Book of the Month #11 — Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell Book of the Month #11 — Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Starting 2023’s “Book of the Month” club with a bang, the team was tasked to read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, an incredibly popular book that has garnered a lot of attention and some rave reviews.

Here’s what we thought about the latest entry in our growing list after reading it all together over the last couple of months:

The Narrative of Success

“Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell is an enlightening read that explores the idea that success is not simply the result of an individual’s hard work and determination, but is also influenced by external factors such as culture, family background, and opportunities.

Gladwell uses various examples and case studies to illustrate his points, from the cultural and historical factors that led to the success of the Beatles, to the role that timing and environment played in the success of Bill Gates. 

He argues that outliers, or exceptional individuals, are not solely responsible for their success, but are also the product of their circumstances. In essence, luck, location, genetics, and upbringing all play a critical role in success, and without some of these factors in our favour, we are bound by these circumstances. That’s not to say that we can’t all become great in our own right, no matter our fields, but it’s also the harsh reality of why you will likely never become a NASA astronaut or the president of the United States (which is just fine with most people).

Gladwell also discusses the “10,000-hour rule”, and mentions that anyone who has truly mastered anything has more than likely invested a substantial amount of time into their crafts, and much more than their peers.

What We Liked About Outliers

One of the book’s strengths is Gladwell’s ability to make complex concepts accessible and engaging to a wide audience. He seamlessly blends research, anecdotal evidence, and personal stories to create a compelling narrative that keeps readers engaged.

Another aspect of the book that we appreciated was its focus on the power of cultural and historical factors in shaping success. Gladwell sheds light on how our background and circumstances can play a significant role in determining our opportunities and ultimate success, challenging the popular belief that success is solely the result of individual effort.

“Outliers” is a highly recommended read for anyone interested in exploring the complexities of success and what it takes to achieve it. Gladwell doesn’t sugar-coat anything and lets the facts speak for themselves without inserting too much of his own opinions and theories, something more “personal-development” books should take note of.

All in all, the team enjoyed Outliers and we all came away with a better understanding of what it means to be an outlier, how outliers are created, and a little slice of humble pie as a result of the 10,000-hour rule!

Check out our discussion from the book here: 

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