Posts Tagged ‘outliers’

Book Review Tuesday: Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
Outliers image

I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.  The basic premise is that a series of fortuitous circumstances rather than amazing talent enabled the Beatles, Bill Gates, hockey stars, and others to reach high levels of success.  Gladwell believes that high levels of excellence require at least 10,000 hours of practice.  So far, so good.  Then Gladwell explained that unique opportunities were the reason those hours were available to the successful.  The case studies made very interesting reading, but didn’t help the kids at home who weren’t born in a certain month!

Ready, Set…

Aside from the 10,000 hour rule, I was disappointed by the lack of actionable points in Outliers.  I believe the subtitle should have been A Story of Success or Parts of Stories of Success rather than The Story of Success.  Gladwell seems to attribute the source of success largely to luck.  Kind of a downer to those of us not terribly lucky yet no less desirous of our own level of success.

What if?

While I enjoy stories like Susan Boyle, who just “needed a chance”, it seems that many success stories I hear and read about are of people who pushed through countless obstacles and made their own luck.  The stars did not just one day align for them.  What if we all have opportunities throughout our lifetimes that we are unprepared for or do not recognize that could move us closer to success?  Also, what could December-born children do to make it to the NHL?