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An In Depth Look at the Elements of Achievement,
This review is from: Outliers: The Story of Success (Paperback)
Many books addressing achievement look only to the qualities of the individual. As important as attitude and determination tend to be, they rarely tell the whole story. Malcolm Gladwell is an expert at digging deep into the full scope behind achievement and finding meaning and importance where others often overlook. The result is an extensive study that uncovers many areas of intrigue that may have played large yet generally unseen roles.
The premise of this book is perhpas defined best by a metaphor Gladwell provides early in the book: "The tallest oak in the forest is the tallest not just because it grew from the hardiest acorn; it is the tallest also because no other trees blocked its sunlight, the soil around it was deep and rich, no rabbit chewed through its bark as a sapling, and no lumberjack cut it down before it matured. We all know that successful people come from hardy seeds. But do we know enough about the sunlight that warmed them, the soil in which they put down the roots, and the rabbits and lumberjacks they were lucky enough to avoid?" The bulk of this book is thus spent analyzing those external influences that helped create some of the most colossal successes known to today and what you can learn from them.
Some may find it hard to believe that some of the most famous successes known today, despite being briliant, driven, and skilled, were also very fortunate. Gladwell doesn't discount the value of talent and in fact spends considerable analysis on the importance of repetition and the now famous 10,000 hour rule. Yet the real impact of this book is centered on the notion that circusmtnaces are not just an equally important factor, but a surpsignly well tested theory. Gladwell is not short on examples or history thus making his conclusions difficult to refute. His writing is equally as fluent thus making this an effortless and enjoyable book to read. Anyone with an interest in the elements of achievement should have this book on their list.