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Outliers: The Story of Success [Paperback]

Malcolm Gladwell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
74 of 81 people found the following review helpful
By Curio
In short, Mr. Gladwell's writing--his earnestness, optimism, and persuasiveness--never ceases to impress me.

He broke down trends like no one else in The Tipping Point, and was single-handedly the most convincing voice for trusting your gut reactions (in an age of numbers, facts, and analysis no less) in Blink; this guy knows how to research, and better yet, put the nuggets of wisdom he's found in psychology and science into terrifically engaging and palatable text.

And the most amazing thing is, I don't think he's doing anything new--it's the way he presents it. Where most people could do similar research into his topics and write up their own findings and support already existing and accepted thought, Malcolm succeeds because he looks at it from outside the box. He's not doing much, but he does it so well--he turns things on their head, or reveals things that sit in plain view to us, because we mostly can't see the forest for the trees.

He puts this to high form again in his latest book, and the premise is as provocative and unconventional as his previous efforts, if not more so: he argues that a person's success has much to do with such things as luck (circumstance, fortuitous or unlikely events), culture, environment growing up, and of course, practice. The last point is not terribly groundbreaking, but the rest flies in the face of what we typically credit a successful individual for. Because let's be frank, in today's era, we all strive very hard for equality and to look past a person's background or upbringing (and don't get me wrong, I support that fully), emphasizing the fact that it doesn't matter who you are or where you came from, we can all achieve great things.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Early advantages plus talent plus lots of practice plus a good social heritage plus a large opportunity help people succeed. That's this book in a nutshell as described in a series of New Yorker style articles. As told, the story is much more entertaining than that, but I want you to get the essence. Mr. Gladwell knows how to pick and spin a story to make it appealing and intriguing, and he has done well on those dimensions here.

The book will inspire people to want to help others accomplish more. Any parent, any teacher, any coach, or anyone interested in improving society will find something stimulating here.

Let me give you a quick overview:

1. Mr. Gladwell draws his inspiration for this book from the studies of Roseto, Pennsylvania by Dr. Stewart Wolf and sociologist John Bruhn that established how social factors can improve or harm health. Mr. Gladwell wants to similarly expand our vision of what affects success beyond the sense that "raw talent" and "privilege" help.

2. Mr. Gladwell uses the birth dates of athletes to establish that annual cutoff dates for teams benefit those born closer to the cutoff date. This principle also affects school children. As a result, the older children in a cohort do better and get more attention. Mr. Gladwell proposes having more anniversary dates so that more youngsters will get early access to help and attention.

3. Mr. Gladwell tells us the background of Bill Joy, one of the great computer programming geniuses of all time. In the story, he points out that mastery of most disciplines requires 10,000 hours of practice. Mr. Joy got that practice at a young age because he had access to time sharing on a mainframe when most programmers didn't.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Laura De Giorgio TOP 100 REVIEWER
In Outliers, Malcolm explores the information he has gathered on what makes people excel. It goes back to the age-old question from psychology - what makes people the way they are - their genetic or the environment - and the answer is both and much more.

I couldn't help but remember a study mentioned once by Tonny Robbins, in which motivational researchers asked two brothers, one of whom has become a successful business man, and the other man alcoholic - both had a father who was an alcoholic, and both man gave the same answer "What else could I become with a father like that." This too may be simplistic, because we really don't have information about how they were individually treated, or any other events in their lives that influenced them to think and act in ways that shaped their life path.

Malcolm begins with a story about a specific group of early Italian settlers in America, who despite of being overweight and eating unhealthy food, lack of exercise, smoking and other unhealthy habits, had much longer lives and better health than average Americans. Apparently the key element that made their bodies and immune system resilient is that they lived with a sense of belonging to the close-knit community where they deeply cared for each other.

Malcolm then proceeds with the study cases of people involved in music, sports, computers and other areas of human achievement and the conclusion is that while talent is most-certainly helpful, regardless of what talent one may have, nothing beats good old hard work.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent information, easy to read and extensive research to illustrate concept presented.
Published 1 month ago by Rose Wong
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for those who want to know what makes some people successful...
I found it to be a very enlightening read as it was reinforced that success is earned, not given. Circumstances do play a part but not entirely. I recommend this book to everyone.
Published 4 months ago by Steve MacMillan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and enjoyable to read.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Malcolm Gladwell includes many interesting case studies in this book, which are fascinating to read about. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kirsty
5.0 out of 5 stars must read
such a good book. Malcom Gladwell produces one hit after another, his books are easy to follow and definitely offer a different perspective on things. Totally recommend this!
Published 6 months ago by Stephanie Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read for motivation
I must admit starting the book with references on sports were not very interesting since I am not a sports fan, however the whole point was to reference how people's circumstances... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lemar
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
This book is a real eye-opener and gives a different perspective on how we look at things, especially achievement and children's accomplishments. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Brenda Case
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
The book provides a very interesting view with many different examples. Outliers doesn't spend too much time talking about one subject, so it keeps you interested and moves around... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sweetpea
3.0 out of 5 stars A great book, but...
I read this book about three years ago on my first year in university. It was suggested by my senior tutor. She told me that this book will change my idea of success, and it did. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ahmed
3.0 out of 5 stars kinda boring
high expectation for this book, but after reading half the book, i stopped. I felt like things were jumping around and many things are already obvious to me
Published 10 months ago by wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Read
Very good read, this book helped open my eyes and view the world in a different way. I always thought that rich amd successful people were born that way, I never knew that luck had... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Diego Elera
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