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Outliers: The Story of Success

by Malcolm Gladwell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,346378326 (3.96)1 / 258
The best-selling author of Blink identifies the qualities of successful people, posing theories about the cultural, family, and idiosyncratic factors that shape high achievers, in a resource that covers such topics as the secrets of software billionaires, why certain cultures are associated with better academic performance, and why the Beatles earned their fame.… (more)
  1. 70
    Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt (dste)
    dste: Another interesting book that looks at some ideas we think are right and turns them upside down.
  2. 40
    The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Anonymous user)
  3. 30
    The Drunkard's Walk : How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow (infiniteletters)
  4. 10
    The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation by Frans Johansson (edwinbcn)
  5. 10
    Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck (peter_vandenbrande)
    peter_vandenbrande: Beide auteurs benadrukken dat je talent moet ontwikkelen om succesvol te worden. Ze ondergraven allebei de mythe dat alleen geniale mensen de top kunnen bereiken. Carol Dweck werkt het hoe en waarom van deze "growth mindset" uit, Malcolm Gladwell nuanceert tegelijk de invloed van deze individuele inspanningen door "toeval" in het verhaal te brengen: hoe omstandigheden en toevallige kansen van invloed zijn op uiteindelijk succes.… (more)
  6. 10
    Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton (peter_vandenbrande)
  7. 10
    The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How. by Daniel Coyle (infiniteletters)
  8. 00
    Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin (infiniteletters)
  9. 00
    Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success by Matthew Syed (ANeumann)
  10. 04
    Young Nietzsche by Carl Pletsch (galacticus)
    galacticus: Both books deal with genius. Gladwell touches on genius as a study in success, what it takes generally; Pletsch as a study of one mans desire to be a genius.
  11. 04
    De HR-ballon tien populaire praktijken doorprikt by Patrick Vermeren (peter_vandenbrande)

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» See also 258 mentions

English (368)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (376)
Showing 1-5 of 368 (next | show all)
For years I've heard mentions of this book. I can see why! One of the most often quoted parts of this book is the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become highly proficient in anything - from a musical instrument to programming, to writing. Gladwell explains this not from a hypothetical standpoint, but by talking with experts and looking back on how they got there.

These experts share one other trait - they were fortunate to have the opportunity to devote 10,000 hours to their craft. I loved the stories in this one about how different experts (outliers) in their fields achieved greatness. For each, there is a bit of luck in having the chance, but also the immense effort needed. There is something to be said for being in the right place at the right time and having the right opportunity – then working your ass off capitalize on the chance. ( )
  adamfortuna | May 28, 2021 |
I didn't expect this book to change my perspective on success the way it did. I like how Gladwell tells a lot of different succes stories from all kinds of fields (hockey, education, aviation, IT, to name a few) and highlights their hidden similarities. Once you know the pattern, it's quite obvious. Insightful and entertaining! ( )
  readalicious | Jan 7, 2021 |
There is good reason Malcom Gladwell is one of the most successful nonfiction writers of our time. The book was wonderful - I loved it. 4.5 stars.

In outliers he challenges the common assumption of success that people “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” In fact the stories of those most successful, people like Bill Gates or the Beatles are actually the convergence of several important factors, namely great opportunities, tons of hard work (to the sum of 10,000 hours), and luck. Environment, genetics, cultural heritage (or legacy) all impact us much more than we’d like to admit, or even realize. For instance, cultural factors, such as deference to authority and social hierarchy played a large role in airline Korean Air to have excessive accidents and deaths (in the past and now have been remedied). Honor and shame culture passed down resulted in excessive bloodshed throughout the Appalachian mountains that seem to even affect Southerners today. Hockey all-stars have a wild tendency to be born in January, February and March! Why? Because of birthdate cut offs as children... a phenomenon prevalent in many other areas of life. Also - have you ever wondered why Asians do so well at math? Well- you’ll have to read the book to find out. :) Fascinating (and convincing) theory. Related is the importance for your job to have autonomy, complexity and a direct relationship between effort and reward.

Gladwell also addresses the easiest pushback with not just one, but two chapters - what about geniuses?! He compares two unquestionable geniuses - Robert Oppenheimer and Chris Langan. The difference is that the former wound up overseeing the Manhattan project despite being wrongly qualified (and attempting to murder his advisor at one point) and the later failing to graduate college. It comes down to child upbringing and the massive differences between how socioeconomics affect child rearing practices.

Like I said above, overall I loved it. Gladwell combines research and intriguing stories like no other.

I’m sure people might complain that he cherry picks his stories. No doubt he does. This isn’t a peer reviewed journal article. He isn’t surveying all the possible studies on any given topic. We shouldn’t expect that.

Are all the examples bullet proof? Of course not. There are questions after each one and pushbacks. For one, in the chapter on genetic heritage (actually I don’t remember him using that phrase) - he makes the argument that Southerners today tend to toward quicker hostility when offended and this was seen even among metropolitan folks living in Michigan (but from the south). I had wanted so much more like, more studies and examples buttressing his argument ... but that would be a whole other book. Being from the south and questioning that tendency in myself before, I was astonished.

For what it is (popular psychology nonfiction), you can’t beat it. Highly recommended. Great food for thought, especially for parenting and how we understand success (and failure).

Why not 5 stars, you ask? In general I try to hold out a 5 star rating for books that I find truly great, specifically books I plan to read more than once or twice. Outliers does an exceptional job of telling stories to make the points, so well I can remember practically every story after hearing them just once. So it’s a one and done book, but I plan to read all his others soon. ( )
1 vote nrt43 | Dec 29, 2020 |
A fantastic read for educators and anyone else interested in the relationships between talent, intelligence, and success. ( )
  stephkaye | Dec 14, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 368 (next | show all)
“Outliers” has much in common with Gladwell’s earlier work. It is a pleasure to read and leaves you mulling over its inventive theories for days afterward. It also, unfortunately, avoids grappling in a few instances with research that casts doubt on those theories. This is a particular shame, because it would be a delight to watch someone of his intellect and clarity make sense of seemingly conflicting claims.
The world for Gladwell is a text that he reads as closely as he can in seeking to decode and interpret it. He is adept at identifying underlying trends from which he extrapolates to form hypotheses, presenting them as if they were general laws of social behaviour. But his work has little philosophical rigour. He's not an epistemologist; his interest is in what we think, rather than in the how and why of knowledge itself.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Guardian, Jason Cowley (Nov 23, 2008)
The book, which purports to explain the real reason some people — like Bill Gates and the Beatles — are successful, is peppy, brightly written and provocative in a buzzy sort of way. It is also glib, poorly reasoned and thoroughly unconvincing.

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gladwell, MalcolmAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gladwell, MalcolmNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Roseto Valfortore lies one hundred miles southeast of Rome in the Apennine foothills of the Italian province of Foggia.
out•li•er\-,lī(-ə)r\ noun
1: something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body.
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The best-selling author of Blink identifies the qualities of successful people, posing theories about the cultural, family, and idiosyncratic factors that shape high achievers, in a resource that covers such topics as the secrets of software billionaires, why certain cultures are associated with better academic performance, and why the Beatles earned their fame.

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Pretty good book to discuss some interesting phenomena in real life, and tries to find a reasonable explanation for them. It is good to read a book life this to discuss the success, by uncovering not so well-known facts like for Bill Gates, and some other people in computer science, which I have been learning by self-study for a long time.
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Hachette Book Group

4 editions of this book were published by Hachette Book Group.

Editions: 0316017922, 031602497X, 1600243916, 0316017930

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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