Life is unfair. Yes, different opportunities face all of us. However, and this is what the book seems to ignore, it is up to the individual to recognize and act. So, I don't believe it is the opportunity that make an outlier, it is the recognition of the opportunities, vision, desire, determination and action that produced the likes of Bill Gates. Keep in mind Bill Gates went to middle school with 300 other kids who all had the same access to the computer. So didn't all 300 have the same opportunity?
Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" attempts to shatter the American Dream, portraying it as a convenient myth that anybody in America, through hard work and brains, can enjoy a successful career and perhaps a life well outside the normal bell-curve. It is opportunity of circumstance that first sets the stage so hard work can really pay off: Without it, your swimming upstream or in the wrong river altogether.
I tend to believe the premise of "Outliers", but was somewhat disappointed in the depth of the book. The book's premise is so provocative, it requires more proof than what Gladwell has given us. The book gives detailed accounts of traditional American icons like Gates & Rockefeller to show us how to see where their fates were forged rather than self-created.
If you love to have your assumptions shaken like I do, this book will deliver. At the same time the book may either depress you that you have missed opportunities in the past, but should open your eyes to the serendipity of the future.
Still 5 stars.
This book is very interesting with good stories throughout. It is marginally useful as to practical information for most people. I still would recommend it and have rated it as a 5. I am going to listen to it more than once.
I appreciate the way Gladwell looks at the world as demonstrated his previous books I have read (The Tipping Point and Blink). Outliers was not a disappointment in helping me tip my head a little, blink a few times, and look at the world differently.
Gladwell presents many successful people--common names and those not so well known--who reached the highest levels in their profession. Not taking anything away of the effort each put in to earn their places in history, Gladwell suggests their success had more do to opportunities outside their control than own only their skills, grit, and determination--those each are contributing factors.
He begins by suggesting that all things being equal, it is date of birth that determines greatness in Canadian hockey players rather than skill. Gladwell demonstrates the same is true for the great wealth builders of the 19th century, the most successful New York City attorneys of the 20th century, and the kings/queens of Silicon Valley.
This is the book that got many talking about the 10,000-hour rule. The rule says that it takes at least 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. Gladwell uses several examples of great success who were able to gain the 10,000 early enough through serendipitous opportunities that they are now legendary masters of their fields. Among his examples are The Beetles. When they were just getting started, through luck they played 8-hours a day, 7 days a week, for upwards of 90 days in Hamburg, Germany to put in their 10,000 hours. This prepared them when America was ready for the British invasion. He suggests that they were no better or worse than any other band from Liverpool but when their preparedness met the opportunities they were ready for their lucky break.
My take-away from Outliers:
-- find my passion and put in my 10,000 hours as quickly as I can
-- God had me born when I was and how I am for a specific reason
-- look for the opportunities afforded to me and capitalize on them
I was amazed and surprised at what I learned about what makes people successful. And it’s entertaining. I wish I had read this years ago when my children were toddlers. I might have changed some things in how I raised them, not a lot of things, but some decisions might have been different. For example, I might have had them do more academic work in the summers, and felt less guilty about it. But aside from parenting, wow, this is fascinating stuff.
The author is a good story teller. He takes an occurrence and analyzes and explains it in an insightful and entertaining way. Most of what he said made sense to me, and I believed him. But I wonder if other experts would have different views. I wonder if there are studies and statistics out there that might say yes this is true in these cases, but it doesn’t apply in all cases. I would have liked seeing arguments on both sides of some of the issues, for example affirmative action at the University of Michigan Law school. He made a statement but he didn’t provide much support for it. On the other hand, too many statistics and opposing views might have made this too dry, less entertaining.
It’s a short book.
Some of the content:
It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become successful at something. It’s not being a genius, it’s practice.
Luck is huge element toward success: when one is born, the influence of parents, and one’s culture.
The best hockey players are born Jan to March. Geniuses born to poor parents do not do well because their parents don’t show them how to present themselves to the world and how to interact with others. In other words, geniuses need some “emotional IQ” to succeed, but the author doesn’t use that term. S. Korean airlines had more crashes than any other airline because of culture. Copilots were afraid to tell pilots about dangerous plane conditions, because it might sound disrespectful.
NARRATOR: The author narrated this book. His manner and voice were good.
GENRE: psychology and sociology nonfiction.
Keep Growing Yourself!
Whos GOT NEXT? this book if applied in your own life will take your personal or business life to the next level if you would but apply the principles in this book.
There’s way to many examples of people who’ve already had Success! No more Excuse’s
Really enjoyed! Well written - The author has done an excellent job in sharing his perspective on how the rich got richer and the famous became more famous... being in the right place at the right time..... Malcolm has a wonderful voice that fits the story perfectly. The last half addresses the importance of communications and the problems and conflicts we get into due to our socialism, heritages and ethnicity. Can't wait to read his other books!