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Outliers: The Story of Success | [Malcolm Gladwell]

Outliers: The Story of Success

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.
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Publisher's Summary

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.

©2008 Malcom Gladwell; (P)2008 Hachette Audio

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  •  
    Chris bristol, United Kingdom 08-23-10
    Chris bristol, United Kingdom 08-23-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This book should be called 'selective evidence'"

    Whilst a lot of the ideas in this book are not Gladwell's alone, he takes responsibility for presenting them as if they were fact. Some parts are fascinating - such as the investigation of pilot errors which lead to crashes - but much of it falls woefully short of sound argument. The main points in the book are either obvious or highly questionable: intelligence alone is no trigger for success; luck is big factor in all great achievements; 10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve excellence at anything.

    The examples he provides completely ignore the possibility that timing is not just luck, but actually a inherent quality of the thought process that goes into the idea of the business in the first place. Did Bill Gates really become so successful purely because he was: a) in the right place at the right time, and b) put in 10,000 hours of programming in an age when computers were hard to come by? By drawing these conclusions he overlooks the unprovable possibility that Gates may have become successful in another area had he not been born at the right time to start Microsoft.

    Were the Beatles successful because of their 10,000 hours of practice in German nightclubs and the like before their 'breakthrough' US number one? Even if you ignore Gladwell's convenient use of their US breakthrough to mark his 10,000 hour cut-off (coming 18 months after their UK success), were they really successful because of the amount of practice they put in? Was it merely musical competence that raised them above their peers? What about inspiration, creative ideas, charisma, chemistry or pure unteachable songwriting genius? And what about the likes of Nick Drake, or Kurt Cobain, or Buddy Holly? They could not have possibly put in the 10,000 hours 'required' practice as prescribed by Gladwell. There must be hundreds or thousands more in the world of music, film, literature, or even business who do not conform to the 10,000 hour rule. Yet they are conveniently overlooked.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 02-28-09
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 02-28-09 Member Since 2015
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    "An Eye Opener"

    This book describes why some individuals seem to excell and others do not. Every chapter takes on a different group and explain what has led to their success. The analysis is so interesting particularly when the reader realizes what has been going on right before his/her eyes. The chapter on Canadian Hockey Players leaves the listener wondering "why didn't I see that?" The section on when children should start to Kindergarten is helpful as well. I subscribe to Audible to be informed about areas foreign to me. This book is one I am glad I didn't miss. The reading is great, the audio clear, the content easy to follow.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sher from Provo Utah 04-12-12
    Sher from Provo Utah 04-12-12 Member Since 2015

    tired teacher

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    "Very Interesting!"

    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.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    03-07-09
    03-07-09 Member Since 2002
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    "Great audio book"

    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.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Emmett, ID, United States 03-28-09
    Kathy Emmett, ID, United States 03-28-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Why Wasn't I Born in January?"

    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!

    16 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Pawleys Island, SC, USA 03-08-09
    Michael Pawleys Island, SC, USA 03-08-09
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    "Excellent!"

    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!

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 05-19-09
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 05-19-09 Member Since 2015

    I Like scifi-fantasy,non-fiction, historical fiction genres. Liked Stormlight, Mistborn,GoT. Last read: Well of Ascension

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A new perspective to success"

    This book talks about successful people and how everything around them helped them get there. There were a few chapters that were stretched just to make a point. Certain chapters like the first one where the author keeps on talking about hockey players born in January was very slow and boring. but the latter ones with software entrepreneurs was very interesting. Malcolm Gladwell doesn't say anything new here except for the fact that every individual needs to work hard and practice makes perfect. The only difference here is the amount of research the author has gathered is remarkable and many of his facts and researches prove a point. The epilogue chapter was completely unrequired. I gave a 4 rating beacuse of those certain unrequired chapters. Great research and a good book to read once.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Felix Tamarac, FL, United States 04-11-12
    Felix Tamarac, FL, United States 04-11-12
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    "Too many examples, not enough ideas..."
    Would you try another book from Malcolm Gladwell and/or Malcolm Gladwell?

    I am rating this book at 3 stars because there are too many examples and statistics terms used by the author; however, the main ideas are simple and were very well presented on a book summary I read online at no cost. Though I enjoyed listening to the book, I feel reading the book summary would have been enough.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The relation between the facts as presented by the author are certainly interesting parts of the book. The least interesting is where the author gets caught up on statistical data and tries to reinforce a point with too many examples.


    What does Malcolm Gladwell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Not sure.


    Do you think Outliers needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I wouldnt buy a follow up book.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lmmb. 03-19-12
    Lmmb. 03-19-12 Member Since 2009
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    "The Story of Success? Really?"
    What disappointed you about Outliers?

    Outliers is nothing but pop culture bunk. To call it ???science??? goes beyond the pale. The only time Gladwell isn???t making epic jumps of logic are the times he is pompously stating the obvious.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Pittsburgh, PA, United States 11-28-11
    Andrew Pittsburgh, PA, United States 11-28-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Not as revelatory as you'd think"

    It takes lots of actual practice to master something. It also takes opportunities that are not in our control. So basically, Gladwell is trying to prove Calvinism (hard work + predestination). Pinpointing the web of circumstances that leads to success is something that we obsess over as a culture and Gladwell provides a very interesting analysis of how this works. But I do not feel like I heard any revelations here that I did not learn from my father when he encouraged me to get internships as an undergraduate.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Dawn
    Worcester Park, United Kingdom
    5/20/10
    Overall
    "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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Judy Corstjens
    8/4/12
    Overall
    "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).

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Enfield, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "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

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Walter Rothon
    London , United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    GlasgowUnited Kingdom
    11/3/09
    Overall
    "Great listen"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Darren - UK
    4/15/15
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    Performance
    Story
    "Essential reading."

    A fascinating and thought-provoking book, with some excellent insights into human nature, and what goes into making great people great.

    The narrator and the quality of the recording were very good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • ReadingFan
    Swinford , Eire
    4/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting and engaging."
    Where does Outliers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Its right up there in top 10


    What other book might you compare Outliers to, and why?

    This is my first book related to the nature vs nurture debate and therefore I have no recommendations to make.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The interview with the Author was particularly interesting


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not really.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. O. Fatona
    Kent ,UK
    11/3/12
    Overall
    "Fantastic!"

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alexander
    Great Dunham, United Kingdom
    2/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "round in circle"
    What did you like best about Outliers? What did you like least?

    Never seem to get to the real point of the book in any concise way.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Never seem to get to the real point and title of the book in any concise way.


    Have you listened to any of Malcolm Gladwell’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    no


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    no it would not work.. good documentary thou


    Any additional comments?

    seem like self centred philosophy for his life rather than a completely thought through work. Some very interesting sections about how chance plays so much of a role in life, and why some people do better in certain fields, but can't real say that as well rounded Englishman I feel any way enlightened by this book. If I lived in a bubble, may be...

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Chad
    Warrington, Cheshire, United Kingdom
    9/3/09
    Overall
    "Almost right on the money"

    So far the best Audiobook I have read. As an entreprenuer myself, I was interested to hear this take on success. Very interesting but doesn't recognise that successful people "don't let opportunities pass" and that this is just as important as his other points. Read it though, it is good.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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