Outliers – The Story of Success

Reading mostly non-fiction, Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors. I feel as if he’s a writer of my generation since he published his books in 2000 (The Tipping Point) and 2005 (Blink). Both of them were best-sellers, and very good reads. This time, he’s arguing that “there is something profoundly wrong with the way we make sense of success.” in his new book Outliers. Gladwell makes several arguments that I found interesting:

  • Accumulative advantage: “It is those who are successful, in other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities to further success. It’s the best students who get best teaching and most attention.”
  • Importance of working hard: “Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or he works.”
    “Once someone has reached an IQ of somewhere around 120, having additional IQ points doesn’t seem to translate into any measurable real-world advantage.”
  • Satisfactory work: “Those three things – autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward – are the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.”
I found the first part of the book more interesting, the second part about legacy was neither as relevant, nor as interesting. Overall, it’s an interesting read if you like non-fiction and Gladwell’s style.
January 20, 2009



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Sarp is a software developer. He writes about technology, books and software.
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