Outlier: (n) 1) something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body 2) a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample
It’s an age old question – what makes successful people successful? I mean, REALLY successful. Top of the game successful. Bill Gates successful. Is it hard work and smarts? Or is there something more than that? What factors go into making someone an outlier?
Again, another short introduction to the book for a couple of reasons. First, if I just tell you what Malcolm Gladwell says, then you won’t have any reason to read the book and second, it’s a short book on one subject and that’s all there really is to say.
For the record, I’ve been wanting to read this book for awhile. I read Blink back when it came out and thought that it was pretty impressive for pointing out things that we probably already know. So I guess I wanted to see what I should have already known about success. Gladwell is great at pointing out things that make complete sense. I mean, nobody really thinks that “self made men” really did it all on their own, and in this book he shows us some of the underlying reasons that people may be successful.
This isn’t a blueprint to success… not unless you have a time machine or something. But I do think that those of you with kids should read it, especially if they are young. And I think there is a lesson for us old people to take from it as well. Which I won’t tell you. Because I didn’t write the book, Gladwell did.
At times the book seems a bit repetitive. He writes very conversationally and sometimes it sort of feels like you’ve heard the story before. It’s a good point to make, though, that you haven’t – it’s just that once he pulls back the curtain you’ve lost that sense of “OH!”. Still, you sort of get the feeling that the book could have been a bit shorter, or he could have done something more with the subject.
While I liked Blink more, this was a good one. I hear The Tipping Point is also good, maybe I’ll see if I can find it used somewhere. Oh, and Roz, you can borrow this one first. 🙂
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, 299 pages (and yes, I actually did read all the notes :P)