Outliers was another fantastic book by Malcolm Gladwell. Its a scientific look at what makes people and situations so unique. In his own words, “Outlier is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience….I’m interested in men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August…Outliers is the story of Success. Actually its the story of luck and the opportunities that were provided to certain people that allowed them to succeed.”
Its not just a scientific look at this information that makes it good. Its scientific data told through stories…interesting stories that make you want to read more and learn more about them. There are some very interesting stories in here about Bill Gates, Bill Joy (founder of Sun Microsystems), stories about why Asians are good at math (seriously) about why Asian proverbs are more positive than Russian proverbs, about where a co-pilot is from matters more than anything else when looking at why a plane crashes! Fascinating stuff.
Outliers follows a similar flow that Gladwell used in The Tipping Point (also a great book). Its a conversational tone that makes both of these books so easy to read. It’s also the fascinating information that Gladwell has been able to discover. Here are a few quotes from the book that stood out to me.
“practice isn’t the thong you do when your good. Practice is the thing you do that makes you good.”
“Outliers are those who have been given opportunities-and who have had the strength and presence of mind to sieze them….Their sucess is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky-but all critical to making them who they are. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.”
“Our world only allowed one thirteen-year-old unlimited access to a time-sharing terminal in 1968. If a million teenagers had been given the same opportunity, how many more Microsofts would we have today? To build a better world we need to replace teh patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success.”
If you’re in need of something to read and you don’t mind thinking while you read, give this a shot. Its a fantastic book that you won’t regret spending your time on. Also, check out the other books by Gladwell. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.