By Ed Yong
The National Geographic
Originally published May 28, 2014
Ask successful people about the secrets of their success, and you’ll probably answers like passion, hard work, skill, focus, and having great ideas. Very few people, if any, would reply with “privilege and luck”. We’re often blind to these factors and they make for less inspiring stories. But time and again, we see that the advantages that give us a head-start and the accidents that ease our path can make or break a career.
In 1968, sociologist Robert Merton noted that in several areas of science, advantage accumulates. Well-known scientists, for example, are more likely to get further recognition than equally productive peers of lesser renown. Merton called this the Matthew effect after a biblical verse that says “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”
The entire story is here.