Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.
©2008 Malcom Gladwell; (P)2008 Hachette Audio
In a culture of conformity, it doesn't take a rocket scientist or even a statistician to predict that success is predicated on an individual's environment. This is not a book about outliers. It is a statistical substitution of social determinism for true accomplishment.
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.
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.
I wouldnt buy a follow up book.
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.
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.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
In this book, Gladwell asks whether highly successful people, the elite athletes or powerful business leaders that society sees as "outliers", are really so different from the rest of us. Is their innate talent and drive so exceptional, or do they benefit from special advantages along the way? It's not the most controversial question -- we all understand the value of being in the right place at the right time -- but Gladwell goes deeper to examine how myriad factors like birthdays, cultural background, parenting style, and classroom time can be powerful determinants of success (or missing out on it). As with Gladwell's other books, Outliers is enjoyable for its case studies, which approach a familiar question with the kind of engaging narratives that a talented teacher might use to get his or her kids thinking about an issue from a fresh angle.
Taken as a whole, though, Outliers isn't a very cohesive work. Gladwell flits from topic to topic without much in-depth analysis or scientific rigor to tie them together. Sometimes his reasoning is overly simplistic (as in the "why Asians tend to be good at math" study) and he makes assumptions while showing little evidence to back them up. I get the impression he'd previously written a few articles on intriguing social phenomena (such as the hockey player birthday study or the way culture played into the Korean Airlines plane crashes of the 1990s), noticed a common theme, and cherry-picked a few more studies that he could massage into a book.
Then again, Gladwell's not an author you read for a deep, critical examination of an issue -- you read him because he challenges you in an entertaining way to think about a broad question. I consider this a worthwhile book if it gets more people to reevaluate the "self-made man" myth that still influences American politics, and to think about the powerful and complex roles that privilege and historical legacy can play in determining a person's success. If our society paid more heed to its structures of opportunity, there'd be many fewer children left behind, and many more who'd achieve their full potential as productive citizens. Even if Gladwell's own answers are a little fluffy, there's no doubt that he's getting us to think seriously about crucial questions.
I know there are some who are critical of Gladwell for glossing over facts and oversimplifying conclusions, but I have enough of a brain to be able to draw my own conclusions, some of which differ from Gladwell.
For example, Gladwell stresses the role of hard work and chance in those who find great success, but I think he underemphasizes the role of talent and natural ability. Sure, hockey players in Canada have a better shot at greatness if they're born in certain months, but you still need size, speed, skills, and even competitiveness to succeed. That fact sometimes get lost in Gladwell's analysis.
Having said that, I still very much enjoyed this book, the third I've read of Gladwell's (Blink, Tipping Point). I like his style of writing (and reading)
This book caused me to re-evaluate my perceptions of success and how it is achieved. It is a great listen for parents of young children since parents can have a major influence on many of the contributing factors of success that are mentioned in this book. Enjoyable on many levels.
After many rave reviews, I expected to enjoy the book but I didn't. I thought the point that success is factored upon opportunity and having the support of influential ppl was obvious. And you don't need a scientific research to figure that out or there is a need to proof it. However, I think he forgot that opportunities can be pursued and not brought to you and that's one major factor of successful ppl. In some cases, opportunities is a greater factor while in some cases the personal drive plays a greater role. I still feel it cannot be generalized.
The 10,000 hrs rule is another ridiculous generalization and I am not convinced by his reasoning and neither do I see any meaning in such a finding.
Sorry for the bad review... but this is just what I feel after listening.
I've seen Malcom Gladwell speak twice and read both "Tipping Point" and "Blink," which I really enjoyed but "Outliers" is his crowning work. The book is written in an organized way yet displays profound out the box thinking. Many of us like to think of our heros as truely exceptional people but Mr. Gladwell shows us in his book that many times it's taking what's been given to us, practicing, and being in the right place at the right time. I enjoyed the entire book but what most impressed me was his personal tale about himself, his mother, and grandmother and how being an Outlier has more to do with what went before us then what we actually were able to do ourselves. I liked how the book made me think about how even if I wasn't an Outlier that by me providing opportunities as a teacher or a parent that I may help a future Outlier.
This was a pretty interesting book. I don't agree with all of the reasoning, but it's an interesting theory.
The one downside to this book is that if you're looking for motivation, it might work the opposite effect.
This book is about how luck and certain circumstances make you more likely to be successful such as your birthdate, ethnicity, and religion.
If you easily see your circumstances as beyond your control, you may read this book and feel disheartened that you're not lucky or have the right circumstances to be successful.
I believe luck is part of it, but drive and ambition are also important too. You DO have the power to alter your circumstances, even if you've not been given special advantages.
"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.
"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
"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).
"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.
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.
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.
"round in circle"
Never seem to get to the real point of the book in any concise way.
Never seem to get to the real point and title of the book in any concise way.
no it would not work.. good documentary thou
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...
"A good read."
I think the main takeaway from this book would be that I'd be more inclined to look past the person and more into their background when understanding their success.
There are some generalisations in the book that I wouldn't necessarily agree with but I think the author acknowledges that in the book.
Even the most successful people are not that extraordinary. They just received the right opportunities, were born into the right circumstances and got the right amount of luck etc.
Imagine if there was a snooker table or a piano in your home. You would have a better chance of becoming good at that compared to if it wasn't in your home to begin with - right?
All of a sudden you will realise that the most successful people in the world didn't become that way just because they worked hard and were extremely talented. There's more to it than that, a lot more. The month you were born, your culture, ancestors, friends, circumstances along with hard work and determination is how they became successful. This book is incredible, Gladwell is incredible. And he'll tell you how he became incredible. Unmissable, a must read.
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