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.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Entertaining, thought provoking, well written but has innacuracies
I liked this book. It is very entertaining and very thought provoking. Malcolm Gladwell really found some meaningful links to what makes an Outlier an Outlier. I found myself listening to certain passages over and over just to digest some of the information he has gathered.
But, and this is a big but, Mr. Gladwell gets some major assumptions wrong. First of all, his position is that "individualism" is a myth. He says, "as Canadian's" we do not buy into "the myth of individualism". Wow! That's a really big gaff. Next, he believes that most success is really luck. He also says that the difference in the Outlier and everyone else is not that the Outlier worked hard, it's that the Outlier "was given the opportunity to work hard". Put on the brakes!!! Everyone is given the opportunity to work hard. The Outlier took the INITIATIVE to work hard. This is an individual trait.
For example, he uses the Beatles as an example. Even though they played in Germany 8 hours a day / 7 days a week, how many other bands did the same thing? How many of them achieved the fame of the Beatles? What about the sheer gift of talent that McCartney and Lenon had as songwriters? Again, individual traits.
He says "all great comedians are either Jewish or Black". While MOST are Jewish or Black, this is not universal, and it really demeans both groups by assuming that this is their greatest contribution to society. If he wrote this book 45 years ago, he may have said that all of the great athletes are white. See the danger and fallacy of his assumptions?
With all of these shortcomings, I still recommend this book. Anything that causes you to think and question gets my vote. Well done Mr. Gladwell, but don't overlook many success stories that were built with hard work, sacrifice and individual accomplishments. No one forced the Beatles to practice or to take up music. Luck didn't find you with this book, you worked on it. It was your idea. You pitched it to the publisher. Don't discount your own individual efforts.
Great for parents, entrepreneurs
The most personal book that Gladwell has created also may be the best. If you are a parent (as I am) then this book is even more relevant. Gladwell gives his ideas about how culture, legacy and environment supplement hard work to directly influence success. I enjoyed the case studies he provided. I've read Blink and Tipping Point and found this to be the most enjoyable. I found the content highly compatible with Seth Godin's "The Dip"
Gladwell's insight doesn't disappoint
Once again, Gladwell has an entertaining way to provide background and analysis for current trends that we've all been observing but not fully understanding. At seven hours it's a bit long but an hour a day at the gym and you''l have it consumed within two weeks.