Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell has uncovered the secret to success.

Except it's not what you think.

Recall the stereotypical story of the American dream - a self made man who by hard work and pluck ended up making millions and changing the world. Think he just got lucky? Well, no. Gladwell postulates that his millions and fame came from one source: good old fashioned hard work. Lots of hard work that is. In this fascinating book, Gladwell picks apart, case by case, some of the most successful people (outliers) in our society to truly discover the story of their success. Bill Gates, the Beatles, and Canadian hockey players to name a few. Gladwell's main thesis is that yes, these people are smart and talented enough to go far, but it was/is due to their extreme hard work that brought them to the pinnacle of their profession. He seems to believe that 10,000 hours is the magic number and most likely anyone who puts in that amount of time will become a master at what they do.

Some of his ideas I already agree with: that genius (having a coveted high IQ) doesn't necessarily equate results. Someone can be brilliant and never do anything significant with their life. Also, the idea that culture plays a large role in how you identify with success: the whole idea that Americans believe they are 'entitled' to better jobs, education, etc. simply becuase they are American. And lastly, the notion that no matter how hard you work at something, unless you are in the right time, at the right place, surrounded by the right connections then your achievement will go unappreciated. Sad, yet true - a large portion of your success depends largely on circumstances.

This book was highly fascinating and a very quick read. I only wish he had left off the last chapter which describes his family history. I know he was illustrating a point, but I felt like it could have been easily left out and the book itself might have ended a little better.

The main thing I took from this book? If you want something bad enough, you better be willing to put in the time to become the best...and then hope you are born at the right time when your skill will be the most sought-after.

1 comment:

Shepard Daniel said...

Dear Michelle,

I came across your blog and really liked it. It has been a pleasure to read your book reviews.

I am the editor of TeaTime-Mag, a free online magazine for English language students. I am writing in order to inquire as to whether we could publish your review of “Outliers” in our e-magazine which will launch in October. It would fit nicely into our book review section.

Your blog would be presented and introduced in the magazine and a direct link to the blog itself will be inserted.

We already work together in this same way with several bloggers for our Spanish language magazine, VeinteMundos.

To see an example please click on this link: http://issuu.com/veintemundos/docs/veintemundos-2009-3/12

TeaTime-Mag will be structured and built along the same lines as VeinteMundos. So we estimate that we should reach a similar number of readers for the English magazine quite fast as well. We started a VeinteMundos in the beginning of 2009 for Spanish language students (www.veintemundos.com). VeinteMundos is now read in over 60 contries by more than 16’000 people.

If this project sounds interesting to you, we would love to have your permission to reprint the review and possibly others in the future.

I can be contacted at editor@teatime-mag.com
We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Shepard Daniel
Idiomas Internacionales