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Campus Book Discussion (2018): Hillbilly Elegy

Chapter 13

Vance talks about the connections he makes at Yale and how they help him. One of those connections includes his wife, Usha.  The other connection has to do with the connections he made as a result of attending networking events while at Yale.  He describes the interviews as  “. . . a test of belonging, of holding your own in a corporate boardroom, of making connections with potential future clients” (213).  He talks about how his position as a student at Yale gains him access to the most prestigious law firms in the country and goes on to elaborate on the value the wealthy place on networking, in particular, since it grants opportunities to those in the right circles.  Vance calls the ability to prosper from those who are around you “social capital.”  In short, Vance argues that it is not enough to be smart; it is equally important to have the right people in your circle.

Social Components to Success

Social Capital
Social capital refers to social relationships that have the capacity to enhance the achievement of one's goals. Social relationships are viewed as investments, whether the investment is conscious or unconscious. This article explores the origins of this idea, and its applications in sociological contexts.

Food for Thought

Who’s in your circle? Identify the people who empower you and make you better.

What services, clubs, and organizations on campus serve as social capital?  

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