Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers- The Story of Success

Outliers is a book that explores the circumstances that lead to success. The author, Malcolm Gladwell, argues that opportunities matter more in the lives of successful people than hard work or raw talent. He also focuses on cultural legacies and how they can influence an individual’s success.

The book’s primary theme is success, and Gladwell profiles brilliant, dynamic, or at least ambitious and promising individuals to define the specific factors that made them successful. He emphasizes that intelligence measures such as IQ cannot be firmly linked to exceptional success, whereas hard work, lucky circumstances, and supportive communities clearly help an individual to succeed.

One of the underlying ideas in Outliers is that individuals are not always fully aware of why they succeed–or why they fail. Gladwell demystifies these issues by alerting his readers to the influence of opportunity and cultural legacy in determining success. Limited awareness of cultural legacies can be a major reason for failure, as in the case of the Korean Air pilots, who were unaware of their own culturally dictated deficiencies in communication.

Gladwell argues throughout Outliers that the opportunity to practice and succeed may outweigh factors such as IQ, originality, and perhaps even culture of origin in determining success. Such opportunity can take a variety of forms, from access to a large number of practice hours to the psychological advantages provided by a higher-income family background.

What I Liked

The stories were absolutely amazing and memorable. I love any exploration of human performance and judgement.

What I Did Not Like

I felt like he oversimplified a few stories and concepts in this book – especially the ideas of needing X number of hours of practice. I think that idea is right…but requires quite a few brackets.

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