Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers [UPDATED 3/23/13]

Gladwell’s The Outliers (2008) focuses on success and the hard work, social context and cultural background that explains why some people excel and others don’t.  He has a related article in The New Yorker on genius (trivia note: a related post of his on this topic was rejected a long time ago by the New Yorker).  The Outliers seems better at explaining the success of some than in its prescriptions for how to get others to succeed.  [For more on his 2013 book, David and Goliath, click here.]

While The Tipping Point seemed to focus more on individuals and their power to change society, The Outliers focuses more on the social and cultural context of individuals to explain their extraordinary success.  As per vintage Gladwell, it takes a very eclectic path toward its subject, looking at everything from a genius who lives on a horse farm in Northern Missouri, to why Canadians are better hockey players (and which Canadians are the best), to why Korean pilots are more likely to crash planes.

In a nutshell, Gladwell believes The Beatles’ success was due to the fact that in their early years in Hamburg, Germany, they had to play very long sets at clubs, in a wide variety of styles, which both helped them to get in their 10,000 hours (see below on its importance) and forced them to be creative and excel at experimenting.  He notes the eerie correlation between who is a good pilot and what culture they came from.  He explores why a little town in Eastern Pennsylvania has had zero heart attacks.  He divulges that one 9 year stretch has accounted for more Outliers than any other.  He credits the success of Chinese math geniuses to the their harder studies and greater patience in problem-solving, stemming from a cultural legacy of long days of work in rice paddies; Gladwell contrasts the Chinese proverb ‘No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich’ with the American agricultural practice of letting fields lie fallow in winter, which led to a school year with summer vacations — a practice that works for children of the well-educated but fails children of the less-educated who give up many of their school-year academic gains over the summer. He credits Bill Gates’ success to early and sustained access to high-end computers.  As Edward Tenner notes on Slate: “Memo to overscheduling, hovering, upper-middle-class mothers and fathers: Keep up the good work.”

Gladwell gave a related talk at the New Yorker’s conference last year called “Genius: 2012”. In the talk Gladwell explains how success in the 21st century is less about sheer intelligence and more about collaboration and hard work to get to the level of mastery in a topic (which he says typically takes 10,000 hours).  Outliers describes how Bill Gates was able to get to 10,000 hours while still in middle and high school in Seattle due to 9 incredibly fortunate concurrences: among them, that his private school could fund a sophisticated computer in their computer club, and fact that he lived close to the U. of Washington, where he could use an even more sophisticated computer. Gladwell concedes that Gates is obviously brilliant, but still notes that many other brilliant youth never had the chance to become computer stars of Gates’ magnitude because they didn’t have access to these sophisticated computers.

In the New Yorker conference, Gladwell uses the contrast of Michael Ventris (who cracked the undecipherable code called Linear B of Minoans from Knossos on Crete) – and Andrew Wiles (a Mathematics Professor who solved what some thought might never be solved: Fermat’s Last Theorem).

Michael Ventris was the pre-modern genius: working mainly alone, in his free time, utterly brilliant and solving in a flash of insight after 1.5 years of free time during nights and weekends spent on the problem. Andrew Wiles, on the other hand, took about ten years to solve the theorem (close to those same 10,000 hours), and built on scholarly work over decades by a dozen other mathematicians. Gladwell notes that Wiles was less a pure genius and more a master at diligently working away at this problem, and building on the shoulders of other math giants. He also points to the important of hard work by showing that what separates better oncologists from worse oncologists was not intelligence or training, but how long they spent trying to find cancers from the colonoscopy results (*the mismatch problem*). [The mismatch was that oncologists often chosen for their brilliance and how fast they could examine the colonoscopies.] Gladwell notes that he thinks we need to think more about how to get a dozen Andrew Wiles than one Michael Ventris and thus we need to focus on *capitalization* (how some groups, like Chinese-Americans, are better able to translate given levels of IQ into managerial experience at 33% higher rates than White Americans.)

Speaking at a recent PopTech conference in Camden Maine in 2008, after explaining America’s abysmal capitalization rate, Gladwell’s gloom and doom gave way to optimism. “We have a scarcity of achievement in this country, not because we have a scarcity of talent. We have a scarcity of achievement because we’re squandering that talent. And that’s not bad news, that’s good news, because it says this scarcity is not something we have to live with. It’s something we can do something about.”

Gladwell: “Our romantic notion of the genius must be wrong. A scientific genius is not a person who does what no one else can do; he or she is someone who does what it takes many others to do. The genius is not a unique source of insight; he is merely an efficient source of insight.”

As advocates of the importance of social capital, it is obviously self-validating that Gladwell shows how social networks (beyond mere brilliance) is one of the factors Gladwell tags as a key to success. Scholars like Ronald Burt and others have clearly showed that lifetime earnings is more clearly a function of social interconnections than of levels of education.

There is interesting parallel work to Gladwell’s which shows up in work by an economist named David Galenson in an intriguing book called Old Masters and Young Geniuses.

Galenson believes that artists fall into two categories:

1) conceptual innovators who peak creatively early in life. They know what they want to accomplish and then set out with certainty to accomplish this. (Examples include Pablo Picasso, T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Orson Wells).

2) experimental innovators who peak creatively later. They dabble, try new things (some of which succeed and some fail), learn from their mistakes, and make incremental improvements to their art until they’re capable of real masterpiece. Examples include Paul Cezanne, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mark Twain, and Jackson Pollock).

Galenson’s work parallels Gladwell’s in his belief that many “geniuses” are not born great but have the capacity to learn from others and learn from failures along the way.  See interesting talk by Gladwell discussing Galenson in “Age Before Beauty.”

Previewing  The Outliers in New York magazine, he talks about the case of Canadian hockey players:

Gladwell explains why the relative-age effect (a compounding of some initial advantage over time), explains why a disproportionate number of elite Canadian hockey players were born in the first half of the year (popularizing  the research of a Canadian psychologist). Because Canada’s eligibility cutoff for junior hockey is January 1, Gladwell writes, “a boy who turns 10 on January 2, then, could be playing alongside someone who doesn’t turn 10 until the end of the year.” Since the differences in physical maturity are so great at that age, this initial advantage in when one starts playing competitive hockey helps explain which kid will make the league all-star team. And similarly, by making the all-star team earlier, the January 2 kid gets another leg up in more practice, better coaching, tougher competition, that compound that difference. Gladwell says it explains why by age 14, the January 2 birthday kid  becomes so much better at hockey than the January 1 birthday kid. Gladwell says the solution is doubling the number of junior hockey leagues—some for kids born in the first half of the year, others for kids born in the second half. Or, as it applies to elementary schools, Gladwell believes that elementary and middle schools should put group students in three classes (January-April birthdays, May-August birthdays, and September-December birthdays) to “level the playing field.”

It’s interesting, as New York magazine points out, that at some level The Tipping Point was all about how one individual, taking advantage of connectors and influencers and the structure of social networks can move the world.  The Outliers starts at the other pole and argues that people’s opportunity to move the world and excel, while partly driven by talent, is largely structured by opportunities provided externally.  The Outliers is an invitation for governmental-policy to ensure that those who are talented can achieve, rather than be left to chance of who happens to be given the opportunities.  While Gladwell is quick to seize upon the accumulated advantages of those who succeed, he overlooks the role of persistance and motivation (which someones arises out of adversity).  Slate has a brief historical discussion of figures like Oppenheimer who overcame their disadvantages and quotes Sarkozy who said: “What made me who I am now is the sum of all the humiliations suffered during childhood.”

N.B.: Interestingly, Gladwell, who is a rare breed of journalist-celebrity, such that Fast Company once called him “a rock star, a spiritual leader, a stud”, insists that he is not an Outlier; he says “I’m just a journalist.”  He does explain that he put in his own 10,000 hours at the Washington Post from 1987-1997, and it was only because of that investment in the craft of journalism that he could succeed when he moved to the New Yorker in 1997.

Read excerpts of Outliers here.

Related article “Genius: The Modern View” by David Brooks (NYT Op-Ed, 5/1/09).

The book, BTW, is panned by Michiko Kakutani of the NYT in “It’s True: Success Succeeds and Advantages Can Help” (11/17/08).

Interesting video of Gladwell presenting at AIGA’s Gain conference here; he discusses success via detailed story of Fleetwood Mac and shorter discussion of the Beatles. (PSFK)

30 responses to “Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers [UPDATED 3/23/13]

  1. “True genius is nothing but the power of applying the mind to its object.”
    – John Quincy Adams

  2. For those of us with children, I would have liked to have seen the book identify the next big opportunity. Will it be generational? Will it be in service industries? What global trends might we see and or take advantage of?

  3. L Anderson: The next opportunity is that which they “will” invent.

    So much for the self made man. Not only does the mountain make the man but also the valley in which he stands. Surely the prop tells the tale even as much as the actor. Zen.

  4. I agree with L. Anderson. The book did not reach its full potential considering the most interesting element was its reference to time, place and opportunity. From a historical perspective the book concisely ties “greatness” (great accomplishments and great people) to a great deal of happenstance. There was something very positive about “normalizing” the abnormal and giving hope to the ordinary.

    Considering the times, one would expect the take away to be much more promising. I too was expecting his prediction for the “now” particularly given the similarities of today’s socioeconomic situation to that of the 30”s and 40’s. Or with respect to technology, similar to 1975, are we on the brink of the next big thing? Are we too old to know, too young to capitalize, or just not ingenious enough to know the difference? I feel like the guy sitting on the box, watching and waiting. Certainly it’s around the corner.

    With that said, I could live without his prediction, maybe sometimes one only needs to stir the pot. If that was his purpose, so be it. ALthough, I get the feeling he intended to accomplish much more which again leaves me disappointed.

    Instead of continuing his story of human successes, he went on a tangent analyzing the success of failures. In his attempt to move from the impact of circumstance on the individual to the impact of cultural legacy the book not only took readers down a different path, it also created a negative tone. For me the airline and subsequent info should have been saved for the follow up book (or school essay as it read like one).

    In the end his attempt to recapture the essence of his original thought was good. However considering I dedicated my Sunday to the book…I wanted more.

  5. Outliers is a great book. Like Gladwell’s other books it is presented as case studies. The author leaves little room for critical thinking by interlacing his opinion and ideas throughout. The book’s thesis states successful people–Outliers–are “grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky–but all critical to making them who they are.” I fully subscribe to the theory of right place and right time paired with hard work and a fair amount of luck as a means to success. But the book makes a strong case by chronicling several super wealthy or influential people.

    I enjoyed the book and had trouble putting it down. It was entertaining and provides plenty of fodder for pseudo-intellectual conversations. However, it is not a revelation to me nor will it break new ground for anyone who has believes we are products of our environment with slight variations based on our genes.

    I am currently working on my 10k hours as a writer. I’m confident I will get good at it someday.

  6. Whether you like his style of case study research and its validity, Or not. He does a very good job of pointing out the nuances that allow successful situations to occur. Social context, linguistics, past cultural norms; understanding these situations have come to me firsthand. I grew up in a more traditional setting with a combination of all of these aspects being apart of my life.

    Having grown up in a small town with a family business, in a unique set of cultural norms and history and work ethic; I was fortunate/unfortunate enough to examine all of these after college as I returned to Lake Wobegon (central Minnesota) to run our business when my father had cancer.

    Examining cultural norms, linguistics and conducting and supervising change has become my new passion as I have searched to find answers to everything I felt during those trying times.
    The underlying foundation to success, efficiency, business development, is understanding the nuances that direct human decision-making and learning.

    Having grown up apart of a relatively complex trade family (electricians and electrical engineers), in the context of a small town, I development and a sense of ownership and accomplishment, work ethic and sense of duty that makes me strive for meaningful work.

    I do not come from the context of New York Jewish clothing makers and lawyers. I come from the context of engineering and energy and community at the edge of the wilderness (so to speak). Consequently I don’t strive for success in the same terms that Gladwell writes about with regard for modern success.

    I am of the the youngest generation, and I have been concerned for the current situation we are in since it started – 10 years ago when I was in High School. As I saw the impending end of the era that we just finished with.

    Success for myself and for your children will be in the redirection and rebuilding of what we do as a society. Newer, cleaner, more efficient technologies. Using our ambitions to redirect and rebuild a better norm.

  7. The Linear B writing system was created by the Myceneans, not the Minoans. However, the Linear A system was indeed used by the Minoans.

  8. i think he's a hack

    Yes, we all know that cultural behaviors play a role in Korean Air crashes. Or does it?
    Well first, let’s start with the 10,000 rule. He’s emphasizing the role of practice, yet he’s not thorough and even misleading and his book comes with a bout of negativity which is why I’m not reading this. First, it’s not about statistical variances and I’m greatly disappointed. But please allow me to elaborate on the horrible negativity and short sightedness that comes with this book.

    My entire life I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by prodigies. Did these prodigies do everything 10,000 times? Absolutely not. Again practice and experience is always an asset, I’ve known people to suddently become math whizzes. Although the practice & experience is definately beneficial to success, corrective guidance is absolutely required.

    So you have a bunch of Canadians who had an extra 9 months to develop and compete for hockey. Their competition always have a chance to catch up. I’ve seen athletes maneuver their way into Olympic consideration within the first 2 years they participated in that sport. Yes practice and conditioning was necessary, implementing quality strategic coaching and guidance on how to best do the sport is absolutely necessary. I’m not taking credit away but let’s be realistic. Corrective guidance goes a lot further than doing something 10,000 times. A quarterback can practice his throws 10,000 times, but not complete this magical deep pass without some form of correction and guidance in his strategy.

    Some people just have “it”. Others who have done the same thing 10,000 times may not be as competative. “Beginner’s luck”? You might ask? Not always, not everyone stays a beginner.
    Yet for those who are priveledged definately don’t take advantage of it. I’ve known a few trust fund babies that own a lot of software yet still not know how to turn on a laptop.

    Again, it’s corrective guidance. I once knew a math whiz who couldn’t do basic math no matter how many problems you gave him. Guess what? The kid needed glasses. After he was easily doing problems intended for students years ahead of him. Practice doesn’t always make perfect.

    Lest the very one thing that holds people back from success is a lack of self confidence. Not the fear of success, but of failure and the negativity that goes along with failure. You miss out on accidental successes. We live in a “competative” world full of psychological warfare and ulterior motives. How do you know that your own negativity isn’t imposing on some kid’s science talents? Or verbal talents? Or even their creative abilities?

    Life is improv. ***You don’t get to live life 10,000 times to get it right.*** You can do something 10,000 times and it may not make a difference in anyone’s world. Not every strategy will be executed in the same matter, it’s more important to play smart ball than to play out of habit. You can do something once, and wisely and make a world of difference. Bill Gates only ran one company. He and Steve Jobs had their fair share of rough patches and no, neither were ‘pros’. Software knowledge is only part of the game.

  9. I have just finished reading this book and must say that the content of Outliers was not really surprising. I imagine this was the case for many readers. I think it’s a great book for parents to read and that’s why it was recommended to me.

  10. My thoughts on Outliers through the above link.


    “I am not sure that the Book deserves much of a review. It would be giving it too much credit. Suffice to say that, in order to prove that success is predictable, Mr Gladwell accumulates a bunch of coincidence and random facts with enough bad faith or sheer stupidity that it almost becomes funny.

    “I must agree though with Mr Gladwell: if sales of this book can be used as an example for his rule, success is indeed predictable. Since Outliers bears so so much resemblance both in its construction and level of depth, with the profound, heartwarming, instant classic, Chicken Soup for the Soul, it just HAD to be a hit… “

  11. So the premise is “practice makes perfect” and “timing is everything” woven into a statistically invalid analysis. Particularly annoying part is the Hockey team in Canada=not a very homogenous test group so measuring their birthdates and alignment with hockey rosters – might want to compare to something else… how about maturity rates- boys that have early puberty might well be on the hockey and football rosters…probably a bigger determinant than the actual birthday. Take a snapshot of a mixed urban 6th grade class – there can be a 12″ and 30 lb difference among students. I also suggest that the roster be compared to some baseline of birthdays-it assumes falsely that there is an equal distribution of births… hmm-winter in Canada, not so much to do… Nov-Jan would equal a lot of Spring birthdays…

    The points about access to computers at Michigan might have considered other strong shifts in access. Post WWII access to college and GI Bills put mainstream into education, or those that worked in emerging technology and aircraft became the defense contrators of the 60’s and 70’s…Defense reseach dollars gave unparralled funding and access to almost infinite success stories.

  12. Gladwell shoots, he scores … this book is a timely insight into the correlation between inner dialog and internal programming and the impact on outer economic gain.
    Anyone who fails to comprehend this cannot possible understand the impact of psychology on economics.
    If you think they are not related, think again.
    Brilliant work,
    sad to say, I don’t think most people get it.
    They will, by 2020 this will become mainstream economic thought …

  13. One of my music instructors once said, “Practice makes permanent, not perfect”. Then he went on to explain that if you practice your technique incorrectly, that is, without frequent regularity or without the intent to improve your skills such as accepting criticism (not to be confused with attacks) and applying corrective behavior, as mentioned above, in accordance with that criticism, then that is what will become permanent, and you will never master your instrument.”

    I recently heard Mr. Gladwell in an interview on CNN and found his views interesting, but not earth shattering revelations.

  14. Mr. Gladwell’s book Outliers contains information you cannot get but from few if any other sources, and facts are in short supply in today’s instant, short-attention-getting news, weather, and highly commercialized t.v. and internet.

    The previous comment in this blog mentioned Mr. Gladwell’s views as being not particularly earth shattering, but I believe they should be. I am constantly shocked at the average person’s lack of a grasp of what seems to me common knowledge. For instance, people don’t know they can see the Milky Way at night, or read a book on evolution for themselves to determine if there is merit to the science or not. Instead it seems most people today just rely on cyber-fiction and heresay to fill their belief closets. Any thoughts on this?

  15. I read recently about his thoughts on how an earlier birthday helps Canadian hockey players. I haven’t read the book but does he talk about how a lot of really good players (the kind that become stars) end up playing in age brackets higher than their own? Gretzky has the Jan 26 birthday but at age 6 was playing against 9 and 10 year olds and was always a star.

  16. I , as well am constantly baffled but what appears to be a lack of common knowledge. Belief takes allot of information gathering, reflection, deciphering, logistics, conclusion formed only to be re evaluated as new information is made available, and is never ending. What one learns today should be subject able to change based on present givens.

  17. What Gladwell underestimates is the power and reach of the networks or connections we accidentally or deliberately build, and the processes we use to search out “success memes” so that we can take advantage of rising trends. None of that depends upon birth or life circumstances, or upon emotional or cognitive intelligence. Great book and definitely worth the money, but just google “success meme, outliers” and you’ll see there’s a whole new world out there.

  18. Malcolm Gladwell’s tangental approach is similar to Jared Diamond’s in ‘Guns, Germs & Steel’ where he focusses on the impact of geography on successful societies. While I consistently enjoyed the entire text of Outliers the over-idealistic end that Gladwell speculates on if his approach is more widely accepted was unrealistic, and therefore not in tune with the book which was quite gritty and enjoyable.

  19. Oh yes, must add more about the 10,000 x strategy for mastery :-) Other readers have pointed out that this is patently untrue for many prodigies, and that if the practice is poor so will be the outcome.

    It’s possible for very ordinary people to gain mastery of a skill or strategy very rapidly if they find (by searching or serendipity) someone who already has it and can communicate it effectively. No need to re-invent the wheel.

    Finally I want to answer an earlier query about what will be the next big thing. I believe this will be the field of epigenetics, where we are able to comprehensively control gene expression.

    It’s early days but we are already able to stop and even reverse physical aging through moderating gene expression, using commercially available formulations. If you can get aboard that particular “meme” you should enjoy spectacular success.

  20. I’ve just started reading “Outliers” and I would like to say that the way Malcolm Gladwell put information together was amazing! At the beginning, I thought that there was no sense in what he wrote, and the way he was generalizing his interpretation of his case study. However, after linking each piece of information with the other, I realized how much brilliant this man is!

    Simple Rule:
    Age effect + Opportunity + Practice = Success

    The big queston is: Can everyone make it to the path of REAL success in whatever he/she does, or they have to be within the criteria to succeed? If that’s the case, don’t you think it’s a bit unfair?

  21. My favorite aspect about this book is how the author made this apparently unusual connections to find explanations for the sudden acceleration on the output of some of the examples, and how he emphasizes that sometimes it is unexpected causes that make a big difference.
    A good read, particularly for expanding your view.

  22. I was disappointed with the idea of success narrated in this book. Very well said in the introduction that it is not about how to be successful. If one is looking for inspiration, this is not the book to read.

  23. Cool blog! I just finished reading Outliers a second time, just loved it. Not only does Gladwell point out how some of our greatest geniuses and wunderkids had amazing stories (and very lucky ones), they also point us in the direction of how we can change our own society to create even more brilliant minds. Highly recommended!

    To those not satisfied with the ‘how to’ aspect…have you picked an area in which (like the Beatles) you want to get your 10,000 hours? Is there a way you can redo your day to day schedule to speed up your 10,000 hr acquisition time (eg. 3 years instead of 10)?

  24. I found the book to be well written, but the content obvious. If the world blows up today it would have been an advantage to be born many years ago. Nothing in this book is eye opening.

  25. 10,000 hours theories befits when you got the correct direction, and correct practice, intelligence matters, only a genius brings change seizing opportunity, others just look at the opportunity. what if the hockey players were born in summer in some other country? :-)

  26. I met two people on two consecutive days and in the conversation both suggested I should read outliers. So today the first of jan I get my copy to read , what’s in it.

    • Whilst Outliers makes good reading and provokes, thought, readers should realise that some of his basic claims are quite wrong.

      Firstly our prospects/success are not so pre-determined as he claims, given that at any point a person may make a choice to seek out information or skills necessary to take them where they wish. We may easily (especially in this day and age) move into different networks and completely alter our environment.

      Secondly regarding practice of a skill it it not the time taken or the number of repetitions. It is the accuracy of the practice, and the learning or training strategies that are used to develop the skill or knowledge.

      Modern accelerated learning methods which chunk and chain minute steps produce a higher level of skill, much quicker, which is more deeply embedded than previously possible.

      So an interesting book, but in no way something anyone should base their expectations on.

  27. Book Review
    Malcolm Gladwell

    The book Outliers is focused on success through and through. From the prequel to the epilog Malcolm Gladwell picks apart and investigates the makings and reasoning why success happens to one individual and not another. He explores the interworking factors of success and dispels many former conceptions of how one achieves success. This book is not a how-to become successful book, however, if you are interested or curious why success jumps from one person to another and is not rewarded to every hard working, well-educated individual, it’s a must read.
    Outliers is a compilation of successful and not so successful individuals stories, investigating and discovering the different factors at play that granted or didn’t grant them success. He examines lives of genius’ and the slightly ordinary but with more personable qualities.
    Gladwell points out the sheer extraordinary circumstances that let Bill Gates and Bob Joy become veritable kings of Silicon Valley, not just that they were smart and gifted programmers, but that they had an incredible series of opportunities and events take place to ensure their success. Bill Gates went to the only High School in Seattle that had computer access, had wealthy enough parents to afford computer access fees, when money computer money ran out a local computer company C² coincidently needed some programming work done, and hired him and his crew, he also just happened to live down the road from the University of Washington which just happened to have free computer time in the early hours of the morning and so on… Bob found a way onto one of the few college campus’ with not only computer access, but due to a glitch in the system he had unlimited computer time to practice his code and gain recognition.
    This book is very interesting and enjoyable, although it does challenge many popular misconceptions about why success happens and to whom it does. 3.5 STARS

  28. I would recommend Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell to anybody who loves to read about success stories and the truth behind it. The book sheds light on how successful people have climbed to the top and the lucky breaks they got on the way. He talks about how different cultures, time of birth, and family affects how successful you can be. Once you’re lucky enough to be born in the first four months of the year as a hockey player, or born after the depression and world wars, or during the beginning of the personal computer boom, you then need to put in 10,000 hours to become one of the best at your profession.
    Gladwell brings up the Beatles playing at a nightclub in Hamburg every night for hours on end until they became the famous Beatles we all know. He also brings up how Bill Gates had access to programming computers for hours while he was in high school, so by the time he was ready for college he was so far ahead of everyone else. These kinds of advantages have been overlooked; they think that they just worked hard at what they wanted. Yes, they worked hard but they were put in the right place and the right time.
    Malcolm helps the reader to realize that not all these rags to riches stories are truly that. Many of these people have been dealt cards that put them in a better position than others. We find out that Asians are better at math because there culture stresses hard work, but Koreans struggled at flying planes because they didn’t communicate as well as Americans do. Gladwell has many interesting points in his book and really makes you rethink your ideas about “success”.

  29. The book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is very well written. I would give it four and a half stars, only because I do not consider anything perfect. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. First, this book is basically a guide to success for anyone and everyone. There are many different factors that affect how someone becomes successful. A couple of those are individual merit, hidden advantages, and opportunity. Some different items that fall under those categories are the “ten thousand hour rule”, birthdate, and good luck. Next, there are pros and cons to this book. Gladwell succeeds with his research by providing many different examples in the book. This explains the different factors to success very well. Also, I believe anyone could actually use this advice to become successful. This is a good tool to follow when trying to achieve goals. This book is a fun read, has interesting facts, and can be used in the real world. However, there are cons, but only one in my favor. I feel that there might have been too many examples provided. With an abundance of examples, it may be overwhelming to the reader, and hard for he or she to keep track of which examples connect to the different factors of success. Besides that, I think this book is well put together.
    Overall, I think Malcolm Gladwell has written this book with passion. The different factors to success mentioned in this book are detailed and explained well. Everyone has the opportunity to become successful, and by using this book as a guide, I believe success can be achieved. I gave this book a high rating and I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. Especially, to the ones who want to become successful and achieve goals themselves.

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