Recognized HTML document

PREFACE   xxi

statistically as the outcome of ability and environment and of nothing else, because the effects of chance tend to be eliminated by statistical treatment. The question then becomes, How far may noteworthiness be accepted as a statistical measure of ability ?

Ability and environment are each composed of many elements that differ greatly in character. Ability may be especially strong in particular directions as in administration, art, scholarship, or science ; it is, nevertheless, so adaptive that an able man has often found his way to the front under more than one great change of circumstance. The force that impels towards noteworthy deeds is an innate disposition in some men, depending less on circumstances than in others. They are like ships that carry an auxiliary steam-power, capable of moving in a dead calm and against adverse winds. Others are like the ordinary sailing ships of the present day-they are stationary in a calm, but can make some way towards their destination under almost any wind. Without a stimulus of some kind these men are idle, but almost any kind of stimulus suffices to set them in action. Others, again, are like Arab dhow s, that do little more than drift before the monsoon or other wind ; but then they go fast.

Environment is a more difficult topic to deal with, because conditions that are helpful to success in one pursuit may be detrimental in another. High social rank and wealth conduce to success in political life, but their distractions and claims clash with