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Outliers: The Story of Success Paperback – June 7, 2011
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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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.
Meaningfulness - The thing has to have some meaning for you, some deep meaning. You need this to create or have a desire or need to do the thing - you won't do it if there's no need to do it, or no desire.
Expertise - Which is different from "success." It takes 10,000 hours of consistent, deliberate practice to become "expert" at something. If you have the desire/need, you won't mind putting in the time.
Support - No one does anything alone. Every successful person had support from someone at some critical point in time.
History - Your own genealogical history will have a huge impact on what your do - how you act/react regarding things. Your personal history will have a similarly huge impact - how you view the world is based on your experience of it from an early age.
Culture - The culture you were raised in, and the culture you live/work in, will determine your behavior to a large extent, unless you're really aware of it, and can work with it.
Luck - It takes a lot of luck to be "successful." You have to be in the right places at the right times. You have to have all of the cards stacked up in your favor.
There are some things we just can't get around. Our genes, for instance. Our family history. Our past. Those things are done. The good thing is, they are done. We don't have to think about them, unless they create impediments for us. If they do, we need to deal with them and get over/around those issues.
We can't really get around luck, either...though some people feel like we make our own luck (and I tend to agree). We can do our best to stack the cards in our favor, to create Win/Win situations whenever possible, and walk away from situations that are Lose/Win, or Win/Lose. That will go a long way. Maybe as far as luck itself can at times.
The rest of it is simply finding what's most meaningful to us, and being true to it. It takes a lot of work, a lot of bravery, a lot of soul-searching. But when it's all over, wouldn't you rather be able to say you used your life to become who you really are? That you realized your fullest potential? The alternative seems very sad.
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.