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Outliers: The Story of Success Paperback – June 7, 2011
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"In the vast world of nonfiction writing, Malcolm Gladwell is as close to a singular talent as exists today...Outliers is a pleasure to read and leaves you mulling over its inventive theories for days afterward."―David Leonhardt, New York Times Book Review
"The explosively entertaining Outliers might be Gladwell's best and most useful work yet...There are both brilliant yarns and life lessons here: Outliers is riveting science, self-help, and entertainment, all in one book."―Gregory Kirschling, Entertainment Weekly
"No other book I read this year combines such a distinctive prose style with truly thought-provoking content. Gladwell writes with a high degree of dazzle but at the same time remains as clear and direct as even Strunk or White could hope for."―Atlanta Journal Constitution
About the Author
Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1996. He is the host of the podcast Revisionist History and the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and What the Dog Saw. Prior to joining The New Yorker, he was a reporter at the Washington Post. Gladwell was born in England and grew up in rural Ontario. He now lives in New York.
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Malcolm Gladwell explores the different factors that decide the difference between successful and unsuccessful people. We learn what rock stars, geniuses and computer programmers have in common. He explains that success is not just a matter of IQ, but a combination of hard work and opportunity. In Outliers, Gladwell hooks the reader by first providing an anecdote and explaining the common misconceptions that people have about that situation and then completely turns our understanding of how they got to be successful on its head.
This book includes stories of why January first is the ideal birthday for a hockey player, how the work ethic determined by Jewish immigrants making clothes lead to them becoming successful lawyers, how Asians working in rice paddies has developed a culture which excels at math, and how performing for 10,000 hours in Hamburg decided the Beatles’ rise to fame. While this book was enjoyable for this trivia alone, Gladwell manages to change our perception of success entirely, because timing, circumstance, and even luck are major factors that decide a person’s success. Sometimes the disadvantaged actually have all the advantages in the world just because they happened to be born in the right place at the right time. We have to examine all the factors surrounding a successful individual which all had to come together in order for him or her to be an outlier.
Gladwell bases most of his anecdotes and explanations on research conducted by others and I wish he would have gone into more detail about how these studies were conducted and how reliable they actually are but this is the only complaint I have about this book. He is a very charming and enthusiastic story teller, he thoroughly explains his thought process without rambling and kept me interested and engaged throughout the whole book. Overall I enjoyed reading Outliers and I would definitely recommend it to others.
My professor made me read this book in community college. My previous education (high school, middle, elementary) was not the greatest. I grew up with many discouraging teachers who assured myself and my classmates we wouldn't amount to much so there's no real point in trying. When my professor gave me this book I laughed. There was no way in hell a book was going to explain to me how success works. Because at this point, I was convinced it was impossible.
This book changed my perspective on not just my education, but my goals, and how I viewed my past. The system screws over so many students. And it's not just a problem in the USA, but all over the world. Sure, some success in this book is luck or timing with a few other elements. (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs) But chapters like "The 10,000 Hour Rule" are incredibly thought provoking and are lessons I often think about on a regular basis. It's been a few years and I turned my life around a lot with my education and now my career. I like to think a lot of that began after reading this book. I wish I had read this in high school. If you're a teach or professor, I highly recommend making your students read this like my professor did to me.
I am a fan - I think the author is an awesome storyteller. His skill in presenting complex scientific principals in an entertaining and easy to understand format is truly a gift.