Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Short List: 5 Advantages To Being Diminutive

by Linton Weeks
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May 13, 2010

You’ve probably heard it all your life: Being short is a disadvantage. A cursory glance at the research underscores the point. Short people are less successful — earn less, garner fewer leadership roles, etc. — than tall people, according to Arianne Cohen, author of the The Tall Book: A Celebration of Life from on High.

Recent headlines mock the diminutive size of French President Nicolas Sarkozy (5 feet 5 inches). Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is so noticeably petite (5 feet 3 inches), the late Justice Thurgood Marshall called her "Shorty." Randy Newman famously sang that "short people got no reason to live."

But in his new book for young people, Short: Walking Tall When You Are Not Tall At All, reporter John Schwartz of The New York Times approaches the cultural view of height with a jaundiced eye. Many of the so-called disadvantages of being short, he writes, are predicated on selective use of sociological and psychological data by drug companies that market growth hormones. "In the end," Schwartz writes, "a lot of the 'problems' that people associate with being short are created by the same people who say they are trying to fix them."

Truth is, says Schwartz (5 feet 3 inches), being short can actually come in handy. "That sense of starting the race a step behind," he says in an interview, "can be a powerful force for good. I think it can make us short guys a little tougher, a little more eager to show the world what we've got. Maybe, in some of us, it helps us develop a sense of humor — being able to tell jokes probably got me out of being pounded more than once."

See the article for a list of advantages to being short, and a slide show of famous short people.

Eg., Buckminster Fuller was 5'2".

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