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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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  •  
    S Prabhu Boston, USA 12-27-08
    S Prabhu Boston, USA 12-27-08 Listener Since 2008

    neurorad

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent book; well adapted for the audio format"

    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!

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KHarrang 11-21-08
    KHarrang 11-21-08
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    "Captivating (if not an outlier)"

    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.

    57 of 60 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Reichel SA TX 05-28-09
    J. Reichel SA TX 05-28-09 Member Since 2002

    all about the tunes

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    "PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!"

    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.

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Nasu, Japan 12-13-08
    Scott Nasu, Japan 12-13-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Engaging, but overrated"

    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.


    66 of 74 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Utah 04-12-12
    Amazon Customer Utah 04-12-12 Member Since 2009

    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 6 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 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 02-28-09
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 02-28-09 Member Since 2005
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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.

    6 of 6 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 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Emmett, ID, United States 03-28-09
    Kathy Emmett, ID, United States 03-28-09
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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 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Dublin, CA, United States 05-12-09
    Margaret Dublin, CA, United States 05-12-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Very good parenting book"

    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.

    10 of 11 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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • judith
    canary wharf, United Kingdom
    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).

    8 of 9 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

    2 of 2 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.

    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
  • 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.

    3 of 4 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...

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Aaseem
    Ickenham, United Kingdom
    6/29/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Success through hard work"
    Where does Outliers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Story telling and examples.


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

    This is much better than Tipping point


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    DUNDEE, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hidde
    Amstelveen, Netherlands
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "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?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 20 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

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