Outliers Review: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Today I am going to write the review of the book which will inspire you to do something great and will help you to encourage your success. Very inspirational book from the pen of Blink: the power of thinking without thinking. Malcolm Timothy Gladwell.
This is the 3rd book review from my article series: Unpacking My Library
About the Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Timothy Gladwell CM was born on September 3, 1963, is an English-born Canadian journalist, author, and speaker. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. He is the author of five books, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (2009), a collection of his journalism, and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (2013). All five books were on The New York Times Best Seller list. He is also the host of the podcast Revisionist History.
Gladwell’s books and articles often deal with the unexpected implications of research in the social sciences and make frequent and extended use of academic work, particularly in the areas of sociology, psychology, and social psychology.
In addition to being recognized and appreciated for his works, Gladwell has also been acknowledged with prestigious honors such as the American Sociological Association’s first Award for Excellence in the Reporting of Social Issues in 2007, an honorary degree from the University of Waterloo in 2007 and another honorary degree from the University of Toronto in 2011. Currently, Malcolm Gladwell continues to write for The New Yorker. He also serves as a contributing editor for sports journalism website, Grantland.
Brief to the Book: Outliers
Outliers are Gladwell’s third book, Outliers, published in 2008, examines how a person’s environment, in conjunction with personal drive and motivation, affects his or her possibility and opportunity for success. Gladwell’s original question revolved around lawyers. In another example given in the book, Gladwell noticed that people ascribe Bill Gates’s success to being “really smart” or “really ambitious”. He noted that he knew a lot of people who are really smart and really ambitious, but not worth 60 billion dollars. “It struck me that our understanding of success was really crude — and there was an opportunity to dig down and come up with a better set of explanations.
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In this stunning new 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.
There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. Gladwell argues that the true story of success is very different and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them-at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. And in revealing that hidden logic, Gladwell presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of the human potential.
In The Tipping Point Gladwell changed the way we understand the world. In Blink, he changed the way we think about thinking. In OUTLIERS he transforms the way we understand success.
Criticism of Outliers & Malcolm:
Criticism focused on the book’s style and oversimplified conceptualizations. Displeased with Gladwell’s generalizations drawn from small amounts of data, Roger Gathman wrote in The Austin American-Statesman that this was uncharacteristic of him, and believed that the approach points to a “certain exhaustion in his favorite method”. He remarked that in Outliers, the experiments, analysed, and conclusions drawn are too mechanically applied to historical or cultural phenomena to “create a cognitive ‘gotcha’ moment”, that Gladwell’s analytical method was no longer working, and that “it’s high time for Gladwell to produce something more challenging than his beautifully executed tomb robberies of old sociology papers.” Boyd Tonkin in The Independent held a similar opinion, and wondered why Gladwell “does not yet hold a tenured professorship at the University of the Bleedin’ Obvious”.
CONCLUSION: When a journalist looks for facts and connections between people who are a huge success, the outcome is always interesting. Malcolm Gladwell wrote ‘Outliers: The story of success’ after extensive research and many interviews. If one thinks about it, is it possible to find a pattern in all the success stories of the world? Is it lies that take you ahead on your journey or is it just destiny and hard work? This book is honest, audacious and direct. This book was debuted at number one in New York time’s bestsellers list. The author talks about the “10-000 hour rule”, where he claims that to be successful and excellent at any skill, you need a practice of 10-000 hours. It was very well received by critics. It contains an easy language and thus is a light read and informative book. The book is divided into two parts: Opportunity and Legacy. The book is autobiographical in nature. Gladwell, through this book, makes a point in front of the readers that no one in this world can succeed alone. Everyone needs factors and support of people going in their direction although it might not be evident at times. This book is a good read if you are looking for some answers to the question of success.