With Joe Flom’s story, Gladwell seems to throw a wrench into his own argument about the background needed to promote success. However, the author uses Flom to demonstrate the theme of creating opportunity from challenges. Flom wielded considerable legal power and respect earned through his drive and intelligence. As the son of poor Jewish immigrants in Depression-era Brooklyn, he graduated from the prestigious Harvard Law School. Still, in spite of his hard work and legal talent, Flom was one of only two attorneys in his graduating class without a job offer. Gladwell reveals that Flom had the proven ability, but not the “right” background or family legacy that top firms of the time were looking for. That is, he came from a family of poor Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, and elite New York City law firms discriminated against Flom openly, forcing him to take a position with what was thought to be a “second-tier” law firm—the type of firm that would take any case that came through the door, even cases the white-shoe firms considered beneath them. Gladwell details the ways in which Flom’s position with one such young upstart firm allowed him to develop an expertise in corporate litigation and takeovers. As a result, when mergers and acquisitions became commonplace and lucrative, the high-end firms lacked the legal talent to handle cases they once considered untouchable. Flom, on the other hand, built a fortune and a successful legal career out of them. Gladwell uses Flom’s life story to demonstrate how challenges of poverty and discrimination can lay the groundwork for success—that he achieved these things not just in spite of his challenges, but in some ways because of them.