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Outliers: The Story of Success Paperback – June 7, 2011
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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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.
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.
The introduction starts with an example in the area of Health, where research has no choice other than stumbling upon an almost unbelievable conclusion, simply by eliminating all other, generally better known/acknowledged factors; the author uses that to introduce the reader to an approach in thinking that goes beyond the obvious, and beyond the paradigms that usually in place (in 'accepted' mainstream thinking).
The book straddles along similar lines of (and sometimes overlaps with) the book 'Bounce' (by M.Syed; see elsewhere on Amazon), i.e. when it discusses the idea of 10,000 hours (as a measure of practice in order to master something). Instead of trying to compare them, I would recommend reading them both, as they they are complementary. They both explain in detail how talent is overrated when it comes to rationalize / understand the successful and famous; there is a whole set of circumstances including (but not limited to) time, place, class/upbringing, culture, luck, dedication, etc.. Talent is but one of them, but doesn't explain everything, and only up to a certain level/point.
What the(se) book(s) do(es), is that it opens your eyes to lesser known factors involved in the making of success, in a way that it allows your thinking (about things, about your life, etc.) to consider more aspects, take a broader look, zoom out more so that more things can come into the picture. Then, with the insights from that, apply those lessons to a new model for (parts) of society, community, etc., to be more inclusive for all (rather than then select groups or individuals). Understanding what makes success helps us create it. And that is the author's pitch here, done in a very detailed and personal, touching way. Highly recommended.
In Outliers Malcolm gives clear insights and answers as to what makes a tremendously successful person (Malcolm's definition of an Outlier). In this book Outlier is only on the success side as the term Outlier can easily be used to define an abject loser also on the other end of the spectrum. Now the simple synopsis of this book is that a successful Outlier is not a self made man only but also needs a few lucky circumstances, ethnicity, genetics, family background and breaks to become an Outlier. After reading through Malcolm's tangible evidence, facts and anecdotes, I had to hit my head and say why didn't I ever come to these conclusions about successful people? My perceptions on success and being successful have changed.