Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH
I don't know if I completely agree with this. While I do agree that growing up in a family of leaders makes it easier, however I think some of that is in our genetics and is more nature vs. nuture. My father and his 3 brothers are first generation Americans and they all are very successful and none of them did amazing academically. My one uncle teacher told him to go to a trade school and learn HVAC or something. He told them to fuck off and he ended up being a dentist, captain in the navy, and now has his own dental practice. They all have a similar type A way about them too.
I really do think it is about having more than book smarts. They knew how to manage themselves and other people around them. So, I really don't think academics has anything to do with it, it is knowing the game and playing it in your own favor. I see it all the time at my company, these genius Asians working away, getting the boss answers as quickly and as meticulously as possible and they always complain there is no way to get ahead. Meanwhile they are always the ones sitting there waiting to be told to do things rather than making decisions on what should be done. It is like they are calculators who are there when you need them but ultimately need to be programed to do what you want.
These guys went to college and graduated like everybody else and learned the same material. Nobody in college teaches anybody how to play the corporate game, or act in your own favor and get ahead. They probably should, but the fact of the matter is that most of the learning that you do is when you are thrown to the wolves. Some people get the social aspect of it and some people don't.
I hate the term "book smarts". It's used as the negative half of a false dichotomy.
I also find the idea that leaders are born and not raised laughable. Like I said, yes, there are exceptions, but by-and-large, people grow into the roles for which they are groomed. I hear about programs that are designed to help minorities (African Americans and Latinos in disavantaged conditions, in particular) speak and comport themselves in such a way that the mannerisms they've learned since birth do not impeded their progress in corporate America. By the same token that African Americans are not born mean-mugging, and Latinos are not born calling people "Holmes", Asians are not born mumbling, unable to make eye contact, etc...
There is actually a phrase in Cantonese "Dai Fong" which roughly translated, means "generous", but also encompasses openness and expansiveness, and other qualities which correspond very closely to the characteristics that Americans, in particular, like to call "leadership" qualities." So yes, in Chinese culture, at least, these qualities are valued.