Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.
©2008 Malcom Gladwell; (P)2008 Hachette Audio
This book makes me think of the proverb "The bread not to the wise, the race not to the swift, and the battle not to the warrior for time and chance over take us all."
Just sheer dumb luck changes everything.
Life is unfair. Yes, different opportunities face all of us. However, and this is what the book seems to ignore, it is up to the individual to recognize and act. So, I don't believe it is the opportunity that make an outlier, it is the recognition of the opportunities, vision, desire, determination and action that produced the likes of Bill Gates. Keep in mind Bill Gates went to middle school with 300 other kids who all had the same access to the computer. So didn't all 300 have the same opportunity?
What an interesting read, overloaded with tons of fabulous connections and hypotheses about how and why the successful seem to go so far so fast.
I don't know what I could say that hasn't already been said by the other reviewers, but at least now I know, at least partially, why I am not already rich and famous!
I appreciate the way Gladwell looks at the world as demonstrated his previous books I have read (The Tipping Point and Blink). Outliers was not a disappointment in helping me tip my head a little, blink a few times, and look at the world differently.
Gladwell presents many successful people--common names and those not so well known--who reached the highest levels in their profession. Not taking anything away of the effort each put in to earn their places in history, Gladwell suggests their success had more do to opportunities outside their control than own only their skills, grit, and determination--those each are contributing factors.
He begins by suggesting that all things being equal, it is date of birth that determines greatness in Canadian hockey players rather than skill. Gladwell demonstrates the same is true for the great wealth builders of the 19th century, the most successful New York City attorneys of the 20th century, and the kings/queens of Silicon Valley.
This is the book that got many talking about the 10,000-hour rule. The rule says that it takes at least 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. Gladwell uses several examples of great success who were able to gain the 10,000 early enough through serendipitous opportunities that they are now legendary masters of their fields. Among his examples are The Beetles. When they were just getting started, through luck they played 8-hours a day, 7 days a week, for upwards of 90 days in Hamburg, Germany to put in their 10,000 hours. This prepared them when America was ready for the British invasion. He suggests that they were no better or worse than any other band from Liverpool but when their preparedness met the opportunities they were ready for their lucky break.
My take-away from Outliers:
-- find my passion and put in my 10,000 hours as quickly as I can
-- God had me born when I was and how I am for a specific reason
-- look for the opportunities afforded to me and capitalize on them
Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.
Another great book by Malclm Gladwell. Everything he writes is great.
This one is perhaps less polite or less politically correct than most. It is likely to offend some, and get him in some trouble. It talks about the role of the culture of success. It argues for the supremacy of the work ethic, and the value of winning environments, and importance of luck, and cautions against overvaluing raw talent.
It is a great book for young people to read.
It could also be taken as a rationalization of affirmative action.
I found this book completely engaging. It helps to understand why some can rise to highest level of success. It has lot more to due with unusual early circumstances than more than just hard work. What month you are born, what year you were born in and early exposure to coaching or technology created many of the giant outliers of today. Takes some randomness of luck out of many of these individuals personal stories, or at least identifies the underlying events that help create the lucky circumstances for these select individuals. All the outliers are great hard working people who maximized their early advantanges to reach to top of their fields. Great insight!
Theories were always backed by a lot of research, which was thoroughly explained, but did not come across as "science" or boring. The narration was done very well, and I could listen to Malcolm all day.
Because Malcolm was narrating his own work, he knew the best places to put inflection and where to pause.
No, but not for the reasons you'd expect. I can't sit that long.
"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
"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.
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.
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!
"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...
"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.
"Very interesting and excellently told"
I enjoyed the book and the way the story is told! I thoroughly recommend it!
"Interesting and well narrated."
That's a stupid question.
No but it is inspiring.
A fascinating book that makes the case that success and genius is 99% hard work.
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