As I was waiting for my flight yesterday, I remembered the two things I forgot – my sport jacket and one of the books in my to be read pile.
Luckily, the store by my gate had a reasonable book selection and Outliers: The Story to Success, by Malcolm Gladwell, was there. I’ve been a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell – both in his New Yorker articles and his books. On Gladwell, Fast Company writes:
No one in recent memory has slipped into the role of business thought leader as gracefully or influentially as Gladwell. Soon after his first book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Little, Brown, 2000), fell into America’s palms, Gladwell made the leap from generalist staff writer at The New Yorker to marketing god.
Outliers isn’t about marketing, though. It’s about success. Malcolm Gladwell is an amazing story writer – and he shares some incredible, unique, stories of some abnormalities in the histories of those who succeed. The book points to situations where conditions simply lined up perfectly for success, questions the luck involved, and supports hard work – specifically – many (10,000) hours can lead most people to expertise.
Some of the unique stories… why are professional hockey players overwhelmingly born in the first months of the year? Why are Asians great at math? How does IQ relate to success? Why are Southerners quick to fight? How did ethnicity play such a huge role in the high number of Korean airline crashes years ago? How are modern schooling methods changing our childrens’ chances of success?
The moral of the book is a great one. We can influence people’s success by changing the environment where they live, work and play. Gladwell provides his own family as a great example… speaking to the sacrifices that individuals in his family’s life helped and forever changed the future and the success of Gladwell himself.
I love books that challenge logic and the status quo. This is definitely my favorite Gladwell piece. I demolished this book and now I need to find something to read on the way home!