Outliers

why some people succeed and some don't

309 pages

English language

Published Oct. 4, 2008 by Little, Brown and Co..

ISBN:
978-0-316-01792-3
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4 stars (141 reviews)

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. Brilliant and entertaining, OUTLIERS is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.

16 editions

Review of 'Outliers' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Exceptional humans are only exceptional because of the accident of their birth-circumstances giving them access to tools, education, and attitudes that make them exceptional. And 10k hours in anything makes you an expert. Therefore, successful people deserve their success because success only happens through the merits of hard work applied for a long time. In fact, success is inevitable given enough time doing something, and the confidence to assert yourself, and the social background of successful parents.

Largely, Gladwell's thesis has low predictive value, so I suspect it's overfitting to his examples. If anything, it's a meditation on the contradictory pre-conditions for success. Gristle for thought with low nutritional value.

Review of 'Outliers' on 'GoodReads'

3 stars

As a big fan of Gladwell's podcast I looked forward to this book eagerly. the early sections do what he does best - tie together data and theory to form a coherent picture of outlier events and why there is always an amount of luck involved in achievement. However, the book has flaws, even in the early sections, such as the lack of comparative analysis and the use of selective statistics. Overall, I loved the premise, the sentiment and most of the writing but felt the weaknesses let the book down.

Review of 'Outliers' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Gladwell is succinct and persuasive here in his argument that success and talent have less to do with individual personality and effort and more to do with where and when and within what context one happens to be born. I think his argument is convincing, as I think it dovetails quite powerfully with Jared Diamond's environmental resources = cultural advantage argument in "Guns, Germs, and Steel."

Review of 'Outliers' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

A book with a great start that unfortunately ends with a fallacious conclusion.

At the end of the ninth chapter, the author asserts that there would be twice as many hockey players if we had two cut off dates. This is ridiculous. It would of course mitigate the bias of age (i.e. what month you are born would not have such a big impact on getting selected). At best we would have marginally better players (though it is quite possible that some other arbitrary cutoff would replace the old one). There can be only so many NHL teams and therefore so many professional players.

He also asks, what if a million teenagers had access to the same advantages as Bill Gates, how many Microsoft would we have today? Well, it's quite obvious from his own argument that if so many had the same advantages, Bill would simply no longer be …

Review of 'Outliers' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Gladwell has the talent of making even potentially very dry data and research sound interesting. Although I liked his first two books better, this one is no exception.

Gladwell looks at our society's popular beliefs about success and those who succeed, and questions the assumptions that you probably didn't even realize you're making. Although he does cherry pick his examples to fit his points, he nonetheless raises some very interesting and thought-provoking ideas.

Review of 'Outliers' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Here's what I wrote earlier. I have to admit to the more I think and talk about the book, the less I think of it. It all seems too superficial.

A pretty interesting book, albeit with not quite as many "knock me over with a feather" moments as [b:Blink|40102|Blink|Malcolm Gladwell|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255630010s/40102.jpg|1180927]. It starts off with a bang, as he discusses amateur hockey teams and how it was noticed that virtually all the players on an Under-18 hockey team came from the first three months of the year. Turns out the age cutoff is January 1 in Canada, so the older players (those born early in the year) advanced further due to their slight maturity advantage which continued to multiply, as they got better training, put on better teams etc.

This subject hits close to home, as I am a soccer coach and heavily involved in my daughter's soccer league. My oldest …

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Subjects

  • Successful people.
  • Success.
  • Case studies