Strong Link Vs Weak Link

Jasmin Torres
May 6, 2017 · 4 min read

What does is mean to be the “weak link” or the “strong link” in a scenario? Gladwell gives examples of both weak link and strong link in his podcast, “My Little Hundred Million.” Malcolm Gladwell talks about how Hank Rowan, an engineer who selflessly donated one hundred million dollars to Glassboro State University, a small college in need. Shortly after, many others started to follow Rowan’s lead, but they only donated to wealthy elite schools that were not in need of the money. Why didn’t any of those people follow Rowan?

Hank Rowan is a weak link, and he wanted to make a difference with the money he donated. Rowan wanted to make the world a better place by supporting the worst “player” rather than helping the “superstar” such as Harvard. Gladwell explains how soccer is a weak link and basketball is a strong link sport for may reasons. I think managers of a company are the strong links, and their employees are the weak links. While in college, I see that professors are the strong link in the situation and their students are the weak link. Finally, in the political world I think most politicians are the stronger links, and we the people are the weak links. Both the weak link and strong link can relate to things happening in the world around us.

Malcolm Gladwell discusses how soccer is a weak link and basketball is a strong link sport. Studies show that if people want to win a game of soccer, they should upgrade the worst players on the team. In the game of soccer Gladwell says, “You will never see one person dribble the soccer ball from one end of the field to another.” A lot of players have to touch the ball to make a goal. If one does not upgrade the weakest links on the team, they will drag the rest of the team down. In soccer the worst players on a team are the most important. On the other hand, Gladwell also states that basketball is a strong link sport. A strong link is like professional basketball because studies show that if people want to win basketball games, you should upgrade the top one to two players on the team. Basketball is a star playing game. For example, Lebron James does not need anyone else to touch the ball if he wants to win. A basketball team doesn’t get that much better if upgrading the weak links, it’s more of a one person sport. Although some sports relate to strong links and weak links, it’s also relatable in the real world.

To continue with, in the workforce world managers are the stronger links while the employees are the weaker links. Managers have to go through schooling in order to file for their position to be the stronger link. They also have to be able to comply to more restrictions and responsibilities. Another great point is how management want their employees to succeed, and they hire the employees on leading management to be on top of the totem pole in hierarchy. Likewise, employees are the weak links in the workforce because they need to work harder in order to reach their goals and expectations that management requires. I also believe that they are weak linked because they don’t get paid as much and often have to do the “dirty work” (Jobs that management typically doesn’t have to do… like cleaning the bathrooms or cleaning up messes from customers). Management is stronger, and the employees are on the weaker end of the stick.

Also, in a college setting I have come to the realization that my professors are the stronger links due to their ability to teach their weak-linked students. They have also gone through many years of school in order to peak their education. College professors have an age gap (sometimes) compared to their students which leads professors to have more respect from their peers. Society says professors are more mature and less likely to go out and party unlike their weaker linked students. Professors are more likely to make better decisions due to gaining experience throughout the years. Professors are the stronger links in comparison to the students.

Are politicians who run America a strong link or a weak link? I believe that the politicians in America are strong links, and we the people are the weak links. As a democracy, we have the say; we vote these people in so we should technically have the power. We make ourselves the weak link. If we the people were to put ourselves in each politician’s shoes we would be able to make our voice be heard even louder. We make ourselves the weak links because many americans aren’t voting. We could be the change and make our beliefs be heard. For this country to be great we should focus on both the weak link and the strong link.

Would America be a better country if the money went where it is needed? Free lunch programs, medicare, medicaid and Obamacare are all weak links that are frequently used in America by millions of people. There are still children coming to school with nothing to eat. Also, medical health programs are used for people who can not afford health coverage. America could be better if everyone had health care they could afford. These programs are here to help people. I think america should invest more in the weak links to become greater nation.

The weak link can be the least dependable person on a team, workplace, classroom, in politics, and even in our society around us. In “My Little Hundred Million,” Malcolm Gladwell gives great examples of a weak link and a strong link with soccer and basketball. In Gladwell’s podcast, he makes a person think why didn’t anyone follow Hank Rowans example? Why didn’t anyone who donated wanted to make a difference for the college? Is it just say “I donated to the most wonderful school in America? People like Hank Rowan want to make a difference in the world.

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