- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 17 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Hachette Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: November 18, 2008
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001LNK9C4
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Outliers: The Story of Success Audiobook – Unabridged
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The book also talks about how very specific events such as the birth date cut off for admission into hockey leagues, like a butterfly's wings flapping, has long lasting effects on people's destinies and trajectories. There is the anomaly that professional hockey players tend to be all born early in the year, in January and February and not at the end of the year. Likewise, many of the great billionaires of both this gilded age and the previous one in the early nineteenth century were born nearly at the same year reflecting the fact that they just were at the right moment for the cutoff to take advantage of certain opportunities. One comes away from the book feeling not that it is inevitable that men of Bill Gates' and Steve Jobs' stature would naturally become titans of the computer industry but rather that they reflected special contingencies. One wonders how applicable the logic is to the new generation -- i.e. Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg . Do they benefit the same way?
The book also describes "young genius programs" such as that developed by Terman at Stanford, ostensibly based purely on innate abilities, and how "relatively" unsuccessful these people were in real life, being in a sense surpassed by those taking better advantage of their context.
Finally, the book tackles an exceptional population. It analyzes the amazing proficiency of Asians for mathematics, looking at how this may relate to their cultural proclivity for hard work through rice farming and also some aspects of their language, which deals with numbers in a much more uniform way than the irregular forms of English.
Overall a great read that gives one an exceptional view of the exceptional.
It reminded me of a comment Warren Buffett made at a lecture I saw him give in the Spring of 2000. He talked about how his wealth came from being lucky enough to be born at a time and place when his skills and abilities were valued. He said that had he been born 10,000 years earlier, he would not have survived because his skill set is not conducive for the life of a nomadic hunter-gatherer.
The key point to take away from this book is "Outliers are those who have been given opportunities-and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them". This is something I have known about my own life; that certain lucky breaks and fortuitous random encounters with new people has led to many of my own personal and professional accomplishments.
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