Outliers: The Story of Success Library Binding – 7 June 2011
|Library Binding, 7 June 2011||
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"No other book I read this year combines such a distinctive prose style with truly thought-provoking content. Gladwell writes with a high degree of dazzle but at the same time remains as clear and direct as even Strunk or White could hope for."-- Atlanta Journal Constitution
"The explosively entertaining "Outliers" might be Gladwell's best and most useful work yet...There are both brilliant yarns and life lessons here: "Outliers "is riveting science, self-help, and entertainment, all in one book."-- Entertainment Weekly "Gregory Kirschling "
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- Item Weight : 363 g
- ISBN-10 : 9780606324274
- ISBN-13 : 978-0606324274
- Dimensions : 13.46 x 2.79 x 20.32 cm
- Publisher : Turtleback Books; Reprint edition (7 June 2011)
- Library Binding : 309 pages
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0606324275
- Best Sellers Rank: #200,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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The author clearly explains the few reasons and their stories for a person to be successful and they are birth date, birth year, rules of the game, trends of the society, vigorous practice, family status, etc
It is a good book to read
Outliers had broken all these myths. Understanding the grinding process followed by all successful people will make you to push you through all activities you are carrying on.
Bill gates was always said as richest man, but he worked hard for understanding programming language. Amazed by the great insights on each and every person.
Top reviews from other countries
Despite being reported as being "inspiring" (it's literally on the front page), it's hard to see why. The book argues the point that success can be largely attributed to a person's circumstances. As most of these are out with anyone's control e.g. the time of year you are born, I struggle to see how anyone could be inspired. The best I can imagine is that someone will feel better that they were not the next success because of factors beyond their control.
The book tries to make its point by cherry picking studies and examples that will help prove his point. I found one response from authors of a study stating that they thought that Gladwell had misinterpreted and oversimplified their findings and I strongly suspect they were not alone. It presents a series of anecdotes and hypotheses as to why a trend was observed. My issue is that these hypotheses, that are all in keeping with the central theme of the book, are presented as if they were facts, when they are anything but. There is no attempt to give a balanced discussion, exploring arguments, studies or examples not in keeping with the oversimplified central point. Let's be clear, this method of starting with a point you want to make and then working backwards finding "evidence" to prove your view is journalism, not science. Gladwell can dress it up as much as he likes with statistics and citations, but don't be fooled, this is not how anyone with any scientific credentials works. Within a few pages I realised I was not reading a book by an expert in the field attempting to make their work accessible to the public, this was written by someone who could write a good story, but had little or no understanding of the scientific method. The book reads like an extended magazine article, perhaps not surprisingly as I was later to find out that the author is indeed a magazine writer.
You will not learn how to be successful by reading this book. You will not be better informed about what makes someone successful. At best this is a thought piece with a few discussion points worthy of a conversation at your next dinner party and others may enjoy the idea that they could have been as successful as The Beatles or as rich as Bill Gates if they had just been in the right place at the right time. Just a shame that it's not true. I didn't enjoy this book but more than that, I was incensed by it. This is journalism. A pseudoscience stretched out magazine article masquerading as an evidence based insight into success written by a modern day snake oil salesman who has bought into his own hype.
Things I liked:
- Interesting to read the stories of how various people came to success
- Well written
- Somewhat vindicating for those of us who already knew the dice were loaded
- How is this a revelation? I felt a bit like this was written for people who are themselves pretty advantaged. If come from a lowly background, with little money or good social connections etc, you KNOW that these things disadvantage you, and you KNOW that those who get ahead, do so because of these advantages.
- There was no follow through. I was expecting (and hoping for) a "but if you don't have these advantages, you can still do X, Y & Z". But there was nothing. So if you aren't advantaged, you end up feeling a bit flat at the end.
Summary: Worth a read
While I can see a different way of spinning the data provided to support Gladwell's argument, I didn't care. In a rare moment, I found myself not wanting to argue. : ) Instead, I found myself reflecting on things that have felt like lucky opportunities in my own life. This reflection was very humbling.
Moreover, I felt the text tugging at the need for greater equity. What could all the people with limited opportunities do if given greater opportunities? Think Darfur. How many people who might have come up with the cure for pancreatic cancer been forced to spend their time standing in lines waiting for clean water or food?
My own personal experience as a teacher of refugees reflects Gladwell's primary thesis. Many of my refugee students are pre-literate. They have not been given the opportunity to gain a formal education. As a result, there are many well-intended, but misinformed people who place these students in special education courses or deem their I.Q. low, diminishing their opportunities even more.
The students I teach are hungry for skills and spend hours outside of class practising. They make huge gains despite earlier opportunities denied them. While many will not go on to big colleges out of high school, I feel like given enough opportunity and time they could make it there. Sadly, many have families who depend on them to work to help financially support the family. (Yet, another limited opportunity to spend time focused on developing skills.)
In the past week, I have shared Gladwell's thesis with my students. We have applied the 10,000 hours to master a task to reading and writing. I remind students that if we don't get our 10,000 hours this year together, they must continue on their own. I remind them that it IS possible to move forward if they are focused and keep adding hours of work to their reading and writing. We even write on the board how many hours left before we are masters.
"2 hours down, only 9,998 left to go."
Friday, I had a student from Somalia smile and ask, "So it's not true that white people are smarter than black Africans? They just get more chances to read?" Imagine my pleasure when I could respond, "YES! That's correct. You are just as smart as any white kid in this school. It's just that some of them have been reading for years and you are just getting started."
Thank you for your work Gladwell, it is salient in today's political conversation surrounding education (especially for our most vulnerable students who have been given the fewest opportunities).
However, when you step back and think about it, despite the strength of the individual elements the book as a whole is probably not the game changer it sets out to be.
I just don't see what the hype about this book is about.