Sometimes the way you conduct science has profound impacts on society as a whole. Malcolm Gladwell says the way we look at who is and who isn’t successful is crucial. He says it’s dangerous to think East Africans are good runners because they have an innate gene that makes them fast. Instead, you have to look at cultural attitudes. More people run in Kenya and Ethiopia than in the U.S. Therefore, those countries produce more successful runners. If you were to think if it in terms of genes, well, that’s the same philosophy that gets people thinking African–Americans aren’t as smart as whites. The real reasons behind success rates in professions like medicine and law have to do with class, not genius. Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book is "Outliers: The Story of Success." He also writes for The New Yorker magazine. Gladwell spoke at Town Hall Seattle on January 17, 2009.