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.
It’s very interesting. I like it.45
This was a very interesting audiobook. Gladwell looks at success through a different lens. He examines success not just by hard work but by timing. Gladwell explains the 10,000 hour rule - it takes 10,000 hours of intense practice to become an expert at something. But success is also a product of timing. The majority of professional hockey players are born at the beginning months of the year coinciding with the youth league age cutoff. Wealthiest men of the Industrial Age are born within 10 years. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, & Bill Joi born within months of each other. Gladwell also examines how culture plays a part of success too. However, I felt that Chapter 7 on plane crashes which examines cultural reasons for communication breakdowns during flight emergencies didn’t really fit into this book about “success.” After reading Gladwell’s book Talking to Strangers, this book was a bit of a disappointment. Overall it’s a good book but not at the same caliber as Talking to Strangers.35
The debate of Nature versus Nurture is an old one. Hero culture, that idea of individual exceptionalism willed from “boot strap” beginnings, prevails heavily in the US. What this vision lacks is the detailed history and nuanced perspective on all of the circumstances that set up success in spite of all other factors. Malcolm Gladwell does another masterful job of diving into the complexities of social psychology; employing his usual story telling narrative style, along with data, and engaging anecdotes. Specifically, this book navigates through relatedness and definitions of IQ, EQ, and SQ. It builds from those foundations to ask how the odd formula of balancing those three along with “lucky” breaks help us see the true story behind success and failure. My individual perspective leads me to believe that who we are comes down to 1 part nature (IQ) plus 2 parts nurture (environment [EQ + SQ]). The bigger take away is that we have to really look at, what Gladwell calls the Cultural Heredity, of various scenarios to get to the root circumstances that filter people into successful, average, and failing buckets. Then ask ourselves, is the system itself producing outliers by way of some unseen flaw or is the playing field level and we are really seeing the cream of the crop?55
I love this book, I will forever see the world differently because of it!55
Reading this book gave me anxieties about my future. Don’t read.15
This guy is slowly becoming my favorite author. Was introduced to him via the podcast “Revisionist History”. This one follows his usual track record of great material backed by good research. I heard the audio book. So great to hear it from the man himself.55
The thesis of “Outliers” is that we are all largely a product of our environments, and that the greatest among us benefit from being part of the right environments in addition to having certain innate talent as a prerequisite. Gladwell’s arguments are informative and salient, but if you’re approaching the book for advice, I don’t think there’s a lot of actionable information.45
Great quick read. Enjoyed how the author correlated different pieces in the story and brought it all together so well. I’m a believer.55
DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME. This book made me want to rip my eyes out so that I wouldn’t have to read it. While some parts were interesting, the rest of the book made me feel either very angry or discouraged. It basically says that a lot of lucky things have to fall into place or else you will be a failure. As I read this horrible book, all I could compare it to were the reading sections of a standardized English test but an ENTIRE BOOK. I should sue Malcom for the lost time and happiness in my life.15