Outliers

Outlier

This book, by Malcolm Gladwell-the author of the Tipping Point and Blink, is an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”-the best and the most successful ones.

The book draws our attention this question: what makes high-achievers different?

The book is all about luck, but not in the way that we interpret. According to this book there are demographic luck (accumulation of advantages, like where and when we were born, how we lived and the our growing up circumstances as well as legacy, the traditions and attributes we inherit from ancestors) and opportunistic luck.

Much of the content revolves around people being successful because they are driven, but more importantly they were lucky enough to be placed in an environment to nurture that drive.

Along the way he mentions examples like hockey players, software billionaires, music bands,.. to prove his points. While most biographies of these people focus on their individual qualities – their intelligence, their determination, the author presents a deeper analysis, emphasizing the range of opportunities each had.

He asserts demographic luck influences to a large extend what we become as adults in the word and that we pay a lot of much attention to what successful people are like, but we don’t consider where they are from which is their experience of upbringing, their family, culture,…

Gladwell’s topics are provocative, his books are easily read and as a non fiction author, he is a master at story telling . Overall it has Interesting anecdotes, However some argue what are we to do with this analysis? What should a person with mediocre background take away from this book? I agree to some extend that the prescriptive component is not there. However I personally give credit to anyone who challenges the myth of success. Let us not forget that Gladwell refers to his books as “conversation starter”.

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