Monday, December 1, 2008

Malcom Gladwell's 'Outliers'

I liked the previous two books by Malcolm Gladwell - The Tipping Point and Blink... a lot!

In Outliers Gladwell poses a new provocative question
: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes an assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky."

can be enjoyed for its bits of trivia, like why most pro hockey players were born in January, how many hours of practice it takes to master a skill, why the descendants of Jewish immigrant garment workers became the most powerful lawyers in New York, how a pilots' culture impacts their crash record, how a centuries-old culture of rice farming helps Asian kids master math. But there's more to it than that. Throughout all of these examples--and in more that delve into the social benefits of lighter skin color, and the reasons for school achievement gaps--Gladwell invites conversations about the complex ways privilege manifests in our culture.

I enjoy Gladwell's writing style, the use of stories, and especially how he can present ideas and things that seem so very 'obvious' after you read them...

This book is a very good read. Highly recommended!

1 comment:

Gram said...

I always find your choice of books interesting. No wonder you know so much. Thanks for all you do for us.