Outliers – book review

Outliers: the story of success

There’s something fascinating about success isn’t there?

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t chase it. Some secretly, some openly. Whether it be raising a happy family, gaining a promotion or making millions after finding a niche in the market.

“In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.” 

It’s also easy for those of us who are still waiting for success, to look at people like Bill Gates and co with jealousy. Assuming that they bought their way to the top, or that they got ‘lucky’.

But Gladwell’s book blows the top off that, and leaves the reader with some fascinating insights into how situations and circumstances affect the success of your journey through life. Sometimes it really is as simple as being born in the right place at the right time…although, it’s often a little more complicated than that.

“No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.” 

After reading Matthew Syed’s ‘Black Box Thinking‘ and ‘Bounce‘ I was intrigued by Gladwell’s work – which is referenced by Syed many times. So I sought this one out, and was instantly drawn in by the flow of Gladwell’s prose. It’s easy to digest, but informative at the same time. A trait that many non-fiction writers lack in this day and age.

I devoured the first three quarters of the book in a frenzy of information and head-nodding ‘wow’ moments. The last part dragged a little for me and I’m not really sure why, as the tempo of the book was consistent. I had a few other books lined up to read and perhaps this made me hurry the reading process along.

My attention pricked back up by the last chapter, which recounts Gladwell’s own mother/grandmother’s story, and it was a welcome touch. I like it when non-fiction authors involve themselves in their works, it becomes easier to relate to.

“Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.” 

Overall a 4/5 for me – one of those books that’s fairly quick to read and full of interesting anecdotes and characters. All of them true. I’ll be reading Gladwell’s ‘Tipping Point’ in the near future. Consider me a fan.

P.S Check out Gladwell’s podcast ‘Revisionist History‘ if you’re into that kind of thing.

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