Ten years ago at the blog

This post is by Unknown from West Coast Stat Views (on Observational Epidemiology and more)

Thomas Friedman demonstrates the Roommate Effect

I have mixed feelings about criticizing Thomas Friedman. For one thing, it’s been done. For another, he did some really impressive reporting on the Middle East and I suspect that, if he stuck to that topic, he would still be adding a great deal to the conversation.

In the role of public intellectual, though, he’s pretty much been a disaster (insert Peter Principle digression here), and he keeps coming up with passages that are simply too representative not to use as examples of bad punditry.

Which brings us to the roommate effect. The roommate effect is one of the reasons that people who go to elite schools to tend do well professionally.

Imagine a small town populated predominately by people in their early 20s with similar backgrounds who are new to the area. Young people are good at making friends and this scenario is almost perfect for forming new relationships. You have roommates and friends and friends of roommates and roommates of friends. You meet people in the cafeteria and in the coffee houses and in the bars. You find people with common interests in music or movies or art or sports. These people tend to form much of the base of a social network that you will rely on for the rest of your life.

This part of the experience is common to anyone who has gone to a traditional college. But in an elite school, there is a fairly good chance (Read more…)