Monday, June 9, 2014

Book Review: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
(my own photo)
Outliers is the book in which Malcolm Gladwell outlines an idea which is either mindblowing, or mindblowingly obvious.  Simply put, while an individual's success and failures are often put down to talent and determination, more often than not, luck, opportunity and background play a significant, and often ignored, role.

Covering a range of outliers from tech tycoons to professional athletes to the citizens of Roseto, California this book suggests that while these individuals did have attributes that contributed to their success, they also were often fortunate enough to be presented with opportunities not available to their peers, or to have a background that gave them certain advantages. This book is also credited with bringing the 10,000 hour rule into the public consciousness.

I'm not really sure that how qualified I am to judge the actual content of the book: the ideas he puts forward seem to be accurate and well-supported by evidence, but I can't claim to be an expert on the subject matter.

The writing has a nice flow, and he manages to draw together a wide range of data, biographical detail, and other relevant information and communicate it clearly. This means that it is a quick, easy read.  If you agree with the conclusions that he draws, then it can seem a bit unnecessarily repetitive.

Chance of finding it in my imaginary bookstore? 85%