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Status Rules Everything Around Me
Short post on an idea that I want to further when I’m not sleep deprived:
Status is the most important thing in the world.
I don’t care much about status since (anecdotally) I’ve found only a loose correlation between competence and the presence of status, but I’ll still concede any day that it’s probably the most important thing for being successful. And Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, in his book Don’t Trust Your Gut, lends support to this idea.
Davidowitz describes in the book what he calls the Da Vinci Effect, which is when the presence of status breeds more status, and in turn more success. The book cites a study which followed half a million painters, and it found that, once an artist got his work to show in a prestigious gallery, the odds that he’d continue to see success in the future went up by insane margins relative to those who failed to do the same.
Nearly 40% of the artists who presented their work in a prestigious gallery were still able to maintain their art careers a decade later, as opposed to only 14% of the painters who never presented their work in high status art institutions.
The same effect can be seen even where it shouldn’t be, like in the peer-review process.
I read a study just recently on what researchers call “status bias.” In the study, over 3,000 peer-reviewers were shown three variations of the same scientific paper—one version with the name of a Nobel laureate displayed prominently, one version with the name of a lesser known figure, and one version which was anonymous.
Only 23% of peer-reviewers rejected the paper when the name of the prominent scientist was shown, 48% rejected the paper when the author was anonymous, and 65% rejected the paper titled with the name of the lesser known scientist:
It’s not fair, but that’s how the world works. Status is something we all need but rarely talk about, and I hope to write a bit more detailed post about this in the future.
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