30 March 2011

Book 12 of 2011

I finished this on my iPad while vacationing in Portland.

Outliers: The Story of Success

12) Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell takes a look at what really makes people stand out and achieve success. Surprise, the classic story of the self-made man or woman who brought him or herself up by their bootstraps to become super rich and powerful in their field is often not the case because people don't recognize the opportunities available to them and not others. Things like the cultural landscape of how they were raised, the window of time when they were born and the chance to put time into an interest that will have an impact on society later on all factor into making people outliers.

Gladwell presents his findings and the anecdotes preceding them well, usually starting off with the surface view of the story and then peeling back the layers to reveal the previously ignored circumstances that determined the level of success the person or institution reaches. He creates a puzzle with each chapter because once he explains the first idea of birthdays and hockey all-stars, it's clear that many success stories have more going for them than the narrative presented. Figuring out the true reason of the subject's achievement winds up being pretty fun.

Chapters that specifically stuck out include the idea of the home life's effect on high IQ individuals and cultural language in a global setting. Also, the idea that talent is far from innate is one that I really enjoyed as a teacher because the hard work and dedication needed to become an expert, the 10,000 hour rule, applies to a variety of fields and shows how important hard work is to being successful.

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