When having students read the nonfiction novel by journalist Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success, I would use the Lao Tzu conversation to spark a discussion and debate about goal-setting in general. We would start off with the essential question, “Is goal-setting necessary for success?” The various chapters of Gladwell’s book will add meaning, substance, and anecdotes for this question, providing examples of the fact that while setting goals has value in most contexts, sometimes successful people are merely a product of their fortunate circumstances.
Level: Secondary English/Language Arts
Subject Area: Journalism
Author: Tiffany Heitman