Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.
©2008 Malcom Gladwell; (P)2008 Hachette Audio
Unusual take on a topic that is taken for granted. The author's voice enhances the message-highly recommended audiobook-perhaps my best book of the year!
all about the tunes
This book is a must read for every educator, administrator, politician, or parent.
In "Outliers", Malcolm Gladwell writes a compelling book that everyone in anyway connected to the education of our children needs to read.
For too long, education has been stagnant; floundering in a system that continues to cling to outdated policies and practices. Through out this book, Gladwell provides solid reasons for restructuring while pointing out concrete changes that if made could provide higher levels of success for many more student than the current system provides.
It is NOT about haves or have nots. We all have, but we are not all given the opportunities needed to succeed. Our education system has got to change.
Regardless of what you ultimately think of the author's analysis, Gladwell is a masterful storyteller, weaving together interesting anecdotes from such diverse sources as plane crash research to hillbilly feuds to standardized math tests. That Gladwell narrates the audio book himself adds greatly to the listening experience. Critics will complain that his thesis is obvious (that opportunity, cultural inheritence and hard work play key roles in success), or that his examples are selective and ignore in turn outliers that don't illustrate his points -- or, somewhat inconsistently, both. But Gladwell's books are successful because he examines phenomena and topics of importance in an accessible and entertaining way. No one should mistake Malcolm Gladwell for a big thinker like, say, Stephen J. Gould, but Gladwell would be the first one to tell you that he's no outlier. Don't accept everything the author says as truth revealed, but do listen to this book -- it's one of the best non-fiction offerings available through Audible.
Gladwell is a fine writer and this book, in the same style as Blink, explores the real factors that contribute to the success of those we think are so above and beyond us (Bill Gates, the Beatles, etc.). Gladwell makes it clear that their talent, drive, energy, and intelligence WERE key to their success but that these, alone, would not have done it for them. They needed unusual opportunities. In fact, the opportunities given them that were not given others were as important to their achievements as their personal qualities. This book helps reduce the "superstars" down to human level. If you had been given the opportunities these were, you might have achieved what they did or more!
This is a very good book in the same way Freaknomics was a very good economics book. It goes beyond the myths of how to become successful. If you have young kids, it is also a very good parenting book, on what you should be aware of to give your kids the best chance to succeed.
A great listen. It takes you on a journey of understanding into the stories behind how many well known people succeeded. Very interesting and sure to provide some enlightening conversations about the stories. Covers things from air crashes to ice hockey and maths in between. Highly recommend.
I loved this book! There is a reason I'm not a terrific ice hockey player (other than I can barely stand up on skates). I was born in the wrong month. Who knew? I was hooked from the first sentence to the last. It is very reassuring to know that people who have changed the world we live in are maybe not that different from any of us, but were instead at the right place at the right time. This book will make us all want to go out and change our educational system, look at what country the pilot of our plane grew up in and marvel that our Scottish ancestors took time out from their violent inclinations to have kids. Malcolm Gladwell has a gift for taking on topics that I have not found that interesting and turning them into mind twisters that delight. If he will now explain our economy we would all be better of for it!
Outliers has many interesting statistical anecdotes sprinkled throughout, to be sure. My interest was held. But at its core, the book's central theme is simply "successful people are aided in their success by their families, culture, education and other chance factors. They could not have done it alone." This is not exactly a particularly profound revelation. Gladwell repeatedly asserts that most people think Bill Gates-type successes are simply due to that person's raw talent and little else. But is that really the case? Does anybody really think Bill Gates could have achieved what he did had he been born in Botswana, for example? What's more, while crediting these outside factors with making these "outliers" possible, he fails to note that in almost every case, hundreds if not thousands or even more other people had virtually identical birth situations, yet failed to achieve greatness. Gladwell's goal seems to be an attempt to take the shine off of society's great success stories by, in effect, claiming they just got lucky. But I think the formula for producing an outlier is more complex than that. Too often in this book, Gladwell seems to be profoundly stating the obvious.
Gladwell's narration of his own work is generally skillful and an easy listen.
Gladwell sets out to explain how the top people in any field were able to get there. The explanations can be very surprising. I was very engaged throughout the whole book. He talked a lot about education, and having been a public school teacher for the last 27 years, I found it absorbing, hopeful, and found myself wishing that I had known some of these things 27 years ago.
Gladwell narrates his own book, which sometimes turns out well, and sometimes not so much. Although obviously not a professional, he has a pleasing way of reading. I wouldn't be choosing a book on account of him reading it however. Still, it was very "listenable" and I enjoyed it very much.
The content was entertaining and fascinating. A lot of "oh wow" moments. What was really good was Malcolm's read. He is an excellent reader--right on point with his inflection and cadence. I thought it had to be a professional reader.
"Riveting - enjoyed it much more than the paperback"
Malcolm Gladwell is a terrific writer; he's also an experienced and effective presenter. So when he's reading his own material it's a compelling package and I was totally hooked.
He's dug up some fascinating statistics to back up his overall hypothesis: when someone is exceptional at something it's not just a case of luck or hard work.
IT millionaires all born in the same 3-year period; high performers who all put in more than 10,000 hours of practice; entrepreneurs whose experience of being immigrants influenced who they knew and what they did - and many more fascinating examples.
I'll definitely be listening to this again.
"Just so stories"
Mr Gladwell has a nice voice and is a natural storyteller, but unfortunately he cannot think straight for an extended period (such as a book). He contradicts himself: at one point, to succeed you need the 'right', well connected, parents (high IQ elementary kids) at another point the key to success (for New York lawyers in the 1970s) is to be born on the wrong side of the tracks (jewish immigrant). He has extraordinarily low standards of 'proof': having demonstrated that certain successes (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates etc.) got lucky breaks, he then breezily states, 'Now we have shown that circumstances are actually more important than raw talent'. I find this very irritating. The main thesis seems to be 'you need luck as well as talent'. Duh?? Is that a thesis or a statement of the bloody obvious? The three stars is because, despite all this, Outliers is quite listenable. It is so low powered and well read that you never need to hit the repeat button, which is handy if your hands are muddy (as mine usually are when I'm audioing).
"I never thought about it that way..."
As a teacher I have spent years praising kids for being smart, then, however,they rely on that to wing the exams. now I praise them for the amount of hard work they do to achieve their goals and they do better.
Inspiring book, well read, and it has application outside its covers.
Mark from Enfield
I am really pleased I read this book. My mindset is changing & my vision has no limits.
Thanks to Sam Adeyemi (I hope to meet one day soon) for recommending this book.
A GOOD READ!
Fascinating book with lovely insights into the development of so-called Outliers. Well read by the author. If the subject matter piques your interest, it is worth the time listening.
"Success through hard work"
The book is worth listening to even though its conclusions are obvious to those who understand (or try to understand) human psychology. But the book has plenty of surprises to keep you entertained. I learnt alot about myself as well as others around me.
Story telling and examples.
This is much better than Tipping point
"Great narration and interesting subjsect"
I have listened to or read a number of books which cover similar topics and found this to be an excellent listen. This was the first time I listened to anything from Malcolm Gladwell and I found it a very easy listen and an interesting subject. I particularly like audio books which are narrated by the author of the books as they are able to emphasis the parts which they intended.
"Very interesting read"
Some Non-Fiction books which include research can be somewhat boring, I need to make sure I don't loose attention with these books, but not with this one (at least not until the last chapter). There's a lot of storytelling in this book which gives new insights into what makes humans successful. I would recommend this book to anyone who's interested in becoming successful... and who isnt?
"An outlier in itself"
This is a fascinating book and in some ways an outlier in itself. I was hooked and could not turn off from listening to it (at least the Part-I of it). I think Part-II is a little bit more of the fillers and he has run out of things to say and continue with the rant (althouh occasionally you will find some useful things). But the first part is gold and I was so impressed and bought the kindle edition and gave it to my teenage son (hopefully who might have realized it is much better to be an outlier than the norm). The audio book is really nice, read at a phase thinking about the listner. Highly recommend to anybody who is interested in becoming "unusual" (given that norm today -- especially in 2013, is to become a failure -- look at the Euroland and Eurpoe in general), and would like to know what it might have taken some outliers to be successful (the forgotten norm in the not too distant past).
"Interesting, engaging and very informative"
If you've read Freakonomics, then you'll love this. Malcolm Gladwell delves deep into the reasons and circumstances around what makes some people more successful than others. The people and groups he highlights will surprise you - but more so you'll be amazed at what things had to align for them to reach that point of success. Easy to listen to, simply stated but very engaging it was hard to pause while listening on my commute to work.
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