How Birth Order May Affect Your Success in Life

Katie Sweeney

Although there is no scientific proof that shows birth order has any impact on a child's future success, psychologist Adam Grant of the University of Pennsylvania discusses the topic at length in his new book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. Business Insider has a first look at the tome that came out just a week ago, and Grant’s findings are fascinating. For example, many of the top base stealers in Major League Baseball and the nation’s most popular comedians are younger siblings. Firstborn children are generally more ambitious, score higher on tests, and often go further in business than their other siblings.

"It's really hard to test a lot of these mechanisms and the kind of careful research that needs to be done hasn't been done yet to really explain why," Grant says, "But I think there are a couple things that are likely to be going on." According to his studies in the controversy field of evolutionary psychology, each kid is vying for their parents attentions, but they do so in different ways. One kid is an actor, the other an athlete, and another a great student. The advantage of being the firstborn child is that you get to stake out your niche before any competitors emerge. Sadly, Grant’s discussion does not discuss middle children, which is my spot in my family's birth order. Perhaps he touches on their success rates in the book?

To learn more about Grant’s studies check out the book, Originals.

Are you the oldest, middle, or youngest child? What role do you play in your family?

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