Outliers - The Story Of Success

12 Aug 2011

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Book: Outliers: The Story Of Success
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
ISBN-13: 978-0141036243

I knew Malcolm Gladwell in his earlier book “Blink”. This guy always thinks out of the box and gives a new perspective on the well-known things. He always amazes me. In his new book Outliers, he gives us a different perspective on Why successful people are successful?. The general notion is that the successful people became so, because of who they are. But, Gladwell tells us that it’s more because of where they are from?. Sounds confusing?. For me too, when I started. Not anymore :)

He starts off with the analysis of the hockey players in Canadian teams. One interesting fact is that most of the best players in the team are born in the first three months (Jan, Feb, Mar). He concludes that it’s because of the selection procedure followed in Canada and the additional playing time these kids get in their early years. This is definitely a different insight and he suggests the alternate means as well.

He analyzes the life history of most successful software people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Bill Joy, the most successful entrepreneurs like Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, the most successful lawyers like Joe Flom, the most successful music troops like Beatles, the most successful immigrants like Louis and Regina Borgenicht etc and figures out the components that made them the Outliers. Some of them are…

The Time of their birth (right time)
The Opportunities they got (right place)
The Hard work they put in (10,000 hrs rule - right attitude)

He concludes that these Outliers were present at the right time in the right place with the right attitude and become successful. He takes the examples of few other intellectual people who, unfortunately, happen to be at the wrong time and not be able to become a success icon. Interesting, but I could not buy into this idea 100%.

I thought about the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne when I read Gladwell’s conclusion. Gladwell says that Outliers are successful, because of the opportunities they got. But, Rhonda Byrne says that you will create opportunities when you are determined in what you want to achieve, according to the “Law Of Attraction”. Gladwell explains why things are the way they are. Rhonda Byrne tells us how to create things.

Do you see some correlation?. I do. I would suggest you read the book “The Secret” after reading this book.

In further chapters, he discusses the “Culture of Honor”, why plane crashes happens and its relation to the culture they belong to, rice paddy fields and its relations to maths skills etc.

Very interesting !…

Overall, a very good book. But I cannot agree with everything that he says. It’s worth reading :)

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