Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers by Malcolm GladwellMy Rating: 7 /10
Title: Outliers: The Story of Success (Amazon Link)
Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Ever since I read Outliers, I am glad that I was born in February. This has given me several relative advantages not bestowed upon those born in March and beyond. Before starting school, I had a solid 10 or so months of growth and development over those born in December. When it came to age groups in sport, I was close to being the oldest I could be. Small differences compound over the long hall. If these small advantages are anything to go by, than I just may have won the ovarian lottery. Let’s forget about those born in January.

Where does success come from?

The stories of success as told by Malcolm Gladwell, and the underlying reasons behind them are intriguing. In many cases there is a mixture of culture, good fortune, hard work, persistence and timing. A bit of nepotism never hurt either.

In the interest of brevity (and because I didn’t take any notes while reading), here is a sample of questions that are answered in Outliers:

  • What sets elite sportsman apart from the rest of us?
  • Why do some planes fly and others crash? (potentially informative given the year we’ve had)
  • How do tech prodigies like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs come about?
  • Is IQ really important?
  • And can you outwork talent?

I was already familiar with several of the concepts presented in Outliers (perhaps due to the rampant plagiarism on the internet), so it didn’t quite have that WOW factor for me. However Gladwell has a way with words so it was enjoyable nonetheless. Well worth the few hours it took me to read as I flew over central Australia and Indonesia. Thanks to Adriana on twitter for the good book suggestion.

– Stephen

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2 thoughts on “Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell

  1. Kirti

    I thought this was a good read, too. It was disappointing to hear that luck played a role in the success of people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, but I have to admit that he gave compelling evidence for his thesis.

    For most of us average schlubs, I think it’s better to believe Thomas Jefferson’s words: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the luckier I get.”


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