From the bestselling author of The Bomber Mafia, learn what sets high achievers apart—from Bill Gates to the Beatles—in this seminal work from "a singular talent" (New York Times Book Review).
In this stunning 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
What everyone remembers about Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. But the bestselling Canadian author also argues that it takes a run of good fortune going back generations. Gladwell also opens up about himself, exploring how his heritage as a biracial descendent of a Jamaican slave shaped his own life and studies; hearing him read the book’s deeply personal closing section is an intimate, touching experience.
Journalist Gladwell has established himself on the nonfiction bestseller lists by breaking down complex social science research into approachable concepts that can spark discussion around water coolers and cafe tables. Some of Gladwell's critics fault him for zeroing in on compelling anecdotes that may not consistently add up to empirical proof, but his flair for narrative serves him well as a reader. Gladwell builds dramatic tension into his storytelling from the unique childhood of software tycoon Bill Gates to the secrets of success found along the rice fields of ancient China and Japan making for an engaging listening experience even though the threads may not always tie together into a seamless package. The bonus author interview features some entertaining insights, including Canadian Gladwell's explanation for why so many comedy superstars hail from America's northern neighbor. A Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 22).
A few months ago, my good friend suggested that I read this book. It sat on my "to-read" bookshelf for a long while. I was dreading the thought of starting the book because I presumed it was a "self-help" or motivational book.
I was happy to learn that it was neither. In his book, Gladwell argues that there are common threads with all "outliers" and he supports his position with very well explained examples.
Because he uses his great storytelling talents to discuss his "outlier" examples, the book entertains throughout.
The book also had a few surprises for me as I was not expecting any discussion relating to patenting and education. At no point in the book does Gladwell begin to offer "advice" but he cleverly (i.e. under the radar) requires his readers to reflect on their own willingness/drive to seize opportunities and work hard.
I highly recommend this book for young persons, but not necessarily for children under 16 (especially if they are not strong readers as the material would probably not be able to keep a younger child's attention).
Another great Gladwell book
I was fascinated by Gladwell's first #1 bestseller The Tipping Point. this third book Outliers takes a look at what really makes us successful. I found it fascinating and revealing, with a great match of well researched facts along with Gladwell's great ability of storytelling.
The first part of the book focuses on research supporting it takes 10,000 hours for the human brain to get really really good at something. He demonstrates how early advantages make huge differences long term, and how we never really do it alone.
The second part of the book takes a look at how our family and societal legacies shape who we are. Gladwell demonstrates this through generational examples and different countries, and a wide range of different career types.
A fascinating look at success and how we achieve it, I found the book demonstrates that luck, upbringing, and hard work over the magic 10,000 hour rule hold true in many examples. There are hints for using his observations for readers who want to overcome their upbringing and cultural / educational backgrounds. I predict easily another #1 bestseller. I hIghly recommend this book, which may be his most important to date.
I must disagree with my fellow critics regarding this book. While "interesting" in terms an "ah ha, uh huh" way, the authors thesis is essentially that the right person, in the right place, at the right time, can spell success. Much is left up to perception but woven in a manner that appears to be sound thinking.
I continue to see praise for this author but he seems to me to be not much more than an average magazine journalist who recognizes that he has an audience with semi-liberal readers who aren't truly doing any critical thinking but BELIEVE they are.
While certainly not a bad book, I would challenge you to really think about what the author is saying and compare that thesis against your principles and experiences. I'm not saying that the author doesn't have solid data. I am however saying that beneath the data's surface lies a highly exposed underbelly!