Chris Langan. Langan’s IQ is 195 (that’s thirty percent higher than Albert Einstein’s). He is a “celebrity... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Trouble with Geniuses, Part 2
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This chapter delves more deeply into the rather tragic life of Chris Langan. He grew up very poor; his father was an alcoholic and for the most part... (full context)
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2. Gladwell points out that, though heartbreaking, Langan’s account of his life story is a little strange. He lost a scholarship because of... (full context)
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Gladwell tells us that Langan’s story makes him think of Robert Oppenheimer, a physicist who famously led the American effort... (full context)
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Langan was kicked out of school for forgetting to file a form, where Oppenheimer received probation... (full context)
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4. This is perhaps where we can locate the most important difference between Oppenheimer and Langan. Oppenheimer’s parents (an artist and a successful businessman) fostered his passions, made him join clubs,... (full context)