- Paperback: 324 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Press; 1 edition (29 June 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780141036250
- ISBN-13: 978-0141036250
- ASIN: 0141036257
- Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 3.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Outliers Paperback – 29 Jun 2009
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Malcolm Gladwell is a cerebral and jaunty writer, with an unusual gift for making the complex seem simple (Observer)
Makes geniuses look a bit less special, and the rest of us a bit more so (Time)
Gladwell deploys a wealth of fascinating data and information to illustrate his thesis ... Outliers challenges accepted wisdom (FT)
About the Author
From the Publisher
Outliers: The Story of Success
Why are people successful? For centuries, humankind has grappled with this question, searching for the secret to accomplishing great things. In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an invigorating intellectual journey to show us what makes an extreme overachiever.
He reveals that we pay far too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where successful people are from: their culture, their family, and their generation. Gladwell examines how the careers of Bill Gates and the performance of world-class football players are alike; what top fighter pilots and The Beatles have in common; why so many top lawyers are Jewish; why Asians are good at maths; and why it is correct to say that the mathematician who solved Fermat's Theorem is not a genius.
Just as he did in Blink, Gladwell overturns many of our conventional notions and creates an entirely new model for seeing the world. Brilliant and entertaining, this is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.
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Negatives: it’s quite short (which is also good), and it’s a little loose and inconsistent with the level of statistical rigour under which the points are made (which also makes it much more accessible as an entertaining read rather than scholarly text).
And, as some reviewers are noting, perhaps unfairly, it it not a self-help book. This book will help people understand some of the key not so intuitive mechanics behind success or failure at a population level. It won’t necessarily give you a large list of actionable items as an individual, although I think parents in particular of young children will be very interested in the read. The most direct “takeaways” from the book are more for educational ministers and policy makers in terms of what they can do to improve the opportunities and outcomes for their populations.
Various elements of "success" are convincingly described and in relative balance without the pedantry or smugness sometimes found in similar discussions. The author recognizes that the role played by random events is as important as genetic inheritance, inherent social and cultural opportunities and efficient hard work, in determining outcomes. I liked the observation that to be successful you just have to be"smart enough" not necessarily a genius, but would guess that it would help. I also found the connection between language and the learning of arithmetic to be interesting.