Book Review: Outliers

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Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is a book about what makes sucessful people sucessful and the situations they were in that contributed to their success.

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.

I had to read Outliers in highschool and I really enjoyed it. People always claim that highschool education isn’t needed and you don’t have to go to college to make millions.

It is true, but people often assume that their success is because they are unnaturally gifted in what they do.

Gladwell’s primary objective in Outliers is to show that this assumption is often wrong, and that the success and expertise of these individuals comes from a combination of some crucial factors.

It’s a really interesting look at success that sometimes we just take for granted.

Now think about this. If a child is born in January, and another in December of the same calendar year, the kid born in January is almost an entire year older than the kid born in December, therefore smarter and stronger.

Now fast forward into the future and the kids are both in grade 2. The kid born in January is still almost a year older and because they are still stronger and smarter will likely be placed in more advanced groups for reading or math, and learn more difficult things, therefore progressing faster and faster. The kid born in December gets placed in a lower group and doesn’t learn as much therefore doesn’t progress as far, all because he was born in December and not January.

Now obviously this isn’t an exact science, but if you read Outliers he points out that a lot of NHL players are born in the earlier months of the year.

It’s an interesting idea and looking at my life is sort of true. Again, it’t not an exact science but I know of a few scenarios in my life that fit the bill perfectly.

He has other ideas in there. Gladwell claims that to be sucessful one needs to practice their craft for 10,000 hours to become succesfull. He also brings up a point with NBA players that the taller they are isn’t necessarily better, but being past a certain threshold is all that is needed to be sucessful.

Verdict: Worth the read. It’s a good look at success and the assumptions we often have of sucessful people.

Have you guys read it, other books by Gladwell? Let me know in the comments. I hear he’s written quite a few interesting books.

Next week I’m gonna take a look at a book with talking animals and a lamp post. Stay tuned!

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