Malcolm Gladwell

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Outliers can help.

The Tallest Tree Symbol Analysis

The Tallest Tree Symbol Icon
Outliers argues that success results from a vast combination of factors, not merely from luck or innate talent. When we see the tallest tree in a forest, we know that it has come from a good seed. But we must also take into account that it has been planted in good soil, and that its leaves have been able to reach the sunlight unimpeded, that it was not shadowed by some larger tree. The tree’s good seed is its “innate” ability, but the combination of its circumstances have allowed it to achieve great heights. The tall tree is a symbol of how success really works.
Get the entire Outliers LitChart as a printable PDF.
Outliers PDF

The Tallest Tree Symbol Timeline in Outliers

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Tallest Tree appears in Outliers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Matthew Effect
Success and Failure Theme Icon
Talent, Opportunity, Work, and Luck Theme Icon
Privilege, Heritage, and Cultural Background Theme Icon
Solutions and Implications for the Future Theme Icon
...extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies” that enable their success. He offers us the following analogy: the tallest tree in the forest came from a good seed—this is not in question. But it did... (full context)