I have had Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell on my “to read” list for quite some time. I’ve always been interested in Gladwell’s research; how he challenges the “norm” and seeks to uncover alternate explanations for every day social phenomenon. Again, I was drawn to Outliers as an audio book and am so glad I reviewed it in such a format as I feel the auditory explanations helped with my understanding of his research. (It was also pretty cool that the author himself was the one doing the reading – definitely made me feel as if I was the recipient of a private lesson into his collection of self-acquired research and knowledge).
This book contained fact after fact of reasons why we shouldn’t take life circumstances and situations at face value; that our assumptions and perceptions can, more often than not, be completely and utterly wrong. A sampling of Gladwell’s research includes: how hockey players are more likely to make their dream of playing in the professional league come true if they are born in the first three months of the year; how ten thousand hours is the minimum amount of time it takes for practice to become permanent (and successful); that the time period in which you are born dictates your future success; how extended summer breaks from school are failing children with low economic status; that plane crashes can be prevented by changing cultural legacies and expectations; and that Asian children are smarter and better at mathematics not due to their culture but because it takes less time and effort for them to say and add numbers in their mother tongue.
This book was fascinating and really left me thinking about my where my own life outliers may lie. I no longer hold the grudge that some people just have it better than me. I now realize that we all have opportunities presented to use at specific points in our life and that what we do with those opportunities is what, ultimately, will determine our future success or failure.
Next up on the book shelf: Walt by Russell Wangersky