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Outliers – The Story of Success Print E-mail
Reviewed by Lenny Balston   
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers – The Story of SuccessWhy do some people achieve so much more than others?  Can they lie so far outside the ordinary? What is the secret of their success?

In an age when so many believe that we can achieve everything that we desire Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’ provides invaluable insight into the phenomenal success of others.

We often equate hard work with success, but Gladwell suggests that how we spend our time, our cultural upbringing, the timing of our birth and other seemingly inconseque ntial circumstances have a bigger part to play than we suspect.

The book is divided into two parts; Opportunity and Legacy. Opportunity deals with being at the right place at the right time. Legacy looks at how we are shaped by our cultural heritage. The people studied are the likes of The Beatles, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Robert Oppenheimer, John D. Rockerfeller, professional sportspeople, lawyers and many others not as well known but with incredible stories never the less.

The chapter about the 10 000-hour rule – that if you apply yourself or practice any skill for 10 000 hours, you will be the top of your field – is perhaps the one area which comes down to really hard work. Once again though, it is the fact that these opportunities were not available to all that set the recipients on their path to success.

IQ which is much prized in our academic schooling systems proves to be of little advantage without other social skills. Many of the theories put forward are things of chance – being in the right place at the right time.

This book is not a toolkit to make your dreams come true but understanding what makes others successful can be invaluable on your journey there.

One of the reviews on the back of the book reads, “Gladwell’s great skill as a writer is in bringing to life intractable concepts ... and with every sentence you feel smarter” Esquire. We could not have put it better.

His findings are both obvious and unbelievable. If you want a fascinating read that will help you understand the success of others and how their life experiences contributed to their inevitable success, you will not be disappointed.

‘Outliers’ is a page turner of note, both informative and entertaining.

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