Outliers - Review


What separates star athletes, scientists and entrepreneurs from the rest of us? What sort of stuff are self made millionaires made of? Malcolm Gladwell tackles the stereotype of the independently successful in his book Outliers. From rags to riches, or riches to rags, each of us are profoundly influenced by our environment. Gladwell argues that there is no such thing as the self made man and that your future is more inherited than earned. His focus is on environmental factors such as date of birth, geography and family heritage. Want to know the best month to be born to become a famous NHL hockey player? What about the right year to become a technology mogul? Gladwell highlights a series of markers that will exert the greatest amount of influence over ones future successes or failures.

This book is well written and flew by. I thoroughly enjoyed Gladwell's The Tipping Point but had more recently been disappointed by his more recent work titled Blink. All of the incite and intrigue that made up the former work are found in Outliers. The arguments are interesting and not too drawn out. Each chapter moves the argument forward and is seasoned with interesting and colorful characters.

I would recommend reading this book. I was left thinking about my own story and the people who have influenced me over the years. Gladwell shares some thoughts towards improving the future of others by adapting new cultural standards. Some of these suggestions are impractical but are to the point: society plays a significant role in the future of others. How can we position ourselves as a gift to others? Are we willing to see the gifts in our own lives? I think that reading Outliers can help us see tell our own stories with more clarity and modesty.

Brent ColbyComment