According to Malcolm Gladwell, what is the reason that many Asians excel at mathematics? Discuss the cultural and educational differences that he points to as explanation.

Malcolm Gladwell says that the reasons why Chinese students excel at mathematics include the discipline learned from a culture of rice farming, and the greater simplicity of the Chinese numbering system. Although Gladwell focuses on China, both points are also applicable to other East Asian cultures.

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In chapter 8 of Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell writes about the traditional importance of rice farming in China. Rice farming is hard physical work, requiring long hours and dedication, but it is also intellectually demanding when deciding how to optimize production from a fairly small plot of land. Gladwell links the demanding nature of rice farming to the level of effort Asian students apply to the study of mathematics. American students generally regard success in mathematics as primarily a matter of ability, a talent you either possess or lack. However, Gladwell cites research that shows this is not the case. In one study, researchers gave students a long, detailed questionnaire to complete. A tendency to complete the questionnaire meticulously and answer every question was correlated with success in math classes. This suggests that learning to complete tasks doggedly and with attention to detail is an important element in mathematical excellence, and a culture of rice farming teaches...

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