Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Outliers, The Story Of Success - Malcolm Gladwell

I've been wanting to get my hands on this book for a while. I've read both "The Tipping Point" and "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell and really enjoyed them so I figured Outliers would be good too. I saw an interview with him on "The Hour" (a Canadian talk show) and back in January I heard about the 10,000 hour rule he talks about and really wanted to get into this book. The library finally got to me in their queue of holds and now that I've read it I'm thinking about things differently. I'm looking at things through the "Outliers" lens.

It's got me thinking, how do I raise my children in such a way that they will have the best opportunities to succeed? I've thought that before but not in this way. You see, this book talks about how successful people, REALLY successful people, like top athletes, musicians, scientists . . . all worked hard but not only that had a series of seemingly random events in their life that brought them to the top of their profession. Without those events, without meeting specific people, without world events happening like they did, without being born in their specific month or year, their successes may have eluded them. So is there any way to manufacture that?

It's also got me wondering, what am I spending 10,000 hours on? What am I going to become an expert in, if anything? Gladwell explains a study which was done that tells how people who spend 10,000 hours at a specific task are the ones that become the top in their field. The study suggests "there are no naturals". What sets people apart in their ability is how much time they have spent on their skill.

"In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again."
Daniel Levitin
This goes against my understanding of how things work but as I look through this lens I can see how it can make sense. So now I wonder if the gifted ones or "naturals" are really just the ones who enjoy working on their specific skill the most which enables them to get in their 10,000 hours? Who knows? I do know that this book was a great read and one I'm sure you would enjoy.



Scott Orr 7/19/2009 12:10 PM  

I just finished this book a few weeks ago. A great writer from Mississauga!

I've had a hard time taking a personal application from the books I read, as I soon forget the lessons when I start a new book.

However, there were a lot of sociological concepts that have stuck with me from this book.

The one quote (that I have printed off and placed on my wall above my mirror in my office) that summarizes the whole book is from the chapter on the rice patty workers...

"No Man who wakes up before the dawn can fail to make his family rich"

I don't always (or ever) wake up before the dawn, but the message that motivates me is to work when others rest, think when others don't, run when others walk.

Sherri Lavender 7/19/2009 12:47 PM  

10,000 hours... hmmm.... HEY - you've definitely spent that many hours on the bench of a 15-passenger van. You're REALLY good at that!

kathryn 7/19/2009 1:06 PM  

i think Sherri just said you're good at sitting on yer arse? but i know she's only fooling!!

Mustbebest 10/02/2009 7:54 AM  

never heard about him... thanks for info. i like reading.. so, maybe i'll try it.

Brit-in-the-USA 10/06/2009 10:11 PM  

Great book with lots of interesting thoughts. However, if you're looking for a book to help raise your kids, especially boys, a must read is John Eldridge's book 'The Way of the Wild Heart'. It helps if you've read his 'Wild at Heart', but not compulsory. Only just discovering your music....sorry for the delay :-)

UK 1/30/2012 10:38 PM  

I really liked this book. I liked it because it did not say everything is 'Karma'. As I used to say to my team, everyone is dealt a suite of same number of cards. Some are given better suite than other. For winning the game, what is more important is how well one plays the game with given set of cards. It is quite possible that with certain set of cards winning is not possible. But for majority of cases winning is possible with right effort and approach. That is the game of life.


Stat Counter

  © Blogger template The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP