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.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell shows the intriguing correlation between culture (many generations back), opportunity, and chance and the achievement of successful people. The author discusses Scottish herdsmen from the borderlands and the legacy that leaves with the (often mistakenly derided) honor among Southerners. He discusses generations of hard work by Chinese rice farmers and how that, plus basic constructs of their language, profoundly impact the math abilities of Asians today. As an individual, I appreciate more my (Scottish/Irish) tenant farmer heritage and the role that the ethos of hard work played in my own personal success. I also see how my early math geek experiences (mental math competitions) gave me an advantage in engineering school.
The second time I read this book, it was as a single parent. My oldest child was assigned this as summer reading for his high school English class. The author could have used the book, as I will, as a way to guide children through some reflection on their heritage and motivation to determine their own destiny, especially through hard work (the variable that they can control). Instead, the last chapter and epilogue threw water on the embers of hope. He displays a contemptuous view of individualism, personal responsibility, and self-reliance. Now my job as parent as doubled: inspire my kids work hard and double their efforts to watch out for subtle poison assigned by their teachers that says "it takes a village."
Kids: Success is not outside of your control You really can be anything that you want to be. Just work hard.
A must read for anyone wondering what sets the "lucky" apart. You learn why, and how people have become more "successful" than yourself, and discover ways to close the gap and create outliers yourself.
Gladwell is a great storyteller, and Outliers is both provocative and personal. If the book was read by anyone but the author (given its personal nature), it would have been less impactful.
Well argued. I related given my rural black South African upbringing. Have seen over and over how environment shaped the citizens.
Good reader. Make it more nicer that it was the writer.
Simple way of explaining concepts.
I love listening to Malcolm Gladwell books for the same reasons most people do. At the risk of sounding picky or blind to the fact that this is a great book, I don't think it's Gladwell's best. The Tipping Point and David & Goliath both had an amazing stickiness for me, where it's been a over week since finishing this and haven't been thinking about it as much. I STILL think about The Tipping Point all the time.
I especially like that there's an interview with Malcolm Gladwell at the end that gave me a whole new appreciation for some of the chapters. I'll always choose a Malcolm Gladwell book.
Many of the things that were in this book, I never considered and even if I had linked them, I would have thought they were coincidences. This book is an eye opener. I definitely recommend it.