“This is a book about outliers, about men and women who do things that are out of the ordinary. Over the course of the chapters ahead, I’m going to introduce you to one kind of outlier after another: to geniuses, business tycoons, rock stars, and software programmers. We’re going to uncover the secrets of a remarkable lawyer, look at what separates the very best pilots from pilots who have crashed planes, and try to figure out why Asians are so good at math. And in examining the lives of the remarkable among us—the skilled, the talented, and the driven—I will argue that there is something profoundly wrong with the way we make sense of things. …
In Outliers, I want to convince you that these kinds of personal explanations of success don’t work. People don’t rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. It makes a difference where and when we grew up. The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forebears shape the patterns of our achievement in ways we cannot begin to imagine. It’s not enough to ask what successful people are like, in other words. It is only by asking where they are from that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn’t.”
~ Malcolm Gladwell from Outliers
As with all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, this is a fascinating read—exploring the underpinnings of what *really* makes great people great.
In short: It’s more complicated than we think and it’s *definitely* not simply innate talent. Culture and hard work and other often wacky variables play a pivotal role.
Gladwell gives us a backstage look into the lives of everyone from the Beatles and Bill Gates to Mozart and other extraordinary performers.
As you may know, this is the book that popularized the 10,000 hour rule of talent acquisition. Check out the Notes on other books that feature the 10,000 hour rule including: Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, Mindset by Carol Dweck, The Talent Code and The Little Book of Talent by Dan Coyle, Bounce by Matthew Syed, So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport, Mastery by Robert Greene, and The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler.
As you’d expect, this book is packed with Big Ideas. (Get a copy here.) I’m excited to share a few of my favorites we can apply to our lives today so let’s jump straight in!
out·li·er -, lī(-ə)r noun
1: something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body
2: a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample
Unlock this PhilosophersNote (and over 600 more) for free!
Sign Up for Free
The Optimize membership used to be $100/year. It’s now
free. No credit card required. No strings attached. Just more
wisdom in less time.