Outliers - The Story of Success

 

Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Publisher: Little, Browne and Company

Edition: 2008
ISBN: 978-0-316-03669-6

This is a book about outliers – according to Gladwell “men and women who do things out of the ordinary.” Gladwell challenges the normal explanations of success. He claims that individuals are beneficiaries of hidden advantages, opportunities and cultural legacies related to where and when they grew up.

In Part One, “Opportunity”, to support this thesis he examines the underlying reasons why the majority of ice hockey players are born in the first few months of the calendar year. He also explores the rule of 10,000 hours based on Daniel Leviton‟s research that “10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve mastery as a world-class expert”. Based on this principle he explains why the Beatles became world class and how Bill Gates achieved his extreme wealth. He also describes how two people with exceptional intelligence ended up with vastly different fortunes.

In Part Two, he examines how legacy can impact success, especially the traditions and attitude we inherit from our forbearers. In particular, he illustrates this by examining the ethnic theory of plane crashes and showed how Korean air crashes were caused by cultural legacies. He also shows the truth of the statement, “No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich.”

He concludes the book with the story of his mother‟s origin in Jamaica and the impact that had on her life. This is a fascinating book and highly recommended.