Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.
©2008 Malcom Gladwell; (P)2008 Hachette Audio
I always enjoy Malcolm Gladwell's work whether it be in book form or the short pieces he does for The New Yorker - but I can't help thinking that he's becoming the era's Proof By Anecdote expert. 'Outliers' is interesting but perhaps more formulaic than it ought to be.
I am afraid that at the rate Gladwell is descending into his example = proof funk his next book might be called 'Lincoln and Kennedy - Just Too Many Coincidences to Ignore'.
Semi retired small business person/ college professor/ investor.
This is a well-written book that brings up some important things to think about. Gladwell's conclusion that you need to be lucky as well smart and hardworking to be hugely successful is probably true. To get really far out on the bell curve you need for everything to go right, or wrong, depending on which side of the curve. Still it is dangerous to draw too many conclusions from extreme outliers, at least when dealing with a standard bell curve. If you are interested in what makes rich people rich read "The Millionaire Next Door", it deals with the more applicable part of the curve for most of us. Drawing conclusions from relatively few data points is always risky but Gladwell shows clearly the a small head start can get you far ahead.
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.
The outliers in this book are people who have either succeeded or failed beyond expectation. Besides intelligence, what other factors make people extremely successful? Some of the questions that are posed and answered are:
Why are most professional hockey players born Jan-
Why were 9 of the top wealthiest men of ALL time (cleopatra to present) born in the 1830's?
Why are many of the key people in computer technology born between 1953 and 1955? W
hy did some immigrant groups do better than others?
Why do asians do better in math?
These are interesting questions and interesting observations are provided. It is not clear if even the author has an overall opinion of if you can control your own destiny. He swings from chapters where when you were born is the largest factor, to other cases where simply working hard and smarts gets you ahead. Perhaps the answer is you need both to become a Bill Gates or a Rockefeller. However, he makes an excellent case of how external factors often set you up for success.
The other concept that is presented is the idea of working hard enough and long enough at something to become expert at something. Those that were wildly successful were experts at the right time in history.
The audio book is not referenced so if you want to read the studies cited for yourself, you will need to get the book.
If you have read Drunkard's Walk and Supercrunchers, this is an interesting and important addition to the factors that govern success.
I really enjoy Gladwell's articles for The New Yorker, and I've read his other two books, but in this one I found the evidence he presents for his "thesis" to be flimsy at best. It's posing as science, but awash in anecdotal evidence. I had a hard time taking it seriously after a while. I would not recommend to a friend except in excerpts.
I read a piece on Malcom Gladwell's book in fortune and decided to listen to it. I got hooked to it right away.
This is my first Malcolm Gladwell book and after listening to this one, I am going to listen to his other works as well.
I took a star off because I don't agree with Malcom Gladwell 100% although I must admit, I kept saying to myself, "hmmm interesting observation...." listening to his arguments.
There were a few success stories I can totally relate to (success story of my grandfather being one. At times Gladwell is able to convince the listener to wonder if he or she has the combination of right ingredients to be successful.
I agree with Gladwell when he argues success has little or nothing to do with having a high IQ or a low IQ. Rather, success is substantially a product of "practical intelligence" or how i like to call it is street smartness.
I enjoy sci-fi, fantasy, non-fiction, historical fiction genres. Liked Stormlight, Mistborn, GoT. Last read: Shadows of Self
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.
The data was proven false. Gladwell was the subject of a fraud investigation in Canada for the material published in this book. Even if his data was credible, his conclusions are not founded and full of logical fallacies. Book is a fraud.
His passion for his work is clear in his reading.
His obvious socialist leanings are in your face throughout the whole book. Unqualified statements, such as 'tax breaks are only for the wealthy' are abundant. The 'anti-individualism' mandate of current left-wing thinking dominates this work.
There is plenty of interesting research in this book, it is just presented in the authors very biased world view instead of a purely factual manner.
Because Gladwell's "Outliers" were born into wealthy families, or at certain times, went to the best schools or whatever, they excelled at the creation of new technologies, wealth, etc. -- was at first reading an interesting and slightly novel idea.
But by the time I was finished I was struck with the thought that maybe President Obama had just read this book before he made his now-infamous claim that "You did not build that."
Yes. He needs to explain why American freedoms created the conditions for American exceptionalism and wealth which is a key factor in the evolution of these successful people.
I suspect that Gladwell's hidden motive for writing this book is that he is likely just another socialist hack who is envious of successful people and by attributing their success primarily to luck, can detract from their accomplishments.
"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...
What I had hoped and much more. Really enjoyed this book about to listen again.
"great food for thought and very well explained!"
I found this book incredibly interesting and it really does make you you look at success in a totally different light.
Report Inappropriate Content