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Friday, April 2, 2010

Outliers: The Story of Success

Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
audiobook: 7.8 hours
 

*** About the Book ***

Have you ever wondered why two people who are  seemingly the same in every way often end up with wildly different success rates?  This book will give you (most of) the answers you never knew you wanted.  Gladwell explores how things such as culture, language, and even your birthday can influence your level of success in a particular field. 


*** Why I Listened To It ***

A real-life friend was reading this book a while back and found it fascinating.  Of course, he happened to be reading the section on plane crashes while he was flying to Peru ...


*** My Thoughts ***

I loved this book so much that I kept calling Hubby on the phone to tell him about it.  (It helped that the first section had to do with why people succeed in ice hockey ...) I even checked out a copy for him from the library and made him promise to read at least the first few chapters. 

Basically Gladwell explains that the idea of a self-made-man is a myth.  Yes, working hard and being ambitious can help you to get ahead in life.  BUT if you never get specific opportunities or you don't have the cultural "baggage" that gives you an advantage, then your hard work will never pay off.  It sounds incredibly depressing but in actuality I found it to be rather inspiring.

In a way this book reminded me of FREAKONOMICS - both authors have the ability to link seemingly unrelated bits of information and draw conclusions from them.  I think I trust the conclusions in OUTLIERS more though; there seems to be less of a leap from the varied datum to the end theory.

I should also point out that this was a very easy book to listen to, so I assume it would be an easy read as well.  It was engaging and interesting, and I never felt bored with it.


*** Your Thoughts ***

What do you think about the idea of the self-made-man?  If you've read this book, do you agree with any of Gladwell's conclusions?  Which do you disagree with?  Would you recommend any of his other books (this is the only one I've read)?

9 comments:

bermudaonion said...

My son had to read this for one of his classes, and I've claimed his copy. I can't wait to read it!

Allie said...

I have heard so much about this book! It is already on my list to read once I am done with my classics. The idea behind not being able to break your mold fascinates me.

Alyce said...

I haven't read this book, but I love Malcolm Gladwell's writing (and his audiobooks - he does a great job reading them). I've listened to The Tipping Point and What the Dog Saw. I'm sure I'll be listening to this one soon too.

Hannah Stoneham said...

My husband loves Gladwell - and i bought him the one that has a picture of a dog on the front for Christmas - I think he would like this too. i am fascainted by the concept of the self made man - it is a really important one in our culture as it has to do with social mobility which we all need to believe in but - as Gladwell appears to be saying, might not exist in the way that we think it does. i would love to read this book - thanks so much for posting on it.
Hannah

Dreamybee said...

I read Blink and The Tipping Point and enjoyed them both. I think I liked The Tipping Point better, even though I thought that I would like Blink better before I read them. This leads me to believe that I would REALLY like Outliers because so far I've been kind of, "Meh," about reading it. LOL. Your review may have been the tipping point for me. :)

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

I don't usually read nonfiction. I listed to this when it was released and LOVED it. Like you, I had to share everything I learned with my husband. It was absolutely phenomenal!

N R said...

Hi -- Just came across your blog! I also loved Treasure Island..
Just wanted to leave a note because I didnt quite like Gladwell unlike most of the other commentors..
Here are my (not so) brief thoughts on Gladwell: http://myrandomthoughtsondisplay.blogspot.com/2009/10/secret-to-being-outlier-by-malcolm.html

Heather J. said...

Bermudaonion – I hope you enjoy it!

Allie – Me too! It is both a crushing and a hopeful thought at the same time.

Alyce – Yes, he did a great job narrating – he’s one of those authors than can successfully pull it off (not everyone can …)

Hannah – Gladwell definitely turns that theory on its head! I hope you get a chance to read this one.

Dreamybee – HA! I like that theory – read the book and let me know if it turns out to be true. ~LOL~

Jenn – This is definitely a book to generate discussion. It MIGHT even work for a book club, but I’m not sure about that …

N R – I checked out your review and I do agree with many of your points. This book isn’t perfect, but I did really enjoy it … perhaps because it started with ice hockey references?! (Kiddo plays ice hockey.)

Miss Elizabeth said...

I read it this week, too and enjoyed it. I appreciated the section on legacies and changing seemingly impossible destinites. Great stuff. My review is here:
http://goldengrasses.blogspot.com/2010/04/outliers.html

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