Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is a continuation of Malcolm’s observations on the reasons behind success. His first book, The Tipping Point, showed great success worldwide due to the fact that he presented theories on the tipping point of epidemics which he described in three rules: The Law of Few, The Stickiness Factor, and The Power of Context, which were theories that no one had thought of or at least wrote about before. He then went on with his second successful book, Blink, in which he wrote about how past experiences can lead people to make informed decisions very rapidly (in a blink!) with little information in hand.
Outliers, like his previous books, speaks about how a person’s environment, the conditions they were put in, how much they gave in to reach a certain level of profession, and how cultural differences play a role in the success of individuals and organizations. The word Outliers basically means ‘something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body’, an exceptional individual, if I may say.
He started the book by speaking about opportunity, mentioning stories of successful hockey players, Bill gates, Bill Joy, The Beetles and many others. He portrays the message that people aren’t born as geniuses, but they need to work hard in a certain way to get there, providing that they have an opportunity which they took. He writes, ‘There is a lot of confusion about the 10,000 rule that I talk about in Outliers. It doesn’t apply to sports. And practice isn’t a SUFFICIENT condition for success. I could play chess for 100 years and I would never be a grand master. The point is simply thatnatural ability requires a huge investment of time in order to be made manifest. Unfortunately sometimes complex ideas get oversimplified in translation’.
Gladwell writes about the successes and failures in the pages of Outliers, he puts out his conclusions and reasonings behind them, but still giving the reader space to put their own conclusions throughout the book. Some of the ideas he puts out there are obvious, like the fact that you need to practice to become an outlier. Many are new, at least to myself, like how birth datesaffect success or how cultural differences have an effect on being exceptional in a specific field.
Throughout the book, however, he goes on and on in long conversations trying to prove his point before reaching the exact point, which some readers might find a little too much, and other readers, on the other hand, find thrilling. As a person who read his previous books and was astonished by how he made conclusions and put the theories that were never discussed before in words, I found the Outliers as inspiring as The Tipping Point and Blink, maybe not as much, but I still enjoyed reading every page of it and surely do recommend reading it.
Malcolm Gladwell has proven himself to be an outlier by writing the Outliers, and as written by The Guardian,
‘Gladwell is not only a brilliant storyteller; he can see what those stories tell us, the lessons they contain’.