I will start with the good, to which there is plenty. One, the author is a great narrator and added value by reading himself. He is a great story teller and the listening experience is quite enjoyable. Plus it gets the reader thinking about what causes success and makes an argument that is not often expressed outright - basically no man is an island and no one is a truly self-made man. Lots of great examples throughout the book to support the argument.
I especially enjoyed the idea that outliers don't overcome adversity so much as it turns out that what they thought was adversity really turned out to be opportunity. This was the most compelling argument.
The stuff about cultural legacy was interesting and the anecdotes about Korean Airlines were especially interesting and entertaining. Some of the history of rice farming and modern day attitudes with regards to math skills were also interesting - I enjoy authors making connections between things that appear to be unrelated. Reminded me somewhat of Freakonomics - I suspect if you enjoyed that you will enjoy this. At one point the author reviews how the very words used for numbers can influence how well the speaker does in mathematical skills due to differences in length and composition. I had never heard this before and would love to explore this idea more (I would love suggestions!).
For the bad...The author makes a compelling argument but he makes it too softly. If he wants to go to war against the notion of the self-made man he should use more direct language when doing so. For most of the book I felt like he was just making the argument that in order to be successful the potential outlier has to have an opportunity - a pretty reasonable argument I would say. I had no idea just how far the author's line of thinking went until an interview after the end of the book (it changed my perception of the book and made me rethink some of the conclusions). The author also never seems to address an obvious critique of his main argument - if outliers are "just" products of their society why do some succeed and others don't? Bill Gates was not the only student at his High School with access to what the author seems to think was the best computer in the world at that time after all. So what makes Bill Gates special? The author seems to think he isn't special at all (based on the interview, not how I read the actual book), just a product of having unique opportunities, but they just didn't seem that special to this reader - how many students were in his class after all?
Good listen, interesting premise, wish the author had been more direct in his intention.
The first few chapters were very interesting. The latter part of the book seemed to cover the same or similar topic in each chapter. The stories and explanations of the relationship of culture and environment to success grew tiresome toward the end.
I wouldn't recommend this book, but I might recommend some excerpts.
The whole concept that I got from this book was that success happens by coincidence. The theme is sort of "Nobody really causes anything". It left a bad taste in my mouth overall.
It's great to hear the author narrate the book. He's got a good narration voice.
Yes it could be a movie. The movie would have to be about the author doing research about the most successful people in the world. However the ending shouldn't be so grim as "success is luck". George Cloony would probably be the lead actor.
There were definitely great parts to the book, but it suggests that a person isn't likely to succeed if he was raised a certain way, hangs out in a certain crowd, or isn't born into the right family at the right time. This implies that all people are effect of their environment and doesn't take into consideration the people who choose to be successful and make it.
It's not a novel so don't expect the highs and lows of your typical novels.
However do expect to learn what schools and the media don't tell you about why someone is a Sucess.
Gladwell gives the reader the truth about opportunity and being born into a certain situation or time. No sugar coating just the raw truth.
Malcolm Gladwell does an exceptional job of delivering this book.
The author does a terrific job a challenging the traditional thinking that some people are successful ONLY because of hard work/determination. The section about education and why some cultures and countries perform at higher levels is very insightful.
This book will, at times, make you think that success is all about timing and has less to do with personal behavior. But continue listening and you will find out, through a variety of stories, that success does depend on timing, but also on the hard work needed to to take advantage of that timing. It is also an enlightening on the subject of education and why culture plays a large part in the success (or failure) of students across the globe. I walked away from this book looking at many aspects of my life and career differently. I no longer just label someone or an organization as an Outlier, but now look for the reasons why.
A lot of the research Gladwell did was interesting and there are things to be learned from it. But the conclusions he comes to make huge assumptions and ignore the facts that don't fit his views. It was a very frustrating listen, like arguing with someone making terrible points but not being able to respond.
If 90% of Canadian hockey players are born in Jan-May, isn't that remaining 10% an outlier? Didn't they have to overcome enormous odds and could there be a triumphant success story there? He claims that's what the book was intended to be about but instead that 10% is dismissed as an anomaly. And the accomplishments of the 90% are diminished because they were at the right place at the right time.
We're all at the right place at the right time for SOMETHING. Seize your opportunity. Be the outlier.
A terrific combination of storytelling and research. Gladwell explains how to level the playing field through individual opportunity. Being given a chance and then working hard at that chance, is what everyone needs to improve their social standing. Luck and timing are the primary ingredients required to create outliers.