Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers

Malcolm Gladwell is an excellent storyteller. He has a knack for finding great stories about people or firms that back up his points. But I object to his style of argument - in short, tell a story, tell another story, tell another story, make some point about some unique thing that all three stories have in common.

I took three things away from the book:

1) Most successful people are lucky (Bill Gates had early frequent access to a computer, hockey players with January birthdays are older, outshine their later month peers).

2) The longer and harder you work at something, the better you become at it.

3) If you are willing to work longer and harder than others, you'll have more success than they will. Everyone has to work; there are no examples of genius musicians that succeed with a fraction of the practice of others.

Maybe these points are groundbreaking to a mass audience but they were not new to me. Gladwell also includes a chapter on airplane crashes and respect for authority that's unrelated to the rest of the book, and would make a great expository essay in the New Yorker but is out of place here.

The stories are good and it's a quick read, but don't expect groundbreaking material here.

Liked what you read? I am available for hire.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are heavily moderated.