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To be honest, I still don't get the point of this book. Chapter after chapter, the same statement is made, that success in life is more to do with where you come from than with anything else. So what? Are we supposed to become all defaitist about this now, as we cannot really influence our fate in life? As so often in american books of this type, it is dense in quoting from all sorts of random research, which makes it at times tiring to read. Anecdotes that may or may not be convincing provide for some more relaxed reading, but the author's conclusions (if any) are often not convincing. So the Chinese are better at maths because they have an easier system of naming their numbers? And why does that then all of a sudden apply to all Asians, even though not all Asian languages share the same feature? I just don't see what the hype about this book is about.
I would like to put Gladwell in the same category as Jared Diamond - he writes books that take you on an enjoyable sweep through different places and eras and whole swathes of pop-anthropology but, deep down, I have to wonder *why* he picked a story about dental statistics in 1930s Luxembourg, or the rate of unexplained bus crashes in Peru versus Chile. I can never quite rule out a suspicion of cherry-picking. Which is uncomfortable, because I really *want* to believe these neat stories that let you in on a little secret that underpins whole swathes of the modern world.
Let's go back to a specific example. For instance, Gladwell points out the role of culture in airliner crashes; if aircrew come from cultures that have stronger deference to social superiors, maybe a copilot would shy away from challenging a pilot who'd made a mistake. He works through examples of Korean Airlines crashes that seem to fit this paradigm, and Korea is high up the ranking of countries by deference-to-superiors, and we hear about how Korean Airlines challenged that culture and then had fewer crashes. That's a good story to read! Problem is that we never really tackle the fact that the deadliest airline crash in history involved aircrew from a country which was at the opposite end of the ranking-of-countries. No doubt individual deference to superiors was a factor in that crash too, but CRM alone is pretty boring, people enjoy reading the different-places-different-cultures stories.
I won't say it's all like this; I didn't get such a worry from the study of the backgrounds of lawyers in New York, for instance (maybe we'd see something different if somebody took on the Herculean task of expanding the study to different trades & different national backgrounds, but I don't think the main conclusion would shift much).
Brilliant book for exemplifying patterns in human behaviour. I am not reading it in order to look at improving the odds of success in life - not as a sociologist or psychologist.....and I find it very gripping and the evidence against the examples is brilliant. I take each chapter as a chapter of learning but the sort of learning which implants itself in your mind instead of needing to try and take it all in. It is written in a way that the knowledge provided naturally settles in your mind. Would highly recommend to anyone who is looking at success, improving odds, running a business, psychology, sociology
I was recommended this book by a friend in Canada but had no real idea as to the contents. The points it makes are important to consider if you care about your children,their future education and the world they will live in. It is very easy to read, fascinating and thought provoking. To say much more will probably spoil the read, just trust the very high number of 5 star ratings and make up your own mind. The people who gave the book low ratings I suspect have never had to run complex businesses and come from the tribe of you do not need lots of experience in the the area you operate in you just need to be a good manager.
What is an Outlier? How do people become outstanding in their field? Are the born with a skill? Do you have to learn a skill? Do you have to be born at the right time? Or is being an Outlier, a number of steps of “luck”? The Beatles, Bill Gates, happen to have a number of circumstances that accumulated to make sure they were in the right place at the right time. Were they the brightest or the best? As well as having skill and aptitude you also have to have the strength and presence of mind to seize them. We can all be outliers and this book explains how!
Although the author Tries to make you look twice at what you thought were life's predestinations, it does so by choosing very precise close space situations and drawing conclusions from them. I would normally say it is dangerous to draw a universal law of things from such a finite number of observations.
In any case, I definitely recommend it, it makes you at least consider if the way we "select" our elite is at all random; And if we are, in fact, predispositioning some individuals to rise over others by an injust selection process.
My most intellectual friends say Gladwell is criticised for his "pop" coverage of ideas that are normally the provenance of academics, but I like his readable, confident style. His books have become extremely influential; every American parent I know espouses some version of the ideas in The Tipping Point. This is another one to freak parents out: a book claiming that behind every great man and woman is a whole lot of being in the right place at the right time. Though I like this book enough to give it four stars, its focus is blurred at times. The title "Outliers" is misleading and not quite on point. The book is largely about luck: what it is, what it isn't, how it affects everyone and the part it has been playing quietly in the history of human success.
Bought this following a recommendation and loved it. It’s honestly one of the best books I’ve read. Interesting, intriguing and fascinating. The groups studied are varied and broad and the stories covered will allow you to glimpse ways that we are and aren’t responsible for our success. I couldn’t put it down. The chapter on Korean pilots was very moving in its detail and tragedy. Will read more of Mr Gladwell’s books as a result.
Excellent book. Particularly recommended for teenagers (and their parents) who wonder why they might be under-performing or what they will end up doing with their life. It is full of 'A ha" moments When I first started reading it I wasn't enthralled but as the author started to show connections and underlying situations that build up to success, I was really impressed.
Hooked from day one, was not familiar with the author and now I understand why he keeps hitting home runs, every book is a best seller, cannot put it down. The prose is marvellous, the stories are compelling and the learning experience makes of the reading a superbly enjoyable experience.