“Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell
After The Tipping Point and Blink, Malcolm Gladwell gives us a whole new perspective on how successful people work.
“Outliers: The Story of Success” is an amazing montage of how culture, age, year of birth and other seemingly “accidental” factors can contribute to how successful a person can be, and how above all, success mostly stems from one key ingredient: hard work.
The title may confuse you. What, you may ask, is an outlier, exactly? Outliers are men and women who are different from us in terms of achievement and success in their chosen field. Think of the legends, the scientists, and the inventors. This book tried to explain what makes them do the things that they do and be triumphant in whatever they try. Malcolm Gladwell says that the plan for Outliers is simple, “It’s not enough to ask what successful people are like. It is only by asking where they are from that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn’t.”
Part one focused on Opportunity. It’s quite remarkable how tediously Malcolm Gladwell researched on, say, a winning hockey team and found out what factors all the players have in common. The idea that success has nothing to do with how you were raised is not completely true. Your culture, your parentage and the trends during the year of your birth can affect your attitude entirely.
Malcolm Gladwell also focuses on the “10,000 hour rule”. It is the belief that in order to be successful, you must put in 10,000 hours in practice.
To put it bluntly, 10,000 hours is a hyperbole. What Malcolm Gladwell means to say is that you are likely to succeed in what you do the most in your every waking hour. It’s true. For example, Bill Gates didn’t just learn about a computer then a week later, develop Microsoft. He began tinkering with old computers when he was very young and it turned into a huge passion of his. Microsoft didn’t happen overnight. It’s through decades of passion and perseverance. This is what it means to put in 10,000 hours in your vocation.
Part two is about Legacy. Malcolm Gladwell focuses on the uncanny causes of many Korean plane crashes and why Asians tend to be better in math than the rest of us. He is staying true to the fact that society and traditional practices play a huge part in the determinants of our attitude and skills. In the case of South Koreans and plane crashes, you have to read the entire thing and find out why sometimes, it’s also imperative to be flexible in your stance.
The best story, in my opinion, comes from Rice Paddies and Math Tests. China being full of rice paddies, the hardworking Chinese farmers passed the inherent math skills that they earned (How? You have to read the entire story in the book!) from one generation to the next. It’s a known fact that China is one of the world’s biggest economies and Chinese people are amazingly shrewd businessmen, always first to spot worldwide trends.
Chinese kids and their aptitude for math shouldn’t only be placed on the fact that it is inherent in their cultural identity. The moral lesson of the story is that success comes because of hard work and perseverance. More than cultural identity, race, privilege and anything else, hard work is the single most important thing to be successful. This makes the book really worth reading.
What I loved about this book was how it can also relate to Network Marketing and what it takes to be successful - which is hard work! Malcolm Gladwell inspired me and I’m sure after reading this book you will feel inspired too.
Filed under: Leadership
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